South Africa called on members of the UNSC to work in concert to comprehensively deal with violence against women. Picture: Katlholo Maifadi

Johannesburg - South Africa on Tuesday called on members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to work in concert to comprehensively deal with violence against women, which is one of the most pervasive human rights violations during times of conflict. 

South Africa has emphasised the country’s belief that violence against women is a serious crime that warrants more urgent and decisive action by the international community. 

Delivering the country’s statement during the open debate on Women, Peace and Security: Sexual Violence in Conflict, the Deputy Director-General for Global Governance of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Ambassador Mxolisi Nkosi, challenged the UNSC to prioritise “gender-sensitive responses and programmes” aimed at addressing the needs of women and girls who are victims of sexual violence.

“South Africa firmly believes that essential services must be provided to the survivors of sexual violence. In line with our long-held position that sexual and reproductive health services are not only an important component of the right to health, they are critical for the overall empowerment of women. In the context of sexual violence in conflict, the lack of access to these services threatens the most sacrosanct of all human rights, namely, the right to life itself,” said Ambassador Nkosi. 

“Due to the inextricable link between sexual violence in conflict situations and gender inequality, South Africa therefore, advocates for the equal and meaningful participation and full involvement of women in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security. Our efforts in peace and security are diminished while women continue to be under siege and at the receiving end of sexual violence”, added Ambassador Nkosi.

The debate on Women, Peace and Security is also expected to be a topical subject during South Africa’s Presidency of the UNSC in October 2019 in line with South Africa’s priorities during its term as an elected member of the Council.

African News Agency (ANA)