New UN resolution helps end impunity of sexual violence in conflict: special envoy

10:55, December 18, 2010      

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The newly-adopted Security Council resolution on listing and sanctioning the perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict will help ensure the crime no longer goes unpunished, UN special envoy Margot Wallstrom said in an interview with Xinhua.

"This is a very important resolution and we are happy that there is a unanimous backing of this resolution," said Wallstrom, the special representative of the secretary-general on sexual violence in conflict.

The United Nations stepped up its battle against sexual violence in conflicts Thursday with the Security Council calling for perpetrators to be publicly listed and punished with sanctions.

Voicing deep concern at the slow progress in combating the scourge and the limited number of perpetrators brought to justice, the Security Council resolution stresses the need to end impunity and vowed to take "appropriate steps to address widespread or systematic sexual violence in situation of armed conflict" in accordance with procedures of relevant sanctions committees.

It also asks UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to include detailed lists of those credibly suspected of committing or being responsible for rape and other forms of sexual violence in his regular reports to the Council on the issue.

"The resolution will give us access to the tools necessary to actually do naming and shaming of perpetrators, to have access to sanctions and the whole toolbox that Security Council has at its disposal," Wallstrom told Xinhua.

"It sends a message to perpetrators around the world that this has to come to an end. This is why this has to serve as giving us the tools and the strength to now change the situation and stop the scourge on the ground," she said.

The resolution had been sponsored by 60 countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where more than 300 civilians were raped between July 30 and August 2 in the eastern Walikale region by members of rebel armed groups, and some other countries where the worst cases of recent abuse have been perpetrated.

Wallstrom said the establishment of the comprehensive monitoring and accountability architecture will shatter the vicious cycle of impunity for wartime sexual violence.

"We already know that the system helps because these leaders of armed groups and negative forces as they are called are sensitive to being named and shamed and listed and portrayed as rapists and knowing that there will be consequences for them. This should not be under-estimated and thus will have to use to the full," said Wallstrom.

In a statement issued after the adoption of the resolution, Wallstrom said the resolution will help ensure that mass rape is never again met with mass impunity.

"Instead of serving as a cheap, silent and effective tactic of war, sexual violence will be a liability for armed groups. It will expose their superiors to increased international scrutiny, seal off the corridors," Wallstrom said.

"The resolution may not bring justice to every victim throughout the history of war, but it will help to ensure that conflict-related sexual violence no longer goes unreported, unaddressed or unpunished."

Source: Xinhua
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