The U.N. Security Council has authorized action against illicit oil exports from Libya for another six months and added planning and committing sexual and gender-based violence as reasons for sanctions, despite objections from Russia and China.
The Netherlands and Sweden pushed for including “planning, directing or committing acts involving sexual and gender-based violence” as criteria for sanctions, citing the increasingly worrying problem in Libya especially against migrants trying to reach Europe.
Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Moscow objected to sexual and gender-based violence being included in a resolution dealing with threats to international peace and security, saying those issues are considered at the Human Rights Council and the Commission on the Status of Women.
Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused the Netherlands and Sweden, which pushed for the new sanctions criteria, of trying to score political points at home.
“This is populism distilled in its purest form,” Nebenzia told the council, who noted that preventing sex crimes in Sweden and the Netherlands “is the remit of the national governments.”
“Sexual and gender-based violence are part of crime in any specific country,” said the ambassador, adding that the council should focus on threats to international security.
The council has added sexual violence as a criteria for sanctions in recent resolutions on the Central African Republic and South Sudan.
Swedish Deputy Ambassador Carl Skau said he hoped that adding the new sanctions criteria will have a “deterrent effect and that there will be accountability for such crimes.”
Dutch Ambassador Karel van Oosterom said it was “an important step forward” for the UN council to slap sanctions on perpetrators of sexual violence “for instance in the refugee camps that rape women refugees.”