On Tuesday, the United Nations amended resolution aimed at ending sexual violence in war passed 13-0, with Russia and China abstaining. This was after the United States threatened to use their veto power to demand that all references to sexual and reproductive health be cut out. The Trump administration called for this change because they claim the resolution “implies support for abortion.”
The Security Council expressed their concern over slow progress in addressing sexual violence through their new resolution, which denounces the use of rape as a weapon of war. The original form has garnered the support of activists around the world. Because of the U.S.’s restrictive demands, activists have displayed outrage.
French U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre told the 15 members of the council: “It is intolerable and incomprehensible that the Security Council is incapable of acknowledging that women and girls who suffered from sexual violence in conflict – and who obviously didn’t choose to become pregnant – should have the right to terminate their pregnancy.”
Jessica Neuwirth of the Sisterhood Is Global Institute addressed the resolution in a statement: “It is unthinkable and bizarre to see the US lining up with Russia and China to block efforts to strengthen the UN’s ability to effectively address rape in conflict and to provide sexual violence survivors with sexual and reproductive health services.”
Media Resources: Reuters 4/23/19; BBC 4/23/19; CNN 4/23/19