Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein

Australia’s statement on gender, 26 August 2019

Arms Trade Treaty 5th Conference of States Parties

Geneva 26-30 August 2019

Australia - Gender and Gender-Based Violence Statement

Mr President, We warmly welcome your decision on the theme for this year’s conference, and thank the panel for their presentations, raising issues that underline the impact on people. 

As pointed out in the Centre for Armed Violence’s publication on the Broader Benefits of the Arms Trade Treaty, the accumulation and misuse of conventional arms violently intersects with gender issues at many levels – in criminal activity, interpersonal violence and homicide, and socio-political violence. 

As States Parties, we can – and must -  reduce gender-based violence through the effective implementation and universalisation of the ATT.

Accordingly, we are happy to support the joint statement on gender.  We do note that the article 7 risk assessment required by the ATT takes into account gender based violence considerations, as one element to be factored into all stages of this risk assessment. While it is not an explicit requirement to be considered for article 6 obligations, Australia would take into account evidence of gender based violence when implementing article 6.

Further, it obliges us to assess the risk that the exports could be diverted.

The combined effect of these measures has the potential to significantly reduce the number of conventional weapons available, thereby reducing the level of gender-based violence.

Australia is a strong supporter of the Women, Peace and Security agenda.  We are in the process of developing our second national action plan on Women, Peace and Security.

We are committed to strengthening the international rules based order. The Arms Trade Treaty is a key international legal instrument which supports the Women, Peace and Security agenda. We support the efforts to achieve a greater gender balance in decision-making fora and delegations, and value women’s meaningful participation and insights into the impact on the most vulnerable communities – as described by the panellists – of armed violence.

Since March 2015, Australia has committed AUD11 million to UN Women’s two main Women, Peace and Security funds:

  • AUD6.5 million to the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund and
  • AUD4.5 million to UN Women for their Global Facility of Women, Peace and Security

Australia also provided over AUD8 million in funding for ICRC's Special Appeal to address Sexual Violence in Conflict and over AUD26 million to the SPRINT initiative to accelerate community recovery by providing crisis-affected women, men and children with lifesaving sexual and reproductive health services. 

Mr President, we thank you for your work on the topic of gender representation and gender-based violence.  I am confident that, under your leadership, these efforts will result in this meeting agreeing to a decision on Gender and Gender-based Violence. 

This decision will make clear our commitment to reduce gender-based violence and guide us with constructive measures to implement.

We look forward to working with States Parties to support efforts to give full force to the obligations set out in the Arms Trade Treaty.

Doing so will give us the best opportunity to reduce gender-based violence in the future.