New York, US (PANA) - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday called for additional steps to fight the rampant cases of sexual violence in conflicts through enhanced protection, increased sanctions against perpetrators and other targeted measures.
"Tragically, laudable progress made at the level of policy has been overshadowed by the surge of sexual violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and its continuing prevalence elsewhere,” Ban said in a report to the UN Security Council.
The council had in September 2009 adopted resolution 1888 to eliminate the scourge.
According to him, "while the security council has created historic momentum, additional measures must be put in place to deliver tangible protection outcomes."
He stressed the need to call on parties to a conflict to make specific and time-bound commitments to ceasing all acts of sexual violence, access for the UN to verify the fulfilment of such commitments and support for UN efforts to establish monitoring and reporting arrangements.
The UN chief noted that resolution 1888 calls for the development of joint Government-UN comprehensive strategies to combat sexual violence.
Ban also stated that, "under international law, sexual violence is not synonymous with rape, as it encompasses sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization and any other abuses of comparable gravity," adding that these may include indecent assault, trafficking, inappropriate medical examinations and strip searches.
"The disaggregation of sexual violence offences into the categories listed above permits a more focused approach to prevention,” he wrote.
According to him: "Sexual slavery or enforced prostitution, for example, may differ in terms of its logic from the execution of a specific policy of forced pregnancy during a campaign of ‘ethnic cleansing’ designed to achieve a military or political end, or rape concurrent with looting to terrorize the population.
"Sexual violence calls for sustained attention, action and cooperation commensurate with the scale of the challenge. Its enduring and ruinous consequences run counter to the aims of the United Nations system.
"Peace, justice and security are interdependent: there can be no peace without the peace of mind that enables women to undertake their daily tasks, no justice without a national capacity to deliver justice and no security without women’s security,'' he concluded.
-0- PANA AA/BOS 9Dec2010