Speak up for victims of sexual violence in conflict

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with Nadia Murad Basee Taha at the recent World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul. Nadia is a Yazidi human rights activist from Iraq who survived abduction and torture by the terrorist group ISIL, or Daesh. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.

The shame felt by victims of rape and other sexual abuse during wartime should be redirected towards those who perpetrate these crimes.

That's the message from the UN Secretary-General for the first International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, observed this Sunday, 19 June.

Dianne Penn reports.

The UN chief called for people to continue speaking up for those whose bodies have been considered the spoils of war.

Ban Ki-moon pointed out that there has been progress in addressing these crimes.

He said sexual violence in conflict is now widely recognized as a deliberate strategy to control and intimidate communities and to force people from their homes.

"It is rightly seen as a threat to international peace and security, a serious violation of international humanitarian and human rights law, and a major impediment to post-conflict reconciliation and economic development," he added.

But Mr Ban pointed out that serious challenges persist.

Terrorist groups such as Boko Haram and Daesh are using sexual violence to attract and retain fighters, and to generate revenue, he stated.

The UN's gender entity is also commemorating the International Day.

UN Women observed that this year has seen "historic" convictions for sexual violence committed during conflicts in Chad, Guatemala and the Central African Republic.

The agency said these cases are a "heartening" sign that steps are being taken towards attaining accountability for these acts.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’18″



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