Swedish Statement at the Arria meeting on The Use of Sanctions in Addressing Sexual Violence in Conflict


National statement delivered by Ambassador Olof Skoog on behalf of Sweden at the Arria meeting on The Use of Sanctions in Addressing Sexual Violence in Conflict, 22 October 2018, New York.

I hope we are allowed to thank you Karel, and the panelists, and the co-organizers, for a very timely meeting.

I can be quite brief because very good points have already been made. First of all I wanted to say that we have kept this agenda item on the agenda of the Security Council since we came in a year and a half ago and we are very happy that we proposed and then we saw the inclusion of the first ever separate sanction criteria for sexual violence in the case of the Central African Republic. So it is very good that we are now looking at how to amplify that kind of work.

Sexual violence is one of the most brutal aspects of the conflicts in the world today. These crimes, if they do not kill the victim, they are sure to scar the victims for life. But also deeply affect victims’ families and entire societies. We therefore all have a responsibility to make every effort to us putting an end to these crimes. Aiming to use the sanctions is one good example of that. Others have mentioned the Nobel Peace Prize, I just hope that the attention that comes with that prize will be the beginning of a turning point about this very negative trend of sexual based violence. And I also hope that it will contribute to the attention and the support all of you panelists, including the SRSG, for the work that you are doing.

We believe that conflict related sexual violence, against women and girls, men and boys, is a core security challenge and addressing it is a central part of the Security Council agenda, as was just said by Peru and the United States.  It does not exist in a vacuum though, but it correlates to larger patterns of gender inequality and structural discrimination. It is further fueled by extremism, political instability and collapsed rule of law.

At the heart of this issue is the fundamental obligation to ensure both women and men’s full enjoyment of human rights, and therefore it is a very broad issue. But when it comes to sanctions I do have, and I thought there were some very good proposals made by the panelists, I have a few thoughts, I think six or seven very concrete recommendations.

First of all, the link between accountability and prevention is very clear. Everyone has mentioned it. Therefore, we need to do much more to ensure accountability and putting an end to the impunity that unfortunately seems to be the rule today.

Secondly, the Council has added conflict related sexual violence as criteria on the Central African Republic. We have done it in South Sudan. We encourage, just as the SRSG said, that we should do this as a stand-alone criteria when adopting new sanctions regimes and to list perpetrators whenever relevant, and unfortunately it is very often relevant.

Thirdly, in cases where there still are no separate designation criteria, we encourage the panels to report on this issue under the criteria that include acts that violate international humanitarian law or international human rights law. 

Fourthly, as confirmed by the panelists, there is a need greater gender expertise in the sanctions committees to effectively fulfill their mandate. Improving the gender diversity within the panels of experts is of course important too, and I think we as member states need to improve the way we put forward candidates to be on the panels of experts and keep that gender balance in mind. More women on these panels.

Fifthly, we must consider the link between financial crimes, sexual violence and sexual slavery. Closer collaboration between financial institutions and international organizations must be supported.

Sixthly, we welcome the regular briefings by SRSG Patten on conflict-related sexual violence and SRSG Gamba on Children and Armed Conflict, and to share information with sanctions committees.

As the seventh point, we believe that to further inform country-specific considerations, member states on the Council, and the broader membership for that matter, should make better use of the documents and the meetings of the Security Council Experts Group on Women, Peace and Security. Pramila Patten’s office has a standing agenda point in all meetings of the Expert Group to update on conflict-related sexual violence in every country specific situation discussed, and I just want to end by encouraging all member states of the Council to make improved and better use, and take that information to heart.

Thank you.


Lisa Laskaridis
Head of Press and Communication, Permanent Mission of Sweden to the UN
Phone +1 212 583 2543
Mobile +1 917 239 0941
email to Lisa Laskaridis