NEW YORK: ASEAN is committed to join efforts to ensure the elimination of sexual violence and enhance the role of women in peace processes and international and regional security, Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the United Nations (UN), has said.

The Vietnamese diplomat made the remarks when speaking on behalf of the ten member states of ASEAN at an open debate of the UN Security Council on Women, Peace and Security in New York on April 15, which saw speeches delivered by representatives from over 70 countries and the UN Secretary-General special rapporteur, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported.

Nguyen, during her speech, stressed that “ASEAN condemns all forms of violence against women and girls, in particular sexual violence and is deeply concerned about the rise of conflict-related sexual violence that affects and threatens the well-being of women and girls in many parts of the world.”

It is necessary to prevent conflict-related sexual violence by promoting prevention of armed conflicts, which is the root cause of the issue, as well as accelerating poverty reduction and promoting gender equality as part of efforts to eliminate sexual violence, she said.

Conflict prevention mechanisms, especially those under UN auspices, should be promoted, while political reconciliation, rule of law, socio-economic development and poverty eradication are the foundations for sustainable opportunities for women and girls, she said.

“Perpetrators of sexual violence must not go unpunished. But more importantly, victims of conflict-related sexual violence must be provided with assistance and services tailored to their specific needs. They must be protected against stigmatisation and exclusion, and given the opportunity and capability to re-engage and re-integrate with their communities,” Nguyen stressed.

Conflict-related sexual violence can be stopped if the international community steps up its efforts to put in place comprehensive strategies that protect the rights and fundamental freedoms of women and deliver necessary services for victims and survivors, she said.

“ASEAN is strongly committed to ending sexual violence wherever it occurs, and ASEAN member states have been fulfilling their respective obligations and commitments under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination of Women (CEDAW) and the Beijing Platform for Action,” the diplomat said.

– Bernama/al