UNITED NATIONS - Pakistan has underscored the need to end impunity for perpetrators of violence against women in conflicts and bringing non-state actors under the ambit of international humanitarian law as the UN Security Council debated protection of civilians in armed conflict.
“Protection of civilians in armed conflicts is one of the core functions of the Security Council in its mandated peacekeeping missions,” Ambassador Masood Khan, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN, said, noting that women and girls, being the most vulnerable, bore the brunt of the devastation of conflicts.
As the peacekeepers face non-traditional threats such as terrorism and transnational crime, existing measures and tools should be refined and strengthened to choke financing resources and bring criminals to justice, he said.
The command and control of peacekeeping missions should pay particular attention to the protection of civilians, the Pakistani envoy said.
Barriers to humanitarian access should be removed so that women and girls could be reached in the conflict-hit areas.
Women and girls made up the majority of the current displaced persons and had also faced targeted attacks, Masood Khan pointed out. Violence against women was now being used as an instrument of war, with examples seen in a number of states. Parties to a conflict were bound to protect women and girls at the peace table during and after that conflict.
Masood Khan said gender sensitisation, as a core cultural value, had been a mandatory part of training for peacekeepers in Pakistan. Pakistani women had served as police officers, doctors and nurses in various missions in Asia, Africa and the Balkans, he told the Council.
“Women police officers, instinctively and because of their special training, show empathy towards the women suffering in conflict situations,” he said. “These women, in turn, relate instantly to these police officers,” he concluded.