UN chief calls on Security Council to combat sexual violence

09:29, December 17, 2010      

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Thursday called on the UN Security Council to make combating sexual violence a "top priority."

The statement came as Ban addressed an open debate of the 15- member Council on women, peace and security.

"Sexual violence shatters lives, devastates countries and destroys hope. Victims who might have contributed to development are shunned. Girls who might have grown into great leaders cannot even attend school," said Ban.

Drawing the Council's attention to the stigma associated with sexual violence, Ban called on the international community to combat its use as tactic of war.

"The victims may survive these attacks only to be subjected to another form of abuse. Sexual violence is one of the only crimes where the victims -- and not the perpetrators -- are left with stigma," he said.

"Silencing the victims only benefits the perpetrators. It feeds impunity, which erodes faith in the justice system," Ban added.

Meanwhile, the Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1960 that enables the secretary-general to list parties who commit sexual violence in his reports on the matter.

Ban lauded the Council's action as a "vital building-block for holding perpetrators accountable" and for sending "a resounding message to those who would violate both women's bodies and the law that impunity will not be tolerated."

"Today's resolution gives us sharper tools and sharper teeth in the fight against sexual violence," he said.

Source: Xinhua
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