Thank you, Madam Chair. Member States have recognized that sustainable peace is only possible when the concerns of those most harmed by conflict are considered. We have made some in-roads on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, but as many have noted this morning, there is much more to be done.
The United States believes that promoting women’s empowerment is essential to peace and security globally. In Afghanistan, for example, we are working to promote participation of women in the political process, and are providing leadership and skills development for women to build their capacity to take on leadership roles. We are also working with both women and men in law enforcement and in the judicial sector to diminish the impunity that allows the threats, intimidation and violence to continue that keep women out of public life.
We have seen the important role that women can play as peacekeepers and police in post-conflict situations. We welcome the continuing contribution of the Indian women police officers serving in Liberia, as well as the arrival of Bangladeshi women police in Haiti. The United States is expanding its efforts to help other countries train and supply formed police units to peacekeeping operations, and we are encouraging our partners to include more women in these programs.
Madam Chair, sexual and gender-based violence continues to undermine peace processes and tears apart the fabric of fragile societies. We must all work to combat this horrific crime. In Liberia the United States is supporting a range of gender-based violence and gender equality initiatives.
We are also working closely with others to combat sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In addition to providing assistance to over 100,000 SGBV survivors and their families in eastern Congo, we are helping strengthen the capacity of the justice system to investigate, try, and prosecute SGBV cases, and helping the government provide adequate support to military personnel and their families. During the last year we have spent $6.5 million developing the capacity of local civilian and military judicial systems to investigate mass killings and SGBV, and this month we pledged $1.8 million to Special Representative Wallstrom’s and MONUSCO’s efforts to combat and respond to SGBV.
Madam Chair, the United States will continue to work with our partners to promote the empowerment of women as a means of fostering peace and security. We look forward to presenting a set of U.S. commitments in October, and to contributing to the Security Council’s answer to this “call to action,” by identifying tangible steps we can take toward realizing the goals of this important resolution. Thank you Madam Chair.
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