UN deputy chief sees sexual violence in conflict "legitimate threat" to peace
May 16,2017   By:Xinhua
UNITED NATIONS, May 16, 2017 -- A senior UN official on Monday said that sexual violence in conflict turns out to be a "legitimate threat" to peace and security in the world, and called for more international efforts to tackle the root causes of such violations.
Deputy UN Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told an open meeting of the UN Security Council that although global understanding of sexual violence in conflict is shifting, there remains the need to tackle the root causes of such violations that lie in fundamental inequality and discrimination against women.
"Sexual violence in conflict is no longer seen as 'merely a women's issue' or as a 'lesser evil' in a false hierarchy of human rights violations," she said during an open council debate on the subject, in which some 70 speakers took the floor at UN Headquarters in New York.
"It is rightly viewed as legitimate threat to security and durable peace that requires an operational security and justice response, in addition to ensuring multi-dimensional services for survivors of such crimes," Mohammed said.
A robust legislative framework is now in place, including a series of precise Security Council resolutions with new tools to drive change and progress, she noted.
Sexual violence is increasingly used as a tactic of terrorism, employed by extremist groups in places like Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria and Mali to advance their military, economic and ideological ends.
It is therefore essential that considerations of the protection and empowerment of women and girls feature in the UN's architecture for countering terrorism and violent extremism, she stressed.
The mass migration crisis and massive displacement of populations due to protracted conflicts worldwide has also heightened the risk of sexual violence.
Mental health issues such as depression, flashbacks, challenges in reestablishing intimate relationships, and fear are some of the long-term psychological consequences victims experience. Worst still, children born of rape experience discrimination, exclusion and stigma.
"All our words, and laws, and resolutions, will mean absolutely nothing if violations go unpunished in practice, and if we fail in our sacred duty of care to survivors," the deputy UN chief said.
The council debate, with a focus on sexual violence in conflict as a tactic of war and terrorism, heard briefings from Adama Dieng, the UN under-secretary-general who is also acting special representative of the UN secretary-general on sexual violence in conflict and special adviser on the prevention of genocide, and Mina Jaf, the founder and executive director of Women's Refugee Route.
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