Ladies and gentlemen,
Sexual violence is widely recognized as a deliberate strategy used to shred the fabric of society; to control and intimidate communities and to force people from their homes. It is rightly seen as a threat to international peace and security, a serious violation of international humanitarian and human rights law, and a major impediment to post-conflict reconciliation and economic development.
This Council has played a significant role in ushering in this change, in particular through several landmark resolutions that confirm sexual violence as a war crime, a crime against humanity, and a constituent act of genocide.
The designation of 19 June as the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict is a further sign of heightened engagement and commitment.
Over the past decade, I have sought to do whatever I can to end sexual violence in conflict and uphold the rights of women and girls everywhere.