Security Council debates "Women and peace and security"

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Security Council Chamber. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

A senior UN official has spoken of her shock of meeting the victims of sexual violence as young as six months old.

The comments by Zainab Hawa Bangura, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict came ahead of the Security Council's open debate on "Women and peace and security".

In a resolution it adopted in 2000 the Council reaffirmed the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts as well as in peace negotiations and peace building.

It also called on parties to conflicts to take special measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, particularly rape and other forms of sexual abuse in situations of armed conflicts.

Special Envoy, Zainab Hawa Bangura says sexual violence in conflict inflicts pain on women.

"Last year I travelled to a number of conflict and post-conflict and countries including Bosnia, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia and I met with survivors and their families. The pain they felt was tangible and their stories were heart breaking. I saw victims as young as six months old and had stories of elderly victims in their eighties"(25")

A report of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on conflict-related sexual violence launched on Thursday, says that despite some notable progress in some countries, the perpetrators of crimes of sexual violence in conflicts don't face justice.

It calls for measures to ensure that perpetrators are not allowed to escape justice by inadequate peace agreements and security sector reforms that don't take sexual violence into account.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1'42"

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