Statement of Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, sent to the UNSC Open Debate on Protecting Participation
Statement of Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, Permanent Representative of Myanmar to the United Nations, sent to the UN Security Council Open Debate on Protecting Participation: Addressing violence targeting women in peace and security processes, held on 18 January 2022 in New York.
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
Protecting Participation: Addressing violence targeting women in peace and security processes
(New York, 18 January 2022)
I wish to thank the Presidency of Norway for organizing the open debate on this crucial topic. I also thank the briefers for their statements.
Two decades after the Council’s adoption of Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, it is far from the adequate realization of the vision of the WPS agenda even though there have been some improvements. Women are still very much globally under-represented in peace processes, governments and public administrations. Violence targeting women is still pervasive. Covid-19 created a shadow pandemic of domestic violence and exacerbated further the challenges. Gender-based violence against women and children are mounting, particularly in conflict situations. We are of the view that the international legal framework fails to sufficiently protect women and girls as well as civilians mainly because those who are supposed to abide by international laws are brazenly violating them with near total impunity.
Advancing the meaningful inclusion and participation of women in peace and security processes would only be possible when their personal security and human rights are protected in the first place. Women peace-builders, civil society and community leaders and human rights defenders must be able to raise their voices and concerns without any fear of intimidation and violent reprisals. Their perspectives, inputs and experiences need to be given due consideration in conflict prevention, resolution and peace-building processes. Structural, capacity and cultural barriers that undermine their representation at the decision-making level must be addressed in order to harness their full potential in building peaceful societies.
In Myanmar, after the military perpetrated the illegal coup on February 1, 2021, by detaining democratically elected civilian government leaders, women were at the frontline of daily demonstrations against the coup despite imminent risks of deadly brutalities. They are still the leading figures of widespread opposition to the military rule. Women and girls in Myanmar including teachers, nurses, civil servants, factory workers, human rights defenders and students were attacked, detained, tortured and sexually abused by the security forces for their participation in peaceful protests and the civil disobedience movement.
Since the military coup, the rule of law has been effectively diminished, as evidently shown by the recent sham convictions of elected civilian government leaders. Access to justice for women and girls and effective remedies for their sufferings are now practically non-existent. For instance, a female journalist, who was seriously injured during the military’s vehicle ramming intentionally into the protestors on 5 December 2021 in Yangon, has not been allowed to meet with her lawyer until yesterday. As military air-strikes and disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks including burning houses and massacres have been displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians across the country, displaced women, girls and children especially in ethnic areas are widely affected. Among the worst, they are at greater risk of all forms of violence from the unaccountable military, which employs sexual violence as a tactic of war as documented by the United Nations.
Moreover, intense and sustained armed violence including airstrike by the State Administration Council (SAC) is now occurring in numerous locations in Karen (Kayin) State, Karenni (Kayah) State, Chin state, Magway Region and Sagaing Region, triggering the displacement of thousands of civilians. Even in the difficult situation, the National Unity Government is trying its best to provide necessary assistance to people in need including women and girls in conflict areas.
In its resolution 1325 and subsequent resolutions on women, peace and security, the UN Security Council emphasized the responsibility of all states to end impunity and to prosecute those responsible for atrocity crimes including those relating to sexual and other violence against women and girls. The Council also expressed its readiness to take appropriate steps to address widespread or systematic sexual violence in conflict situations. We learnt with satisfaction that when the Security Council employed its tools to ensure accountability for situations of atrocity crimes, the results helped have a positive impact in long-term improvement of those situations. We believe that addressing violence targeting women needs to start with ending impunity and ensuring accountability and justice for past and present atrocity crimes especially sexual and gender-based ones.
In Myanmar, the perpetrators of massacres, rape and other forms of sexual violence in conflict areas remain unaccountable. As the domestic justice system has collapsed, the united response from the Security Council is urgently needed to prevent further military atrocities against civilians, women and girls in Myanmar. As such, on 17 July 2021, the National Unity Government made a declaration under Article 12 (3) of the Rome Statute to the International Criminal Court accepting the jurisdiction of the court with an aim to bring the perpetrators to justice. There is no protection of women’s participation when they are under constant threat, when they are being violently attacked, arbitrarily detained and sexually abused in detention just for exercising their fundamental rights. Ending impunity and prevailing rule of law will certainly help protect the participation of women in nation building and peace process as well as in transitional justice system.
In conclusion, Madam President, we look up to the Security Council to live up to its expressed determination to address violence targeting women. At the same time, we also look forward to the recommendations of the Secretary-General in his next report regarding better protection of women, including appropriate measures that need to be taken to ensure justice for them and accountability for the perpetrators of systematic and widespread violence in situations like Myanmar.
Accordingly the people of Myanmar wish to witness an effective timely action from the Security Council to protect people including women and girls from the atrocities and heinous crimes committed by the Myanmar military.
I thank you.