In an exchange with reporters outside the United Nations late last week, a high-ranking UN official described sexual violence during war as one of the greatest security risks of our time. Margot Wallstrom the UN's Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, told reporters that using rape as a tool of war is no more acceptable nor inevitable than committing mass murder.
Wallstrom stressed the importance of recognizing rape as a crime against humanity and warned against creating a hierarchy of such crimes. She noted that "Rape is not a side effect but is actually a new frontline. Widespread and systematic sexual violence is both a crime against the victim and a crime against humanity. And sexual violence is the only crime against humanity that is routinely dismissed as being random or inevitable."
The United Nations is fighting wartime sexual violence through their Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative. Its mandate includes providing strategic support for Peacekeeping Operations, raising awareness of the issue, and advocating for further political action to prevent wartime sexual violence. According to CNN, the UN is currently monitoring conflicts in the Republic of Congo, Liberia, Darfur, Chad and Cote d'Iviore because of the high incidence of sexual violence in those regions.
Media Resources: CNN 8/12/10; UN Radio 8/6/10; Stop Rape Now Website
11/25/2015 Afghan Women Launch 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence - Afghanistan marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and begun participating in the worldwide 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which is being called in Afghanistan "Peace from Home to the World." During the launch day's event, which was attended by government officials, including First Lady Rula Ghani and women's rights activists, speakers expressed their commitment to ending violence against women.
First Lady, Rula Ghani gave a speech on ending violence against women and supporting women by stating that "war often leads society towards violence and this violence is in violation of human dignity. . . .