Intervention of the United States of America
As Delivered by Tabitha Snowbarger
Human Rights Council 27 – Geneva
Panel on Integration of a Gender Perspective, September 15, 2014
Thank you Mr. President. I would also like to thank the panelists for their remarks.
To integrate a gender perspective effectively into its work, the Human Rights Council must, and often does, account for the specific conditions of women and girls in each country.
It is well documented that women and girls are disadvantaged in the workplace, suffer more frequently from hunger and inadequate medical care, and are consistently more exposed to economic, political, and social peril than men and boys.
Recognizing these differing experiences is the first step in identifying tools to promote and protect the human rights of women, men, girls, and boys.
Women and girls in conflict areas are frequently sexually abused and exploited, and the consequences of this sexual violence have lasting consequences.
Survivors may be reluctant to seek redress for the wrongs they suffered because they fear ostracism or further violence from their communities and families.
Very often it spells the beginning of a downward spiral into illness, poverty, and social ostracism – compounding societal insecurity. Survivors need physical protection, a legal remedy, psychological support, and social inclusion.
To magnify the impact of its country-specific work, the Council should deepen its coordination with other UN bodies dedicated to improving conditions for women and girls.
These partnerships have already produced excellent results, including in addressing conflict-related sexual violence.
For example, this Council’s commissions of inquiry have documented conflict-related crimes against women and girls because they have included experts trained to investigate gender-based crimes.
We welcome UN Women’s collaboration with Justice Rapid Response to train gender experts and place them on a roster for rapid deployment, and continue to emphasize the need for further investments in such a creative tool.
Zainab Bangura, UN Special Representative on sexual violence in conflict, is another valuable resource as is the Team of Experts, and UN Action are also valuable resources.
We appreciate her contributions to the Council’s high-level panel on sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo last March.
This Council should welcome and support her innovative work.
Even so, more can and should be done. In the area of conflict-related sexual violence, reparation for sexual violence can have a transformative and restorative effect for survivors.
And while the Council’s special procedures mandate holders do excellent and important work in their country-specific reports, and generally attend to the nuances of conditions for women and girls in each locale, they could improve.