UN Report Sheds Light on Rape as Weapon of War
October 20, 2010
A UN Population Fund (UNFPA) report released today says sexual violence is being used increasingly as a weapon of war -- and women are paying the price. Conflict in today's world is less about soldiers fighting on the battlefield and more about breaking the will of civilians, concludes the 116-page report, an annual snapshot of the state of the world's population.
"In many of today's conflicts women are disempowered by rape or the threat of it, and by the HIV infection, trauma, and disabilities that often result from it," said UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid. "Girls are disempowered when they cannot go to school because of the threat of violence, when they are abducted or trafficked, or when their families disintegrate or must flee."
"The immediate toll it takes extends far beyond its direct victims, insidiously tearing apart families and shattering societies for generations to come," the report says.
The study was released ahead of Oct. 30, the 10th anniversary of UN Security Council resolution 1325, which condemned violence against women and girls in armed conflict and called for women to have a larger role in policing and rebuilding countries. Females also are vulnerable when law and order collapse after natural disasters, UNFPA said.
International outrage over evidence of mass rapes in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is growing. More than 15,000 rapes were committed there by rebel militia and government troops last year, said Roger Meece, head of the UN force in DRC.
The report stresses the need for swift judicial redress. "For war-affected women, justice delayed is more than justice denied -- it is terror continued," said Margot Wallstrom, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's special representative on sexual violence in conflict.
Agence France Presse
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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