AFJN applauds Condoleezza Rice and the leaders of the United Nations Security Council for their new resolution forcefully condemning sexual violence against women. The Resolution, approved unanimously by the UN Security Council on Thursday, June 20, affirms the role of rape and other acts of sexual violence “as a tactic of war to humiliate, dominate, instill fear in, disperse and/or forcibly relocate civilian members of a community or ethnic group” and calls for a stronger commitment by world leaders to act against the horrific practice.
Condoleezza Rice, who introduced the resolution to the Security Council in a special meeting called by the U.S. to focus on the issue, told the Council, “We affirm that sexual violence profoundly affects not only the health and safety of women, but the economic and social stability of their nations.” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon agreed that, “Violence against women has reached unspeakable and pandemic proportions in some societies attempting to recover from conflict.” AFJN has been following the issue in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the cases of rape are particularly severe.
This resolution urges the use of sanctions against those who violate the resolution and outlines U.N. procedures to monitor sexual violence in armed conflicts, including the creation of a U.N. envoy tasked entirely with advocacy for ending violence against women. Ban has also declared his commitment to more forceful enforcement of zero-tolerance within U.N. peacekeeping forces and to including provisions on sexual violence in future Security Council resolutions and operations.
AFJN applauds the Security Council for their efforts to “break the silence” surrounding such terrible practices, which are too often hidden below the surface or treated as an unfortunate side effect of warfare, rather than a frequent and fundamental component. We continue to be concerned about the lives of women in several crisis areas in Africa, including the DRC and Sudan, where the use of rape as a weapon of war and the devastating impact has been reported too many times, and hope the commitments of the U.N. will lead to genuine leadership on the issue.