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UN condemns sexual violence in war-zones

October 01, 2009 11:59 IST

The United Nations Security Council presided over by United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday unanimously adopted a resolution condemning sexual violence against women in war zones.

Calling for the international community to recognise that sexual violence against women was "not cultural but criminal", Clinton sought an end to sexual assault.

"Even though women and children are rarely responsible for initiating armed conflict, they are often wars most vulnerable and violated victims," Clinton said.

"The resolution we passed today is a step forward in our global efforts to end violence perpetrated against women and children in conflict zones," she added.

It calls for the appointment of a special UN envoy to work towards ending sexual violence, the deployment of experts to work with governments to strengthen the rule of law and enhance accountability.

This resolution builds on two prior Security Council resolutions that call for the respecting women rights in conflict zones, and to involve more women in peace building efforts.

"Despite these actions by the Security Council, violence against women and girls has not diminished. In fact in some cases it has escalated," said Clinton, noting that rape as a tactic of war has been widespread in several nations including Sudan, Congo, Bosnia, Burma and Sri Lanka.

The secretary of state revealed that during her visit to Goma in the Eastern Republic of Congo she learned that over 1,100 rapes are reported every month.

"In too many countries and in too many cases the perpetrators of this violence are not punished and so this impunity encourages further attacks," she said.

Clinton asked the Security Council to take specific and concrete actions to shield women against sexual violence.

"The SC should take additional steps, protecting women and children should be a critical priority for all troops that wear the blue helmets," she said, suggesting that this should be included in the mandate of all peacekeeping missions.

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