Fighting Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: Global Concerns & Challenges – Briefing

Source The United Nations



Media – The Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence and Conflict, Pramila Patten, addressed the Security Council today (14 Jul), highlighting the alarming use of sexual violence as a tactic of war, torture, and terrorism. Patten stated, “Gang rape, sexual slavery, and other forms of sexual violence are being used to subjugate and displace populations.”

During her briefing to Council members, Patten emphasized the escalation of conflicts worldwide due to militarization and arms proliferation, which has created an environment of unimaginable and unrelenting cruelty.

Patten drew attention to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as the country with the highest number of reported cases of rape, with 701 verified violations of conflict-related sexual violence. She stated, “In 2022, UN humanitarian service providers documented over 38,000 cases of sexual and gender-based violence in North Kivu alone, including alarming levels of sexual exploitation of children at more than 1,000 sites in and around displacement camps.”

Reflecting on her visit to the DRC in June, Patten expressed her horror at the testimonies she heard from women and girls who had recently experienced rape or gang rape and were still undergoing treatment.

In Poland and Moldova, Patten observed firsthand the devastating impact on women, children, and elderly persons. She noted their vulnerability to unscrupulous individuals and criminal networks, who view mass displacement as an opportunity for trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Patten recounted her visit to Ukraine in March, where she met survivors and listened to their heart-wrenching accounts of brutal sexual violence reportedly perpetrated by Russian soldiers.

Referring to the Secretary-General’s annual report, Patten stressed that it clearly demonstrates the empowering effect of impunity. She added, “Unless we effectively raise the cost and consequences for committing, commanding, or condoning sexual violence, we will never be able to halt these violations.”

Outside the Council, Tariq Ahmad, the United Kingdom’s Special Representative for Preventing Sexual Violence, also addressed the issue. He stated, “When we look at conflict-affected regions worldwide, such as the DRC, Ukraine, Myanmar, Sudan, and many others, we witness the weaponization of war through conflict-related sexual violence. Survivors of conflict experience unimaginable horrors and then suffer the most abhorrent violations.”

The open debate held today, titled “Promoting Implementation of Security Council Resolutions on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (CRSV),” aimed to address the implementation gap within the legal and normative framework concerning CRSV.

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