Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas opens the debate of the United Nations Security Council regarding “conflict-related sexual violence”, © Thomas Koehler
The UN Security Council is the body responsible for maintaining peace and international security.
It consists of 15 members, of which 5 are permanent, who have right of veto (France, United States, United Kingdom, Russia, China).
It is in this context that on April 23rd 2019, the Security Council passed the Resolution 2467 on conflict-related sexual violence.
Today, sexual violence is systematically used as both a strategy and a weapon during wartime. Since the year 2000, the Council took over this issue and adopted 8 Resolutions attempting to bring solutions to the expansion of conflict-related sexual violence. It mainly encourages countries to act against, pursue and punish any perpetrators, and to guarantee a reliable compensation process to the victims.
With the implementation of the Resolution 2467, the Security Council wanted to reinforce the already-existing frame by guaranteeing rights to the victims – women, young girls and children born from these rapes. To do so, the Resolution guaranteed an “access to sexual and reproductive health care”. Despite the fact that this necessity had already been acknowledged in two other Resolutions in 2009 and 2013, the United States have decided to threaten the Council with their right of veto. They argue that this Resolution promotes the right to abortion.
The Security Council took the decision to withdraw this reference to the victims’ healthcare – consequently, the Resolution 2467 has lost its meaning and does not add anything to the two previous Resolutions. Despite this fact, it has been adopted with 13 votes against 2 abstentions from China and Russia.
The Security Council could have defended its position with a full rejection of this Resolution to reinforce the emergency of progress and solutions rather than making place to conservative politics incompatible with the will to fight against conflict-related rapes.
Even though CAMELEON does not intervene in war zones, we would like to see the international legal framework more involved in the sexual violence matter, since it acts as a springboard for national legislations that should follow same directives and reinforce the punishment of sexual perpetrators.