The WPS agenda remains one of key priorities for Slovenia

Today, the UN Security Council held its annual open debate on Women, Peace and Security (WPS). This year’s debate focused on the prevention of conflict-related sexual violence through demilitarization and gender-responsive arms control. Slovenia strongly condemns all forms of sexual and gender-based violence and consistently calls for accountability in this regard. The Women, Peace and Security agenda is also one of Slovenia’s priorities in the UN Security Council.

Sexual and gender-based violence is on the rise worldwide. As the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, pointed out, the Secretary-General’s latest report on conflict-related sexual violence “records 3,688 UN-verified cases of conflict-related sexual violence committed in the course of 2023, reflecting a dramatic increase of 50 per cent compared with the previous year.” According to SRSG Patten, “between 70 and 90 per cent of conflict-related sexual violence incidents involve the use of a weapon.”

The illicit trade in weapons, along with their misuse and ease of acquisition, continues to exacerbate armed conflicts, making disarmament a key step in preventing sexual and gender-based violence. It is therefore imperative for the Security Council and the international community to intensify their joint efforts in this regard. At the annual debate, Slovenia expressed three key points.

Firstly, Slovenia emphasized the need to strengthen national regulations and legislation on the control and transfer of small arms, light weapons and ammunition. Secondly, it advocated the integration of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda into the arms control framework and thirdly, Slovenia called for the full, equal, meaningful and safe participation of women in all political processes related to arms control and disarmament.

“The response to conflict-related sexual violence must be rights-based and survivor-centred,” the Ambassador stressed, calling for accountability. Impunity cannot remain the norm.

In conclusion, the Ambassador reiterated that women and girls are much more than victims or survivors: “They are peacebuilders, frontline responders and play a critical role in providing much-needed services to women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations.”

Slovenia will continue to explore ways for the UN Security Council to address sexual and gender-based violence more effectively and comprehensively.

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