Thank you, Mr. Chair.
We will recall that the Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, who, as early as April 2016, when he was still then a candidate for the post, called for “…eradicating, once and for all, the exploitative and abusive conduct of those UN agents who do not represent what the Organization stands for.”
Yesterday, the Secretary General’s report on “Special Measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse: a new approach,” came out which focuses on the imperative to address the issue “through a system-wide approach” and seeks to build a strong partnership with Member States.
Today, we will have a resolution before us on this very issue that if not addressed will continue to tarnish the image of this Organization.
While the Philippines supports this resolution and recognizes the initiative of some of our fellow TCCs – as main sponsors of the draft resolution -- we wish to convey the following concerns:
On the process: The resolution, while presented as a consensus text, was not formulated through a more transparent and inclusive process of consultations with Member States, that would have allowed all views to be heard and considered.A very tight timeline and a rush to adopt the resolution did not allow us to consider fully the just issued Secretary General’s reportwhich could have enriched our discussions and the resolution.
On substance: We would have wanted the resolution to highlight protection of children, the most vulnerable and the most in need of protection from SEA, especially in conflict situations.It is an inherent priority within the broader obligations of the UN to protect civilians.
Today, six (6) peacekeeping missions and three (3) special political missions have child protection mandates. More than 100 child protection staff are deployed to these missions. This clearly illustrates that these children are extremely vulnerable members of communities where peacekeeping missions operate; that “peacekeepers have an obligation to both promote and adhere to international norms and standards developed by Member States on child protection.”
We all agree that the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse not only undermines the values and principles of the United Nations but also erodes the trust of the peoples we have vowed to protect.
It is inexcusable. It is unacceptable. It has no place in the UN system.
The Philippines stands in solidarity with the community of responsible nations and remains steadfastly committed to ending sexual violence whenever and wherever it occurs.
We will continue to hold our Philippine troops accountable to the highest standards of conduct.