OF H.E. ARCHBISHOP FRANCIS CHULLIKATT
OBSERVER OF THE HOLY SEE TO THE UNITED NATIONS
of the United Nations Security Council on
peace and security: sexual violence in conflict”
24 June 2013)
the outset, allow me to join other delegations in congratulating you, Mr. President, and your delegation for presiding over the work of the Security
Council during this month. Today’s discussion provides a welcome opportunity for
the wider membership to collaborate on the means for ending the ongoing
proliferation of sexual violence.
Holy See, while operating within the family of nations, constantly strives to
promote peace, security and the rule of law, as a base for enhancing
development, freedom, and the dignity of all peoples and each person, from
conception to natural death. While firmly opposing recourse to armed conflict
as means to solving international or national disputes, the Holy See recognizes
the tragic and sad evidence that for many parts of the world, war is still an
international community as a whole and this body in particular, as established
by the Charter of the United Nations, has a grave responsibility for the
maintenance of international peace and security and, where conflict occurs,
finding the means for restoring a peace based on justice and charity.
this framework, the Holy See appreciates the Security Council’s commitment to
enhancing the international awareness and resolve for addressing the
victimization of women and girls, but also men and boys by the heinous act of
sexual violence so often found in situations of armed conflict.
just response to sexual violence must not be motivated by revenge, which would
simply perpetrate the chain of hatred, but, rather, must seek to build the
common good. This responsibility
requires holding perpetrators accountable for their actions in order to deter
future violence, while at the same time repairing the damage done to victims and
the community as a whole by providing the necessary reparation, support and
care in recognition of their human dignity and worth.
truly human-centered approach to providing assistance to victims and their
communities requires respect for life at all stages of development. In this regard, we regret that the resolution
just adopted goes beyond this noble call and instead seeks to promote a potentially
destructive notion of health care, such as sexual and reproductive health, which
too often is used as a justification for taking life rather than upholding it.
Death of an innocent unborn child only visits further violence on a woman
already in difficulty.
Catholic Church through its institutions, particularly female religious
institutes, is firmly committed to a compassionate outreach to victims, to
alleviate their sufferings and to accompany them, as far as it is possible, on
the way to recovery and to resumption of their own life in freedom and dignity.
hope that future discussions of this issue will remain focused on the topic under
discussion rather than be diverted towards the promotion of political or
ideological agendas which serve only to harm human dignity and are already under
discussion in other UN fora.
respect for the rights of victims and offenders requires that penal processes
be guided by the meticulous search for truth and conducted in a timely manner.
accused must be able to defend themselves and judges must be given the
necessary independence so as to avoid ruling for reasons other than justice
itself. In this regard, public
pronouncements of guilt by the media, or by political groups, both at the national
and international level, before the tribunal reaches its decision, may
seriously hamper our collective efforts to combat the scourge of sexual
in recognition of the principle of complementarity, International tribunals
must adhere to the role of local national systems as the primary source for
holding an individual accountable. In
this sense, States must be provided with the necessary technical and
legislative resources to address sexual violence in conflict settings and
uphold humanitarian law and internationally agreed human rights. Such respect for national authorities helps
to restore trust in national and local juridical systems and provides greater
participation for victims and the affected communities. It is only when such
national juridical systems prove unable or unwilling to fulfill their
responsibility to defend innocent victims and the common good that the
international community has a responsibility to intervene to protect victims
and uphold human dignity.
responsibility does not fall on States alone but it is one to which
international organizations, such as the United Nations, must also adhere. This is of particular importance in the area
of peacekeeping operations so that those sent to protect people from violence
do not become the very source of it. In
this regard, my delegation welcomes the progress to reduce the instances of
sexual violence committed by United Nations personnel, including peacekeepers
as outlined by the Secretary-General in his report “Special measures for the
protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse,” and his call to work together
to enforce the zero tolerance policy and hold perpetrators accountable.
you, Mr. President.