On September 30, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led the United Nations Security Council in a resolution which condemns sexual violence in war zones. This resolution calls on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to appoint a team consisting of experts in order to address the issue, according to the Voice of America News.
My last article was about the terribly high numbers of rape in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, and the horrible price that the girls and women, who are victims, are paying.
Secretary Clinton, who holds the rotating Council presidency, spoke of the need for more support for women and girls who are victims of rape in war. Clinton said the following, according to Radio Free Europe. “The role and rights of women in today’s world is a critical, core concern of foreign policy. It is national security.” She went on to say that it has moral, human, social and economic dimensions. Clinton said, “But the more we know about conflicts, the more we realize that women—who do not start conflicts—are often the victims. But women have tremendous potential for being peacemakers and peacekeepers.”
In the 1994 Rwanda genocide, about half a million women were raped, and during the 1990s Balkan war about 60,000 were raped; this is according to the United Nations Development Fund for Women. And in the DRC the number of raped women is in the hundreds of thousands.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recognized that perpetrators of sexual violence are rarely held accountable for their crimes, when he spoke before the Council’s session. He said that some progress has been made when it comes to responding to sexual violence in war, but that there continues to be unabated deliberate targeting of civilians. He said that sexual violence in armed conflict has no place in the world.
A UN resolution condemning sexual violence in war zones is a good step in the right direction, without a doubt. The difficult part of course is how to actually put an end to this violence. Rape has always been a weapon of war. It is a way to terrorize the population, and it is carried out on the most vulnerable – girls and women.