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UK statement to the OSCE Permanent Council on Gender and Security

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Ambassador Dominic Schroeder's statement to the OSCE Permanent Council on the issue of women, peace and security in Vienna, Austria

Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Vienna, Austria.

Thursday 11th December 2013

Mr Chairman,

I fully subscribe to the statement made on behalf of the European Union by the Ambassador of Lithuania but I would like to add some comments in my national capacity, building also on a joint statement I gave on behalf of 13 participating States on women, peace and security during yesterday’s FSC.

As colleagues know, the challenge of eliminating violence against women is one that the United Kingdom takes extremely seriously. We continue to be a driving force behind UNSCR 1325 (2000) and related resolutions in the UN Security Council. And one of the top priorities for our international policy continues to be the Prevention of Sexual Violence in Conflict, an initiative which our Foreign Secretary has promoted through the G8 and the UN General Assembly; among other outcomes, this work is reflected in the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2106 and the UN General Assembly declaration on preventing sexual violence, which was endorsed by 135 States. Following our re-election a month ago, this issue will also be one of our priorities for the United Nations Human Rights Council.

We expect that the OSCE at large and participating States will engage with relevant aspects of this work. The OSCE can play an important role, for example by training delivered through the SPMU in support of the International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict, and possibly exploring the links between sexual violence and human trafficking. There are opportunities for the Field Missions to engage and I commend the project being undertaken in Bosnia and Herzegovina on war crimes, including sexual violence, which provides training to the judiciary and a victim support programme.

I would also like to inform colleagues of our plans for a Summit on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, to be held in London in June 2014. I hope that the OSCE and many participating States will be represented there.

As our Minister noted in Kyiv, we were disappointed by the difficulties in making progress on a draft OSCE-wide Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. Looking ahead to 2014, I reiterate my support for the co-sponsors of the Action Plan and urge all participating States to join this important work, for which I pay tribute to Turkey, Austria, Kazakhstan and Finland.

Mr Chairman, although the 2013 period of 16 Days of Gender Activism is complete, the work does not stop here, indeed it is only beginning. There is much that we can and should do in this regard, and I pledge the commitment of the UK Delegation to Ms Zeitlin, the relevant OSCE structures and our partners, in taking this forward in 2014.

I request that this statement is attached to the Journal of this meeting.