It is critical to "mentally disarm" former combatants: UN official

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Zainab Bangura the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict

It is not enough to physically disarm former combatants and reintegrate them into security forces, according to the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Bangura.

Ms. Bangura is just back from the Central African Republic, the first country she has visited since she was appointed as special envoy in June.

She tells the UN News Centre that countries emerging from conflict face the challenge of mainstreaming the issue of sexual violence in their disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants.

"You don't only physically disarm the combatants. You also have to mentally disarm them because experience shows that after war there usually is an increase in rape at the community level, the reason being that when you are disarming the ex-combatants you just disarm them with their arms and when you reintegrate them either into community or into the security forces they take back that culture of abuse against women. So you have a problem within the military how to control them."

Ms. Bangura also stressed the need for the empowerment of women who have been victims of sexual violence.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’09″

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