The Netherlands steps up its efforts to combat sexual violence in conflict zones

Foreign minister Frans Timmermans has pledged to step up the country’s efforts to fight sexual violence in conflict zones. In furtherance of this aim, the Netherlands will not only organise an international conference on the problem; it will also recruit more experts on the subject and deploy them where they are needed. These undertakings are intended to put the agreements set down in UN Security Council Resolution 1325 at the top of the international agenda, as the minister stated on Monday during a meeting with parliament, saying, ‘This issue merits greater attention.’

Resolution 1325 calls on the UN and its member states to improve the position of women during and after armed conflicts. As Mr Timmermans said, ‘Women and children are often the victims of armed conflicts. This is why we are making a move to deepen our commitment in this area. We have to do more to give women a greater say over their future, the future of their children and their communities.’

In London earlier this month, the minister attended the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. There he remarked that sexual violence was ruining the lives of women, men, girls and boys. He also observed that the use of sexual violence as a weapon can disrupt entire communities and undermine the stability of a country or region.

‘These problems also need to be addressed by international peace missions and reconstruction efforts. With this in mind we intend to recruit and deploy more experts on gender and sexual violence,’ said Mr Timmermans. These experts will fall under the auspices of the civilian mission pool.

The Netherlands is working to eliminate sexual violence in conflict zones in a variety of ways, for instance through its efforts to promote human rights, foster development cooperation and provide humanitarian aid.

Mr Timmermans also attaches great importance to ensuring that perpetrators of sexual violence are punished, which he believes happens all too infrequently. The Netherlands plays a major role in the international justice system, serving as the host state of the International Criminal Court and other leading organisations in this field.