Statement by H.E. Ambassador Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, on Agenda Item: Women and Peace and Security at the Security Council Open Debate on Sexual Violence in Conflict

 (As delivered)

 Thank you, Mr. President,
I would like to thank the Presidency Germany for convening this meeting, and welcome the adoption of the resolution this morning, which we co-sponsored.
We cannot tolerate any sexual violence in conflict and Japan has consistently supported the work of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict (SRSG-SVC).
We highly appreciate the efforts taken by SRSG Ms. Patten to seek commitments from relevant governments and parties through tenacious negotiation to end sexual violence in conflict, which have led to a number of Frameworks of Cooperation and Joint Communiqués with various Governments and entities.
Mr. President,
In order to prevent and respond to sexual violence in conflict, the international society should strengthen its efforts in the following three areas:
Firstly, ensuring accountability for perpetrators and justice for survivors is key to the prevention and deterrence of future crimes. If perpetrators are not prosecuted, or if they still hold power, sexual violence cannot be put to rest, which leads to distrust in the government.
Japan has financially supported the work of the Team of Experts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Somalia and Iraq since 2014, which works closely with the Governments as well as the UN Missions and Country Teams to support investigation and prosecution, legislative reform and capacity building of judicial and security authorities.
Secondly, taking a survivor-centered approach is important in the response to sexual violence in conflict. Japan believes that the human security approach which is people-centered, comprehensive, and context-specific and focuses on prevention is valuable in this context. 
In this regard, Japan has supported UN Action projects including those to respond to the needs of children born in rape and their mothers in Iraq and to improve access to justice by survivors of sexual violence in Jordan.
Thirdly, in order to prevent and deter sexual violence by addressing its root causes including gender inequality, we need to boost our efforts to promote gender equality and the economic empowerment of women. We must also acknowledge that women are active peace-builders and safeguards against violent extremism, not just the victims of conflict.
In this connection, Japan has supported UN-Women’s projects in Kenya, Egypt, Iraq and Jordan to promote women’s empowerment at the community level through training against violent radicalization and cash-for-work programs. These projects encourage women to be confident, active players in protecting their communities from violent extremist influences.
Mr. Chair,
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Abe, Japan hosted the Fifth World Assembly for Women (WAW!) last month to create a “society where women shine”. The participants discussed women’s participation in conflict prevention, peacebuilding and post conflict recovery, and recognizes that all the stakeholders, including government and civil society, should work together to promote this agenda.
As the G20 presidency this year, Japan will relay the discussion of WAW! to the G20 Osaka Summit, where women’s economic empowerment will be one of the topics of discussion.
Mr. President,
Since earlier, the Delegation of the Republic of Korea mentioned the comfort women issue in his statement. I’m obliged to address the issue here.
The Government of Japan has been sincerely dealing with this issue for a long period of time. In addition, as a result of considerable diplomatic efforts, Japan and the ROK reached an agreement in December 2015. With this agreement, both countries confirmed that the comfort women issue is resolved finally in irreversibly. It is of great importance that the agreement is steadily implemented by both sides.
Thank you, Mr. President.