Last Updated: 06/26/2008
Security Council Demands Action to End Sexual Violence as a Tactic in War
UN News Service
Key words: resolution, security council, sexual violence, UN, war
The Security Council today demanded that all sides to armed conflicts around
the world stop using violence against women as a tactic of war and take much
tougher steps to protect women and girls from such attacks.
In a resolution adopted unanimously after a day-long debate on women, peace and
security, Council members said women and girls are consistently targeted during
conflicts “as a tactic of war to humiliate, dominate, instill fear in, disperse
and/or forcibly relocate civilian members of a community or ethnic group.”
for further details on Resolution 1820 (2008) which noted that “rape and other
forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or
a constitutive act with respect to genocide”.)
The effect is to also prolong or deepen conflicts and to exacerbate already
dire security and humanitarian conditions, particularly when the perpetrators
of violent crimes against women go unpunished for their actions.
The resolution demands that all parties immediate stop sexual violence against
civilians and begin taking measures, from the training of troops and upholding
of military discipline procedures, to protect women and girls.
Sexual violence crimes should be excluded from amnesties reached at the end of
conflicts, the 15-member Council added, calling on States to also strengthen
their judicial and health-care systems to provide better assistance to victims
The resolution was adopted after dozens of speakers told the Council about the
appalling effects of sexual violence during armed conflicts, with
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon saying the problem had reached “unspeakable and
pandemic proportions” in some countries.
Mr. Ban announced he will soon appoint a UN envoy tasked entirely with
advocating for an end to violence against women.
Opening today’s meeting, United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said
the truest test of the will of the international community was the protection
it gave to the most vulnerable.
“When women and girls are raped, we cannot be silent… we must be their
advocates,” Ms. Rice said.
South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana C. Dlamini Zuma called for “the
silence” around sexual violence to be broken. Many women were afraid to speak
out about their ordeal, the minister said, because they were so traumatized and
stigmatized by the crimes they endured.
Speaking on behalf of the European Union, Slovenia’s Sanja Štiglic stressed the
need for a gender-sensitive approach to post-conflict countries, from awareness
training for judges and court staff to stepped-up efforts to ensure that
women’s voices are heard in decision-making processes.
Philomène Omatuku Atshakawo, Minister of Gender, Family and Children in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where sexual violence has reached
epidemic levels in the east of the country, said such violence was leading to
the feminization of poverty.
Female victims were no longer able to work the land or work at all, she said,
adding that as a result the Government was trying to introduce a range of
measures – economic, security and psychosocial among them – to ameliorate the
China’s Liu Zhenmin backed the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy
against sexual exploitation of women and girls by UN peacekeepers and urged
troop-contributing countries to boost their training and monitoring of their
For additional news items on Resolution 1820 (2008) visit: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=27093&Cr=sexual%20...