On April 17th, the UN Security Council held a daylong debate on Sexual Violence in Conflict under the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Member States discussed the Secretary-General's annual report (S/2013/149) followed by briefings by the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Zainab Bangura, Special Representative on sexual violence. Additionally, Saran Keita Diakite – the President of the Women, Peace and Security Network of the ECOWAS region, Mali – spoke on behalf of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security. Ms. Diakite (NGOWG) said: “the prevention of sexual violence – and of the underlying causes of conflict itself – is the most powerful instrument available to us” and highlighted the inclusion of a gender criterion in the recently adopted Arms Trade Treaty that WILPF strongly advocated for. Several States including France, Australia, Lichtenstein, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Brazil, Chile and other also referred to the recently adopted Arms Trade Treaty that included a gender criterion.
The debate featured 60 statements and was presided over by Louise Mushikiwabo, the Foreign Minister of Rwanda. Overall, it was less politically contentious than the previous debate on sexual violence in conflict (February 2012). The situations in Syria, Mali, DRC, South Sudan and Somalia were among the frequently mentioned contexts. Although there was no outcome document of this meeting, the debate seems to be a starting point for a possible Security Council resolution later this year on Sexual Violence.