General Assembly Security Council

United Nations Security Council Open Debate

“Women, Peace and Security: Accountability as Prevention: Ending Cycles of Sexual Violence in Conflict”

(13 April 2022; 1000 hrs)


Statement by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti

Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations



Mr. President,


At the outset, we thank the United Kingdom for convening the Open Debate on this important issue. We also thank SRSG Pramila Patten and all other distinguished briefers for sharing their insights.


2. In the last three decades, the international community has played an important role in fixing accountability for conflict-related sexual violence, thereby, sending out a strong message that sexual violence has no place in the civilized world. The prosecutions of conflict-related sexual crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and for Rwanda (ICTR); UN Security Council resolutions on sexual violence; and, United Kingdom’s Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative have contributed to addressing this complex and sensitive issue in its entirety.


3. Despite this progress, it is indeed distressing that sexual violence in conflict situations continues unabated amidst a culture of impunity—as a tactic of war, torture, and terror in armed conflicts, especially by non-State actors. Again, despite the robust framework put in place by the Security Council since 2007, with the launching of UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict (“UN Action”), the levels of compliance by parties to the conflict remains low. Majority of the parties listed in the Secretary General’s annual report on “Conflict-Related Sexual Violence” are persistent perpetrators who continue to commit or abet sexual violence in armed situations.


4. This must stop. The Council must focus on identifying and bridging the implementation gaps to prevent the atrocities and facilitate the rehabilitation and reintegration of survivors.


Mr. President,


5. My delegation wishes to highlight the following SIX issues for the consideration of the Council:


6. First, national governments have the primary responsibility for prosecuting and deterring such crimes in conflict situations on their territories, even if these are alleged to have been committed by non-State actors. Member States should ensure effective prosecution of sexual violence as a self-standing crime.


7. Second, upon request, the UN must assist national authorities in developing capabilities to strengthen their national legal frameworks and related structures for speedy investigation and prosecution of perpetrators. This should also be a priority in post-conflict situations to address holistically the structural and cross-cutting gender inequalities that perpetuate sexual violence.


8. Third, the Member States must adopt a victim-centered approach to preventing and responding to sexual violence in armed conflicts, in line with the Resolution 2467 (2019) that seeks to strengthen justice and accountability and calls for a survivor-centered approach in the prevention and response to conflict-related sexual violence. States must ensure adequate focus and resources for comprehensive and non-discriminatory assistance for victims of sexual violence—by providing for medical, psychological, social, and legal services. A key starting point in strengthening the accountability process is by addressing the endemic stigma attached to survivors of sexual violence and fear of reprisals by offenders, thereby helping them to come forward to speak to investigators and testify in court.


9. Fourth, terrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism, continue to be the biggest global threat to peace and security, with women suffering disproportionately in the resulting conflicts engendered by them. Sexual violence primarily directed against women and girls, and increasingly among men and boys, by terrorists remains a cause of concern. The nexus between terrorism, trafficking and sexual violence in armed conflicts needs to be broken.


10. Fifth, the sanctions regimes and other targeted measures by the Council need to be strengthened to utilize their full potential to deter perpetrators of sexual violence in armed conflicts.


11. Last but not least, the Member States must provide a conducive environment for the participation and inclusion of women in political processes and decision-making. India has moved ahead from women’s development to women-led development. We have been advocating this idea for lasting peace in our neighbourhood, including in Afghanistan in line with UN Security Council resolution 2593, especially relating to women, children and minorities.


Mr. President,


12. In 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined the Circle of Leadership that was formally established by the Secretary-General at the High-level Meeting on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in United Nations operations. India has also signed the Secretary-General’s Voluntary Compact against sexual exploitation and abuse.


13. India has the distinction of sending the first all women Formed Police Unit (FPU) contingent to Liberia in 2007. This Unit mitigated incidents of crime against women, deterred sexual and gender-based violence and helped rebuild safety and confidence among the Liberian population. In the process, it also operationalized the spirit of the landmark Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace, and Security into action. These courageous Indian women patrolled Monrovian streets at night, taught Liberian women self-defense skills and conducted classes on combating sexual violence.


14. India welcomes the Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy to increase the number of women peacekeepers. We also support increasing the deployment of Women Protection Advisors for effective monitoring, analysis, and reporting arrangements on conflict-related sexual violence in the field.


15. To conclude, India reaffirms its commitment to actively contribute to our collective endeavour in effectively tackling sexual violence in situations of armed conflict.


I thank you, Mr. President.