Statement by Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun at the Security Council Open Debate (14 April 2021)
Statement by Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the United Nations at the Security Council Open Debate on Women and Peace and Security: Sexual Violence in Conflict
(14 April 2021, New York)
My delegation wishes to congratulate you again on your able leadership of the Security Council.
I thank the Secretary-General for his report and I wish to express my appreciation to Ms. Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Dr. Denis Mukwege, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Ms. Caroline Atim, Director of South Sudan Women with Disabilities Network (SSWD).
We have witnessed significant progress in the promotion of the women, peace and security agenda, since the adoption of the Resolution 1325. The meaningful participation and representation of women in conflict resolution and prevention, peacekeeping, peace building as well as protection of women and girls in armed conflicts has never been more relevant than ever before.
We applaud all-out-efforts made, with a view to preventing sexual violence in conflict and addressing survivors’ needs, by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, the UN Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict network, Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict and UN peacekeeping missions.
The elected NLD led civilian government had put gender equality and women’s empowerment at the heart of national development strategies.
Myanmar upholds the zero-tolerance policy against any form of sexual violence. Accordingly, we have committed legal reforms for further promotion and protection of the rights of women and girls.
In this light, the Prevention and Protection of Violence against Women (PoVAW) Law had been drafted during the civilian government. This new law will reinforce protection of women from all forms of violence, including domestic and sexual violence. Furthermore, it will offer an opportunity for Myanmar to effectively combat violence against women at both international and domestic levels.
To demonstrate its commitment to address conflict-related sexual violence, the Government of Myanmar signed a Joint Communiqué with the UN on prevention and response to conflict-related sexual violence in December 2018.
The National Committee on Prevention and Response to Conflict-Related Sexual Violence was also established to implement the Joint Communiqué in March 2019.
The Committee developed an Action Plan, with technical assistance from the UN, to identify prioritized implementation areas such as the issuance of clear directives by the military, investigation of alleged violations and prosecution of perpetrators, capacity building of law enforcement officers, legal reform measures, strengthening of service delivery for survivors.
The One Stop Women Support Centres (OSWSC) and 24-hours Help Lines have been set up to provide women and girls with physical, legal, psychological and social support. These OSWSC centres and Help Lines are operating 24/7 during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide timely services to women and girls as they are more vulnerable during the lockdowns.
Victims of sexual violence are also provided with a one-time financial support for rehabilitation. A new standard operation procedures (SOP) was developed in 2019 to assist with case management for gender-based violence.
Moreover, the Child Rights Law in Myanmar was adopted in July 2019 which criminalizes sexual violence, requiring the government, the military (Tatmadaw) and armed groups to take necessary measures to protect children from sexual violence.
The NLD led civilian government is committed all-out-efforts to enhancing human rights for all its citizens, especially the most vulnerable groups including women and girls.
Despite all the challenges face, it is prominent that the government has gained momentum in protection of women and girls in conflict-related sexual violence.
Furthermore, the efforts and hard work that the civilian government has done regarding the human rights in Myanmar including the protection of women and girls in conflict-related sexual violence for the duration of 2016-2020 have been included in the National Report submitted to the Third Cycle of the Universal Periodic Review. That report was successfully reviewed during the 36th Session of the UPR working group in January 2021.
However, since the military coup on 1 February 2021, the brutal and inhumane acts, arbitrary arrests and tortures of the military group against the civilians of Myanmar have eventually become systematic and targeted on the individuals and innocent civilians.
It is evident that such actions of the military group violate the fundamental freedoms as well as International Humanitarian Law, International Human Rights Law and commits the crimes against humanity.
To be able to continue to engage and work constructively with relevant UN agencies to achieve our common goals of promoting and protecting human rights as well as advancing women, peace and security agenda, ending the military regime is a must action to take without delay by all means.
Therefore, I wish to stress that the United Nations and the international community have the responsibility to use all necessary means to help the people of Myanmar, including women, girls and children from the atrocities, brutal and inhumane acts committed by the military.