Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Human Rights Council – 17th Session

Annual Full-Day Discussion on Women’s Human Rights

Statement by Australia

10 June 2011

Panel 2: “Conflict-related sexual violence – bridging the human rights and the security agendas”

Australia is pleased to participate in this panel discussion. Australia condemns the use of conflict-related sexual violence against women, which is a flagrant violation of women’s human rights. The Australian Government is committed to working to prevent and respond to sexual violence and to promote and protect the human rights of women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations.

Australia is a proud and long-time supporter of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (UNSCR 1325). The Australian Government is currently working towards the release of an Australian draft National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security in 2011 to implement UNSCR 1325 in Australia.

Australia also continues to take a leading role in the development of UN peacekeeping concepts and doctrine on the Protection of Civilians, which includes strategies for protecting women and girls from conflict-related violence. Australia co-hosted (with Uruguay) the third workshop in a series in December 2010 which sought to broaden the acceptance of Protection of Civilians as a core peacekeeping task within the UN community.

The Asia Pacific Civil-Military Centre of Excellence, a whole-of-government Australian initiative, held the international Civil-Military Affairs Conference on the subject “Enhancing the Protection of Civilians in Peace Operations (from Policy to Practice)” from 24-26 May 2011. The conference brought together 120 high-level speakers and delegates from the UN, the African Union, the non-government sector, academia and the Australia Government. The conference considered the latest developments in improving the Protection of Civilians in peace operations and how these impact on the security and rights of women and girls in conflict zones.

The Australian Government is committed to promoting linkages between UNSCR 1325 and the Protection of Civilians agenda in 2011 and is planning to hold a workshop later in the year to develop guidance materials to integrate Protection of Civilians concepts and UNSCR 1325.
The Government also focuses on international development assistance programs which promote effective ways to prevent and respond to sexual violence and help women and families go about their daily activities safely in conflict-affected environments. Australia’s support includes funding additional training for UN peacekeepers on how to protect women from conflict-related sexual violence.

We are interested in the Panel’s views on ways the Human Rights Council can complement and strengthen the work of the Security Council in preventing and responding to conflict-related sexual violence against women and girls.