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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid