Fight against sexual violence not "mission impossible"

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Zeinab Hawa Bangura. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

The fight to eradicate sexual violence in conflict situations is not a "mission impossible", thanks to some tangible and positive changes on the ground.

That's according to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Zeinab Hawa Bangura was speaking to the Security Council on Wednesday, presenting the latest report on the incidence of sexual violence throughout the world.

Cathrine Hasselberg reports.

Security Council members heard on Wednesday about the progress being made to prevent sexual violence, such as greater resources dedicated to programmes on the ground.

Zeinab Bangura said the world is finally beginning to see some accountability for these crimes, while historically they have been what she described as "cost-free" for the perpetrators.

However, despite some positive changes she reported "shocking" incidents of sexual violence.

These include sexual violence to induce the displacement of people and dispose them of their land, or as a way of exerting social control.

"The history of warzone rape has been a history of denial. It is time to bring these crimes, and those who commit them, into the spotlight of international scrutiny and to send a clear message that the world will not tolerate the use of sexual violence as a tactic of war and terror."

Ms Bangura said she is departing on Thursday on her first visit to the Middle East.

The visit, she explained, is undertaken against the backdrop of a "catastrophic" new trend of the use of sexual violence as a "tactic of terror" by extremist groups, not only in Iraq and Syria but also in Somalia, Nigeria and Mali.

Cathrine Hasselberg, United Nations.

Duration: 1’16″

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