Statements and Speeches
Statement by Mr. Mahlatse Mminele, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa to the United Nations, in the UN Security Council Open Debate On Women, Peace and Security
25 October 2016
My delegation wishes to express our appreciation to the Secretary-General for his statement as well as the valued contributions that were made by Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women.
The adoption of United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 on 31 October 2000 remains a significant milestone in the progression for women’ rights and equality the world over, for the first time giving women a significant and necessary voice in the field of peace and security.
South Africa strongly believes in the involvement in, and empowerment of women in all aspects of peace, security and development. This is robustly reflected by the fact that democratic South Africa has one of the largest contingent of women peacekeepers deployed throughout the African continent, with 270 soldiers and 12 policewomen deployed in various peace missions. The contribution of women to peacekeeping and peace-making efforts is recognized as a contributing factor to the effectiveness and long-term success of United Nations deployments.
Recognizing the importance that woman play within the context of peace operations, serves as a strong incentive in building the capacity of women within the peacekeeping landscape. This also contributes to the accessibility and credibility of UN deployments in local communities. In this regard, South Africa has been developing the necessary training programs to equip our peacekeepers to deal with the unique circumstances that that may develop during a peace operation.
The South African government, in partnership with UN Women, undertook in 2015 a training course tailored for female military officers stationed at the South African Army School’s Peace Mission Training Centre in Pretoria. A second training course, co-facilitated between South Africa and Kenya, will take place in Kenya in November this year. The South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation, in collaboration with the Government of Norway has established an initiative to train and create a network of mediators with the ultimate objective of broadening the inclusion of women mediation efforts throughout the world. UN Women and the UN Department of Political Affairs have also participated in this training while the African Union has also included the training programme in its work.
South Africa supports efforts towards mainstreaming the involvement of women in peace and security which can be achieved through further coordination and cooperation between the African Union and United Nations. This can assist in facilitating the formalization of training women mediators and to ensure the effective mainstreaming of women mediators in peace-building efforts of the UN. South Africa encourages the UN to develop a database of women mediators, which would ensure the meaningful participation of women in peace building delegations (including mediation teams). This is in addition to cooperation between Member States on training courses that will help build capacity amongst women in the various specialized areas within the Peace and Security environment.
South Africa reaffirms its strong commitment to the full and effective implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000), and its subsequent resolutions, as groundbreaking commitments to the advancement of the women, peace and security agenda. Women and girls continue to be disproportionately affected by conflict situations, especially with regard to sexual abuse and violence. This reality underpins the principles of Resolution 1325, which addresses sexual violence in conflict – an integral part of the women, peace and security agenda.
We stress that Members States have a fundamental responsibility to prosecute the perpetrators responsible for human rights abuses, war crimes and crimes against humanity including those relating to sexual violence against women and girls.
My delegation wishes to emphasize our appreciation for the active role and full participation of the Executive Director for UN Woman and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on sexual violence in conflict, in monitoring implementation of the resolution.
Security Council resolution 2242 (2015) provides further impetus to the mandate established by resolution 1325. Over the last year we have seen more engagement from the Council on matters related to women, peace and security, including through the work of the resolution 2242 Informal Experts Group on Women, Peace and Security. But, we believe more can be done to implement the recommendations of resolution 2242 including through interaction with women on the ground who are directly affected by conflict. The meeting held on the margins of UNGA71 co-hosted by UN Women and Norway which explored the impact of violent extremism on women and children, is notable in this regard.
South Africa looks forward to further cooperation and the sharing of experiences with Member States, as well as the UN Department of Political Affairs, UN Women and other partners which will enable greater incorporation of gender perspectives and the concerns of women towards enhancing the sustainability of peace and security in all conflict situations.
I thank you.