Statement at the Adoption of the First-Ever UN General Assembly Resolution on Survivors of Sexual Violence

By Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, Senior Advisor for Special Political Affairs

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New York, September 2, 2022

AS DELIVERED

Thank you, Mr. President. The United States thanks Sierra Leone and Japan for facilitating the text before us on the critically important topic of justice for survivors of sexual violence, which we are pleased to co-sponsor. We also encourage all countries to adopt this historic text by consensus and without any modifications. We also want to thank the numerous civil society advocates and survivors who also helped to bring this resolution to fruition today.

This is a historic moment for the General Assembly as it marks the first time that survivors of sexual violence are recognized in a stand-alone resolution. In 2016, President Obama signed the Survivors’ Bill of Rights. This law demonstrated America’s commitment to promoting accountability for human rights abuses. This resolution is a reflection of the global commitment to this issue. We know we must do more to eliminate sexual violence across the globe, but this landmark resolution takes us one step closer to this goal.

We continue to support efforts to ensure that survivors of sexual and gender-based violence have access to survivor-centered justice. This includes the meaningful representation of women in all their diversity as criminal justice practitioners, the training of law enforcement and justice sector personnel in handling gender-based violence cases in a trauma-informed manner, appropriate survivor and witness protection and support, as well as access to health services, including access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

In cosponsoring this resolution, the United States does not recognize any change to the current state of conventional or customary international law. The resolution does not create rights or obligations under international law, nor do we read it to imply that states must join or implement obligations under international instruments to which they are not a party.

The United States strongly supports the use of measures to prevent or protect individuals from acts of violence committed by non-State actors. The United States notes, however, that generally only States have obligations under international human rights law and, therefore, the capacity to commit violations of human rights. References in this resolution to human rights “obligations” in connection with non-State actors, or “violations” of human rights by such actors should not be understood to imply that such actors bear obligations under international human rights law.

We emphasize the need to do more to eliminate sexual violence wherever it occurs and expand services and deliver justice to survivors of all forms of sexual and gender-based violence, particularly those facing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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