Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Seychelles is proud to have added its voice to all those who have pledged through numerous UN resolutions to end sexual violence as a weapon of war.
We now are also proud to contribute towards actions that can end it.
Ending such atrocities, depend on unity of purpose both at the national and international level.
We must start by being unequivocal in designating such actions as war crimes.
We cannot allow space for narratives that perpetuate the view that actions in times of war are subject to separate standards or that these actions can or should be forgotten as part of moving towards peace.
The backbone of accountability is institutions that are able to investigate and dispense justice independently.
Therefore we must strengthen these institutions at the level of individual states, and where necessary international mechanisms that intervene where law and order no longer exists.
A core element of capacity building must be strengthening the capacity to investigate such crimes while preserving the dignity of the victims.
At the national level, we need policemen, judges, investigators, human rights commissions and associated institutions that can document, investigate and prosecute to end impunity. National Human Rights action plans are critical tools both for prevention and strengthening accountability.
Wherever possible- we must use the national level as a priority.
At the international level, organisations such as the ICC can play a key role. But those of us who are members of the ICC, must be prepared to strengthen the investigation capacity of the ICC and organizations linked to the ICC. We must enhance the capacity to build coherent cases that are based on clear evidence collection standards which respect the dignity of the victims. We must have transparent processes- to ensure that everyone understands that such crimes will always be punished.
We also must be prepared to address the issue of reducing the time it takes to prosecute cases through international mechanisms.
Civil society can play a key role in reporting these crimes- and we have to strengthen the awareness and understanding on reporting methodologies to strengthen the possibility for successful prosecution.
Sexual violence is used as a weapon of war, because it attacks the psyche of a nation- it aims to precisely undermine the very core that underpins a society with a view to destroy it.
While Seychelles is blessed as a country that knows no wars, we understand the destructive force of domestic and sexual violence. We are determined to ensure accountability in our own space by strengthening our institutions.
We need to empower those on who we can build a society.
In Seychelles, and in Africa, we build a society around our mothers- those who nurture our society. There is still a lot to be done to strengthen the platforms that allow development in dignity for our women, for our mothers.
This heightens the risk they face in times of conflict. This weakens our societies.
In all our states, we must strengthen participation of women in political leadership and in decision making. We must strengthen their stake in economic growth.
This strengthens our societies in the most fundamental way.
We see the fight against sexual violence in conflict as part of the fight for equality and justice.
As we increase accountability- we strengthen the space for our women to strengthen our societies.
I thank you.