News / Africa

UN Strengthens Fight Against Wartime Rape

A victim of a mass rape campaign in the town of Fizi, Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011 in Fizi, Congo. She was among nearly 50 women who were raped by Congolese soldiers on January 1, 2011.
A victim of a mass rape campaign in the town of Fizi, Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011 in Fizi, Congo. She was among nearly 50 women who were raped by Congolese soldiers on January 1, 2011.
Margaret Besheer
The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution strengthening ways to fight the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.

U.N. agencies estimate more than 40,000 women were raped during Liberia’s civil war from 1989-2003, as many as 60,000 in the former Yugoslavia during the early 1990s, and at least 200,000 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1998.

Syria has now been added to this sad list, with reports of women and girls, and some boys, being sexually violated as a result of that country’s on-going conflict.

Those are just a few examples.

After a war ends, the effects of sexual violence continue in the form of pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, discrimination and ostracizing of victims.

The resolution adopted Monday by the U.N. Security Council aims to strengthen mechanisms across the U.N. system that can help tackle rape in war, such as deploying gender advisors with peacekeeping and political missions and urging sanctions against perpetrators of sexual violence where appropriate.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who chaired the meeting, called for an end to sexual violence, saying it is as much a weapon of war as tanks and bullets, intended to tear apart communities and achieve military objectives.

“We need action on all fronts, from the Security Council and the United Nations as a whole, and from governments in conflict-affected countries," Hague said. "We need to begin to demolish impunity, to create a new culture of deterrence, and at the same time focus on long-term care and support for survivors.”

Perpetrators often go unpunished and are able to rebuild their lives, but their victims have difficulty moving forward, according to Zainab Bangura, the U.N. point-person on sexual violence in conflict.

“In their day-to-day lives, survivors of sexual violence are forced to face the men who raped them; in banks, in supermarkets and at the schools of their children," Bangura said, "children whose inheritance is the stigma of sexual violence, many of whom are children born of rape.”

She said the international community must raise the cost and consequences for the perpetrators of these crimes.
Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, speaks before a U.N. Security Council meeting on sexual violence in conflict, June 24, 2013, at UN headquarters in New York.Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, speaks before a U.N. Security Council meeting on sexual violence in conflict, June 24, 2013, at UN headquarters in New York.
x
Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, speaks before a U.N. Security Council meeting on sexual violence in conflict, June 24, 2013, at UN headquarters in New York.
Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, speaks before a U.N. Security Council meeting on sexual violence in conflict, June 24, 2013, at UN headquarters in New York.
Also addressing the council meeting was American actress and humanitarian activist Angelina Jolie, who is a U.N. Special Envoy for Refugees.

She appealed to the Security Council to be united in stopping such atrocities.

“Rape as a weapon of war is an assault on security," Jolie said. "And a world in which these crimes happen is one in which there is not, and never will be, peace.”

She noted that all countries are affected by some form of sexual violence, whether it is domestic abuse or female genital mutilation, and therefore all countries have a responsibility to act to prevent it.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs