UN: UN deputy chief urges more efforts to prevent sexual violence in conflict

New York, US (PANA) -  UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson on Wednesday in New York stressed the importance of prevention and early response efforts towards sexual violence, as well as the need to shift shame and stigma from victims to perpetrators.

Speaking at an event commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, Mr. Eliasson stated: "In conflicts around the world, women and girls, men and boys, are subjected to horrendous acts of sexual violence. These acts, rape, sexual slavery, forced marriage, and sexual torture, constitute abhorrent violations of human rights and human dignity."

"A critical aspect of prevention is to hold the perpetrators accountable for their acts. Accountability is a powerful deterrent, as well as a moral duty to those afflicted. No one should think that that they can come out of this without accountability," the deputy UN chief said.

He said sexual violence is unique in often stigmatizing the victim, rather than the perpetrator of the crime, stressing the need to shift the shame and stigma from the victims to those who command, those who commit, or those who condone these crimes.

"Social and economic reintegration support is imperative, and children born of rape need particular attention. Men and boys who have suffered sexual violence and live with life-long traumas need support as well.

"And our preventive action must pay attention to the vulnerability of refugees and displaced people, who may be trafficked for sexual exploitation," he said.

Mr. Eliasson recalled that on 19 June, 2008, the international community decided to take action to elevate conflict-related sexual violence to the international peace and security agenda, saying: "This was done through the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1820."

"We must meet the new challenges on the horizon and keep the searchlight of international scrutiny on these crimes, which have been ignored for far too long," the deputy UN chief added.

PANA in New York reports that the first International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict was marked on Sunday, 19 June, and the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had in a message said that, the era of impunity for sexual violence as a tool of war is over.

The UN chief cited a host of landmark recent judgments by a national court in Guatemala, the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, Netherlands and the Extraordinary African Chambers in Dakar, Senegal against former political and military leaders, as well as a rebel leader to buttress the achievements in ending impunity for sexual violence.

On 19 June 2015, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 19 June of each year the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, to raise awareness among the international community in order to prevent, combat and put an end to all forms of conflict-related sexual violence, especially against women, children, the poor, ethnic and religious minorities and other vulnerable groups.

It is also aimed at assisting its victims and promoting accountability and fighting impunity of the perpetrators of those crimes.

The date was chosen to commemorate the adoption on 19 June 2008 of UN Security Council resolution 1820 (2008), in which the Council condemned sexual violence as a tactic of war and an impediment to peace building.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 22June2016

22 june 2016 14:29:16

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