Explanation of Position for the CSW Resolution Titled “Release of Women and Children Taken Hostage in Armed Conflicts

U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
July 14, 2020


Thank you, Chair. Thanks to the delegation of Azerbaijan for its effective facilitation of this important biannual resolution. Their successful facilitation promoted a constructive dialogue during the negotiations even on the most challenging issues, eventually leading to consensus.

We are pleased that this resolution contains not only the abuses and violations of international law that women and children taken hostage face but also specific recommendations for addressing them, including through accountability measures and prosecution of perpetrators.

The United States is also pleased that the final resolution text contains an explicit reference to UN Security Council Resolution 1325. This resolution has remained pivotal to addressing issues women taken hostage face in the 20 years since the adoption of the Women, Peace and Security agenda.

While we join consensus, my delegation also takes this opportunity to express some concerns we have with the final text.

The United States understands that this resolution does not change the current state of conventional or customary international law, and we do not read it to imply that states must join or implement obligations under international instruments to which they are not a party. The United States understands that any reaffirmation of prior documents applies only to those states that affirmed them initially, and, in the case of international treaties or conventions, to those States who are party.

Women and children bear a number of vulnerabilities when taken hostage, some of which include starvation, restriction from practicing their religion, physical abuse, forced labor, exposure to violence, including sexual violence, and/or forced radicalization. The United States encourages a broad view of women’s needs and vulnerabilities, including but not limited to “sexual violence and reproductive health concerns.”

Thank you.