Intervention by H.E. Ambassador Katalin Annamária Bogyay Permanent Representative of Hungary to the UN, on 7 September 2016 at the Formal meeting of the General Assembly on the issue of Sexual exploitation and abuse under agenda item 122.
Excellencies, Dear Colleagues,
I wish to thank Egypt and Brazil, Bangladesh, China, Ethiopia, India, Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan and Rwanda for initiating this meeting in the General Assembly. Hungary strongly supports to have discussions in this topic with all Member States, and especially with the troop and police contributing countries.
Hungary fully aligns itself with the statement delivered (/to be delivered) by the European Union.
Hungary fully shares the view that the international community must not tolerate sexual violence, whatever its expression and wherever it takes place. We believe that by uniting our efforts, we can definitely combat the phenomenon of sexual violence in conflict situations, emergencies and humanitarian crises.
Hungary declared its commitment to the cause of preventing sexual violence at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. In addition, we reconfirmed our commitment by issuing national pledges at the Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security held in October 2015.
Sexual violence committed by peacekeepers needs even more attention from the international community. Let me express our strong concerns about the serious and continuous allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations peacekeepers. These acts are unacceptable under any circumstances, and all measures have to be taken against them. Hungary fully supports the United Nations zero tolerance policy on all forms of SEA.
Furthermore, we should never forget that the goal of the zero tolerance policy is to have zero cases, as it is often said that one case is too many. In our point of view in order to achieve this goal we need to focus on three pillars of actions: (1) on prevention of these acts, (2) on discovering and investigating these cases and then (3) on accountability of all perpetrators.
From our perspective it is more than evident that the most important is to have very solid measures to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse. It is our common responsibility to ensure that all troops, police and civilians in missions meet the highest standards of behavior. All troop and police contributing country need to provide appropriate pre-deployment and in mission training on conduct and discipline, and the UN has a vital role to facilitate troop and police contributing countries to fulfill these requirements.
Hungary is committed to the efforts of the international community aimed at the full implementation of UN Security Resolution 1325 on „Women, peace and security” and the subsequent resolutions on this topic. We are sure that empowerment of women in peacekeeping missions is an essential tool to address sexual and gender-based violence and can make positive contributions to prevention of such crimes in the future. Therefore we would like to see more official women peacekeepers and women peacemakers strengthening and helping communication in the field.
Once these unforgivably cases happened, they have to be revealed and properly investigated, otherwise remedial actions cannot be taken, and victims would lack the necessary support. Investigations are also prerequisite to bring perpetrators to justice. When it comes to accountability, we must not forget that the primary responsibility lies with States. In this regard, States should make efforts to build the necessary capacities, train their investigation officers, prosecutors and judges to effectively investigate crimes and carry out criminal procedures, with special regard to the sensitivities and the particular nature of crimes involving sexual violence.
We firmly believe that these crimes must be prosecuted and punished. We strongly support the policy of zero impunity for perpetrators, ensuring accountability of either military, police or civilian personnel. As a last resort Security Council resolution 2272 (2016) also contributes to bring justice to victims.
We cannot fail to abolish these crimes. We cannot let the actions of a few erode the heroic work of thousands of UN peacekeepers. It is now imperative that the international community lives up to its political commitment by concrete and measurable actions.
Excellencies, dear Colleagues,
Last, but not least let me commend the efforts of UN peacekeepers to bring peace in conflict areas risking their lives so many times and whose tireless work are shaded because of actions of a minority.
Thank you, Mr. President.