"Crucial connection" between conflict-related violence and security reform

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Zainab Hawa Bangura, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, met with women’s groups and victims of sexual violence in Bria, Central African Republic, during a field visit. UN File Photo/Cristina Silveiro

Preventing sexual violence crimes and ensuring accountability should be considered as a fundamental indicator of success of security sector reform programmes.

That's according to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, who was briefing the Security Council on Thursday.

Member States of the world body were meeting to discuss reforming nations' security sectors, to make institutions more professional and accountable.

Stephanie Coutrix reports.

The global community has recognized the critical nexus between sexual violence crimes and dysfunctional security sector reform processes, Zainab Hawa Bangura told the 15-member council.

The Secretary-General's special representative on sexual violence in conflict said a number of UN resolutions already address what she called the "crucial connection" between security sector reform and conflict-related violence.

But she stressed that national ownership and leadership are essential starting points for authorities to ensure accountability within their security forces.

Ms Bangura highlighted some recent commitments obtained from leaders in a number of priority countries.

"In the past few years we have signed political level agreements in the form of Joint Communiqués with the Governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Somalia and South Sudan. These agreements form the basis for on-going engagement at strategic and operational levels, for the practical implementation of the commitments made.”

The commitments include ensuring that perpetrators of sexual violence crimes are excluded from amnesty provisions, and that all those who are responsible for acts of sexual violence are excluded from security institutions.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 1’22″

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