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'Zero tolerance on violence against women caught in unrest'


From Yoshita Singh United Nations, Jan 31: Asserting that it is committed to a zero tolerance policy on violence against women, India has told the UN Security Council it should "disaggregate" the complex nature of its peacekeeping mandates and focus on addressing issues confronting women in armed conflict situations through peace-building activities.

India's Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Asoke Mukerji said threat faced by civilians in armed conflict situations has undergone a significant change in recent years and impact of instability and violence has been felt by the most vulnerable of the civilian populations, especially women and girls.

Zero tolerance on violence against women

He said India has extensive experience in UN peacekeeping operations over the past six decades and is "committed to a zero tolerance policy on violence against women". Mukerji noted that nations are witnessing a steady increase in deployment of UN peacekeepers in situations of internal conflicts within member states.

"It is a matter of concern that most of these situations appear to be open-ended, often due to the breakdown of national governance structures within the country, as well as to the evident inability of the Council to address and nurture sustainable political solutions to such conflict situations," he added.

He said increased participation of women in redressing such situations could make a significant difference in finding a solution to the problem. "The participation of women in all aspects of the prevention and resolution of conflicts is an important policy measure which the Council should encourage while mandating peace operations," he said.

India was the first member state of the United Nations to contribute an all female formed police unit (FPU) to the UN peacekeeping operations in Liberia (UNMIL) in 2007.

"Our experience in Liberia showed that the actual requirements for addressing issues confronting women in armed conflict were related to the concept of peace building, rather than peacekeeping.

We believe that the time has come for the Council to disaggregate the complex multidimensional nature of its peacekeeping mandates, and focus on addressing issues confronting women in armed conflict situations through focused peace building activities, so that the transition to a post- conflict society can be sustainable," Mukerji said.

He added that such an approach would give greater scope to humanitarian and development actors to take appropriate action against the exploitation and abuse of women caught in situations of armed conflict.


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