Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led the United Nations Security Council yesterday in adopting a resolution condemning sexual violence in war zones. The US-drafted resolution, passed unanimously by the Council, calls on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to appoint a team of experts to address the issue, reports Voice of America News.
Secretary Clinton, who currently holds the rotating Council presidency, emphasized the need for more support of women trapped in conflict. “The role and rights of women in today’s world is a critical, core concern of foreign policy. It is national security. Of course it has a moral, and human, and social, and economic dimension. 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,” Clinton said, according to Radio Free Europe.
The United Nations Development Fund for Women reports that about half a million women were raped during the 1994 Rwanda genocide, 60,000 were raped during the 1990s Balkan wars and hundreds of thousands have been victimized in the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to a State Department press release.
Speaking before the Council’s session, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon acknowledged that perpetrators of sexual assault are rarely held responsible for their crimes. “Despite some progress in responding to sexual violence in armed conflict the deliberate targeting of civilians continues unabated including on a widespread systemic basis. Sexual violence in armed conflict or indeed at any time should have no place and find no haven in the world,” he said, reports Radio Free Europe.