Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Margot Wallström Urges End to Sexual Violence Against Women at African Union Summit
Afrique en ligne reports that Ban Ki-moon addressed the international community this week at the African Union Summit stating "The international community in general and men in particular must understand that sexual violence against women is a crime and that everybody has the responsibility to fight it wherever it takes place" and "'We are now addressing this problem globally and leaders of all countries where sexual violence is prevalent should have this issue clearly in their mind."
The Secretary General specifically called journalists to brief them on the steps being taken by the Security Council to combat sexual violence by involving the international community to stop all perpetrators of this crime against women and children, saying the Council resolution on the matter had an in-built accountability system. As from December, 2010, the UN is pursuing a four-track approach in combating sexual violence against women that entails monitoring and reporting incidents more effectively; listing, naming and shaming perpetrators; travel ban and assets freeze; and ending impunity to identified perpetrators of the crime, said Margot Wallström, UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. (Afrique en ligne)
'Sexual violence against women is a global problem but on this continent [Africa], this is a phenomenon we have to stop immediately in conflict areas. This is a weapon of choice because it is cheap, silent and very effective,' Wallström said, noting that African leaders also agreed that it was criminal. According to Margot Wallström, the UN has set an agenda on which it would collaborate with governments and non-governmental organisations to provide training to the military, the police and civilians to end sexual violence and empower women.(Afrique en ligne)
53 New Rape Cases Reported by the UN in the Democratic Republic of Congo
AFP reports that the UN has documented another 53 cases of rape in eastern Congo, brining its total rape count to 120 since the begining of 2011. Between January 19 to 23, "53 people were raped on the market road to Milimba and Kitumba" two villages in Sud-Kivu province, the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement.
"Humanitarian workers who organized evaluation missions along this axis," have confirmed the facts, OCHA said, adding men and children figured among the victims.
The UN earlier said that Congolese forces had raped more than 67 women in Sud-Kivu and neighbouring Nord-Kivu province in early January. The Congolese government has expressed "reservations" about the UN's first set of numbers, saying only three victims have been formally identified and denouncing an alleged "smear campaign" against its armed forces. (AfP)