Statement by H.E. Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti
Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations

Women and Peace and Security

16 December 2010



Madam President,

Thank you for convening this debate on such an important issue. I also thank the Secretary-General for his remarks and for his comprehensive and candid report on sexual violence in armed conflict. We are grateful to the Special Representative Margot Wallström for her presentation and her work. Our appreciation also goes to Under-Secretary-General Alain Le Roy and Military Adviser General Babacar Gaye for their briefings. 

Madam President,

When the Council takes up issues such as sexual violence, the challenge is to address in political and even operational 
terms an issue that is deeply moral. In other words, the Council is called to help translate our sorrow and outrage at 
such horrific violence into practical action capable of bringing real change. 

To that effect, we need an integrated approach that combines prevention, fight against impunity and support to victims. 

Madam President,

Support to national awareness-raising activities and information campaigns seeking to break taboos and
misperceptions around the issue are particularly important to preventive efforts. For example, as the Secretary-General 
report highlights, the myth that rape is an inevitable byproduct of war is persistent and dangerously self-fulfilling. The stigmas and the silence that already hamper addressing sexual violence in peacetime can never be allowed 
to prevail, especially when such violence becomes a tactic of war. 

In situations where peacekeeping operations are deployed, the UN's role in prevention becomes one of particular relevance as the enhanced resources at its disposal create higher expectations in the local population and the international public opinion. In order to live up to such expectations, we must ensure that prevention of sexual violence be made a truly mission-wide endeavor, involving not only troops and police, but all mission components. 

Recent events have shown that contacts with the local population are critical to ensuring protection. The role of 
Civil Affairs and Public Information components is therefore key. These components should have the necessary resources – 
especially guidance and trained personnel – to be able to help avoid outrageous violence such as the one we witnessed 
in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We are encouraged by the measures DPKO is taking to mainstream prevention of sexual violence in peacekeeping missions. 

Madam President,

Impunity tends to fuel violence. Brazil appreciates and supports the work of Ms. Wallström's office in supporting 
national institutions to identify and prosecute perpetrators. We also believe that the Team of Experts established by 
resolution 1888 can play an important role in helping States to strengthen the rule of law in situations of particular 
concern. When national jurisdictions are unable or unwilling to exercise their primary responsibility, the role of the 
International Criminal Court becomes key. 

Today's adoption of resolution 1960, which Brazil is pleased to have cosponsored, sends a clear message that the Council is ready to continue to fight impunity by focusing on parties that engage in conflict-related sexual violence. It 
strengthened the tools and arrangements available to the Council and the United Nations as a whole. It gave a 
significant and concrete step in ensuring accountability, thus contributing to a decrease in the incidence of the 
problem.

Madam President,

As we focus on bringing perpetrators to justice or face opprobrium, we cannot shirk our duty to ensure proper support to victims. While this is fundamentally the responsibility of States, there are several ways by which the international community can supports national efforts in that regard. Brazil recently contributed US$ 1 million to the High Commissioner for Human Rights to support programmes to fight sexual violence and to facilitate the access of victims to justice and to compensation in the DRC. 

Madam President,

Dealing with sexual violence requires different parts of the UN system to act on many fronts. Today we have made progress in that direction and completed on a very high note a remarkable effort that we undertook during 2010 to provide an effective response by the Security Council to the scourge of sexual violence. There is certainly more to be done, but we now have the tools and a clear roadmap to make further progress in the future.

Thank you very much.