India asks UN to do more against sexual violence

Saturday, December 18, 2010

UNITED NATIONS - Advocating greater participation of women in the areas of conflict prevention, peace negotiations, peace keeping and post conflict reconstruction, India wants UN organs to do more against sexual violence.

New Delhi believes that the UN Secretariat and the Funds and Programmes can do more in this respect, Hardeep Singh Puri, India’s permanent representative at the UN, said Friday during a Security Council debate on sexual violence and conflict.

India “believes that the perpetrators of these crimes must be brought to justice,” he said citing American civil rights leader Martin Luther King who once said that “Injustice anywhere diminishes justice everywhere.”

“We believe that the national capacities to adjudicate and to punish must be strengthened and supported to ensure that justice is done and the guilty punished,” Puri said.

“The international community has not just the responsibility, but the obligation to do its utmost to ensure the security of women and children to ensure that they are not handicapped in any respect and that every possible effort is made to create conditions where they can realise their potential.”

“I belong to the Sikh faith,” said Puri recalling “Four centuries ago, Guru Gobind Singh, at a time when conditions in India were unstable and conflict-ridden, ordered us to treat women captured in battle with the greatest respect.”

“This is the Indian ethos in respect of women, particularly during situations of conflict. This is what we are committed to and this is what we will uphold,” he said.

“No country can be absolved from the responsibility of acting against sexual violence, one of the more abhorrent forms of violence against women,” Puri said advocating the creation and augmentation of international regimes that furthers these objectives.

But, “it is not enough for the Security Council to mandate,” he said. “It must make available the resources that are required to implement the ambitious legislative framework that it has created.”

“UN peacekeeping missions and peacekeepers in the ground are being asked to do more and more with less and less,” Puri said.

“Being the largest troop contributing country in UN history, with more than 100,000 peacekeepers in 40 UN missions, India has perhaps more experience than most in implementing Security Council mandates,” he noted.

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