Conflict related sexual violence has long been seen as an inevitable but regrettable consequence of conflict.
However, as shown by the testimonies we have heard today, conflict related sexual violence is not inevitable.
It is used as a deliberate weapon of war.
A weapon targeted specifically at civilians.
At women, girls, men and boys.
The courageous women and men who have come forward as survivors of conflict related sexual violence have set CRSV high on the international agenda. Your brave testimonies, including the ones that were shared with us today, makes it possible to fight this scourge.
Thank you for your courage and strength.
The perpetrators of CRSV have long relied on the stigma surrounding sexual violence to make it a more effective weapon.
By upholding the silence – the destructive effects are multiplied.
Not only for individual survivors, but also for their families, communities and countries.
CRSV erodes the very fabric of society and it undermines efforts to achieve sustainable peace, security and stability.
One way of reducing its devastating impact is breaking the silence and taboos.
I applaud all survivors for speaking up about the horrors you have endured.
Representing the international community, we must work harder to address sexual violence in conflict and support survivors.
CRSV is a violation of both international human rights law and international humanitarian law.
As witnessed in multiple contexts around the world, it can be a war crime, a crime against humanity as well as an act of genocide.
Despite this, perpetrators have far too often been able to act with impunity.
This must end.
Norway commends the UN Security Council for adopting resolution 2467, which represents a milestone in our common efforts to prevent and counter CRSV.
The resolution strengthens prevention through justice and accountability, and affirms the need for a survivor-centered approach.
With this in place, we must continue to ensure that CRSV is addressed in all UN peace-making, peacekeeping and peace-building initiatives on the ground.
It must be included in all security and justice sector reform efforts, as well as in negotiations of peace agreements and ceasefire verification mechanisms.
Turning promises into practice and resolutions into solutions is crucial.
Norway strongly believes in the need to turn resolutions into solutions.
That is why Norway is developing a whole-of-mission handbook on the prevention and response to CRSV for UN peace operations.
However, this is not something we do alone.
On the contrary, we work closely with several partners:
The United Nations Department of Peace Operations, the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict all partake in this effort.
The handbook will serve as a practical guide for all UN peacekeepers to enhance the efforts of UN Peacekeeping and Special Political Missions to prevent and respond to CRSV on the ground.
The handbook is based on good practices, lessons learned and recommendations from UN peace operations.
Thus, it will give civilian, military, and police peacekeepers concrete tools to improve coordination, enhance community engagement and address impunity.
All with a survivor-centered approach.
The handbook will be launched and put into practice in all UN peace operations next year, aiming to contribute towards lasting changes on the ground.
Norway also welcomes the launch of the International Fund for Survivors of Conflict Related Sexual Violence, led by Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Dr. Dennis Mukwege and Nadia Murad.
The Fund will provide survivors of conflict-related sexual violence with better access to reparations and other forms of redress.
It will help survivors reintegrate fully into their communities.
We firmly support this important survivor-centred initiative.
We commit to join SRSG Patten, Dr. Mukwege, Nadia Murad and other partners to ensure survivors are being cared for, their rights are respected, and the reprehensible acts of sexual violence in conflict come to an end.
Thank you for your attention.