UN News Centre – 2014-06-12 00:46:05
(June 10, 2014) — UN Special Envoy Angelina Jolie spoke at the opening of the Summit Fringe at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict on Tuesday 10 June.
You can read more about the Global Summit here: www.gov.uk/endsexualviolenceinconflict2014
At Global Summit, UN Envoy Angelina Jolie
Calls for End to Sexual Violence in Conflict
UN News Centre
(June 10, 2014) — Hollywood actress, activist and United Nations Special Envoy Angelina Jolie today called for concerted action to end once and for all the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war.
“It is a myth that rape is an inevitable part of conflict,” Ms. Jolie stated in her address to the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, which opened in London and brings together over 900 experts, non-governmental organizations, survivors, faith leaders and international organizations from around the globe.
The three-day summit, co-chaired by Ms. Jolie and Foreign Secretary William Hague of the United Kingdom, aims to create momentum against sexual violence in conflict and practical action that impacts those on the ground.
“There is nothing inevitable about it,” said Ms. Jolie, who is the Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). “It is a weapon of war, aimed at civilians. It has nothing to do with sex, and everything to do with power. It is done to torture and humiliate innocent people, often very young children.”
She noted that the subject itself has been taboo for far too long. “Warzone rape is a crime that thrives on silence and denial. The stigma harms survivors, it causes feelings of shame and worthlessness. It feeds ignorance, such as the notion that rape has anything to do with normal sexual impulses.
“But most of all, it allows rapists to get away with it,” she stated, stressing the need to shatter that culture of impunity and make justice the norm, not the exception, for these crimes.
“We need political will, replicated across the world, and we need to treat this subject as a priority. We need to see real commitment to go after the worst perpetrators, to fund proper protection for vulnerable people, and to step in and help the worst-affected countries. We need all armies, peacekeeping troops and police forces to have prevention of sexual violence in conflict as part of their training.”
The Summit, she added, must be a turning point in addressing sexual violence in conflict.
“We must send a message around the world that there is no disgrace in being a survivor of sexual violence, that the shame is with the aggressor,” she stated. “We must work together in new and unprecedented ways — across borders, religions, bringing governments and people together, and tackling the problem in every possible.
“By doing these things, we can end the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war once and for all. We can do it.”
The Global Summit, which runs through 13 June and is being co-chaired by Ms. Jolie and British Foreign Secretary William Hague, will be addressed tomorrow by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, and Zainab Hawa Bangura, UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.
UN Urges Greater Action to Combat
Sexual Violence in 21 Conflict Countries
UN News Centre
(April 24, 2014) — Despite unprecedented political momentum to fight rape in war zones, sexual violence remains a global crime affecting women, men and children in more than 20 countries, a senior United Nations official announced today urging greater action at the regional and national levels.
“It doesnâ€™t matter whether she comes from Bosnia, she comes from Colombia or Syria or Central Africa, the pain that a woman feels who has been raped is the same,” Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Bangura told journalists in New York at the launch of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moonâ€™s annual report on the issue.
Documenting information based on cases recorded by the UN system in 21 countries of concern, the report identifies 34 armed groups, militia and Government security forces, responsible for using rape as a tool in conflict zones.
Among its findings, the report also links sexual violence with local economies. It notes that rape is used to gain control of territories with natural resources, including minerals, which are used by groups to further fuel conflict, as well as human trafficking and illegal drug trade.
Rape has also been documented as a trigger for mass flight, which further makes women, and especially youth, vulnerable to abuses. Some parents trying to protect daughters push them to early and forced marriages, which has led to cases of human trafficking and sexual slavery, Ms. Bangura noted.
While impunity for sexual violence remains prevalent, it is particularly acute in these situations. Under-reporting of sexual assaults is a function of limited capacity to safely monitor and report, as well as the result of fear of stigmatization and reprisals by the survivors.
Among the reportâ€™s recommendations, Mr. Ban also urges Governments “to work to develop a comprehensive protection and service response for survivors” of sexual violence, including reproductive health services, HIV awareness and response services, and assistance in psychosocial, legal and livelihood aid.
“The UN calls on the countries in question, and the international community, to ensure that men, women and children who are victims of sexual violence, and children born of rape get the assistance they need,” Ms. Bangura underlined echoing the report.
The report also urges building the capacity of civil society groups to better protect against such crimes at the community level. At the national level, the report recommends engage with state and non-state parties to obtain commitments to prevent and respond to conflict-related sexual violence.
Earlier this month, Ms. Bangura and other senior UN officials, including human rights chief Navi Pillay, called on the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to step up the fight against impunity for rape and sexual violence, which remain widespread and largely unpunished.
Referring to a report from the UN Joint Human Rights Office in the DRC (UNJHRO), she noted documented cases of 3,600 people attacked, nearly half of them in the strife-torn eastern province of North Kivu, and ranging in age from two years old to 80.
This yearâ€™s report also includes a list of groups credibly suspected of committing or being responsible for patterns of rape and other forms of sexual violence in situations of armed conflict on the agenda of the Security Council. These include parties in the Central African Republic, CÃ´te dâ€™Ivoire, DRC, Mali, South Sudan and Syria, among others.
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