The Estonian Foreign Ministry is supporting the work of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Sexual Violence in Conflict, the ministry's press service announced.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that the use of sexual violence in conflicts is extremely bad. “Unfortunately sexual violence is being used in many armed conflicts all over the world,” the foreign minister added. According to UN data, the most severe cases in 2012 took place in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Ivory Coast, Mali, and Syria.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that as a member of the UN Human Rights Council, the protection of the rights of women, considering the gender aspect in conflict resolution, and the fight again impunity are human rights priorities for Estonia. The office of the UN special representative works actively together with the International Criminal Court, where the president of the Assembly of States Parties is an Estonian diplomat. Estonia belongs to the Friends of Women, Peace and Security group at UN headquarters.
As of September 2012, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Sexual Violence in Conflict has been former foreign and health care ministers of Sierra Leone Zainab Hawa Bangura. Her priorities are fighting the impunity of perpetrators, protecting and empowering victims, strengthening political will to implement UN Security Council resolutions, recognising rape as a tool of war, and increasing the ability to prevent and investigate such crimes and to bring perpetrators to justice in conflict regions.
The position of the special representative was created in 2010 as the result of several Security Council resolutions (1325, 1820, 1888) with which the international community recognised the detrimental effect sexual violence has on ensuring peace in the world.
The Foreign Ministry is allocating 30 000 from its budget for development and humanitarian aid to support the work of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Sexual Violence in Conflict this year.