Adoption of day for elimination of sexual violence in conflict is "call to action"

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Victims of sexual violence at a shelter in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo. UN File Photo/Marie Frechon.

The decision to establish 19 June as the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict has been welcomed by top senior UN officials.

On Friday, the UN Special Representative on the issue Zainab Hawa Bangura, and Leila Zerrougui, the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict called the decision a "global call to action".

The resolution was adopted by the UN General Assembly.

Daniel Dickinson reports.

The 19 June commemorates the adoption of a Security Council resolution in 2008, which recognized sexual violence as a tactic of war and a threat to global peace and security.

It recognized that rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity and acts of genocide.  

Special Representative Bangura said the challenge now is to convert that political will into concrete actions and protection on the ground.

"This annual commemoration will serve as a call to action. Unfortunately, the scourge of sexual violence touches every part of the world. My most recent visit to the Middle-East was another example of the horrors I have seen in too many other places. The survivors of sexual violence and their communities must be our inspiration, our resolve and our moral compass."

She added that the day also provides the opportunity to pay homage to these thousands of survivors of sexual violence including women, girls, men and boys.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations.

Duration: 1'10"

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