UN / WALLSTROM

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31-Aug-2010 00:02:22
Commenting on the mass rape that took place earlier this month in Democratic Republic of Congo, UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Margot Wallstrom says that the rapes were systematic which means they were planned and "therefore preventable." UNTV/ FILE

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STORY: UN / WALLSTROM
TRT: 2.22
SOURCE: UNTV
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH/ NATS

DATELINE: 31 AUGUST 2010, NEW YORK CITY/ FILE

SHOTLIST:

FILE – RECENT, NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, exterior UN building

31 AUGUST 2010, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, dais
3. Wide shot, audience
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Margot Wallström, Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict: “The recent atrocities Walikale, North Kivu in the DRC affirm that sexual violence should never again be dismissed as random, cultural or inevitable. In this case, like so many others, systematic rape was planned, and therefore preventable.”
5. Med shot, reporter
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Margot Wallström, Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict: “We must hold the perpetrators to account.The illegal armed groups that continue to rape as a weapon of war must be brought to justice, and secondly we must improve the United Nations’ response. On the first point I would remind the political and military leaders of the armed groups – the FDLR and the Mai-Mai – that acts of widespread and systematic sexual violence can constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
7. Med shot, reporters
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Margot Wallström, Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict:
9. “In remote areas like Walikale uniformed peacekeepers may be the first responders and first to interact with survivors or communities at risk, and they need to be prepared for this as much as they are for conventional military interventions. Early warning systems and initiatives need to be institutionalized.”
10. Med shot, reporter
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Margot Wallström, Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict:
12. “The expectations are very high on what the UN should have been doing or what we should be doing in the DRC. At the same time the government would like to see a drawdown of the UN presence, so we are expected to do more and at the same time with less resources or less peacekeepers. This is an area where 80 peacekeepers are present in over 300 square kilometres. So, of course they cannot be everywhere.”
13. Wide shot, audience
14. Wide shot, dais

STORYLINE:

The recent savage mass rapes of civilians by armed groups in the volatile Far East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) underscores the need for an end to impunity for perpetrators of such crimes, a senior United Nations official said today (31 August).

At least 154 civilians were raped in 13 villages along a 21-kilometre stretch of road in North Kivu province’s Banamukira territory between 30 July and 2 August, with the attackers blocking the road and preventing the villagers from reaching outside communications. Many homes were also looted.

Margot Wallström, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict, told reporters these recent events “affirm that sexual violence should never again be dismissed as random, cultural or inevitable” pointing out that in this case “systematic rape was planned, and therefore preventable.”

Wallström stressed that perpetrators must be held accountable and noted that the issue of sexual violence is being elevated on the agendas of both the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Security Council.

She reminded the political and military leaders of the armed groups responsible for the rapes that “acts of widespread and systematic sexual violence can constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Also key is improving the UN’s response to such incidents, Wallström emphasized.

The Special Representative said that in remote areas, uniformed peacekeepers must be ready to act as first responders and they “need to be prepared for this as much as they are for conventional military interventions”. She added that “early warning systems and initiatives need to be institutionalized.”

However, she voiced concerns that as expectations mount for blue helmets in the DRC; the Government is requesting that the world body draws down its presence in the vast African nation.

She said that “we are expected to do more and at the same time with less resources or less peacekeepers,” pointing out that at the time of the recent North Kivu attacks, there were 80 blue helmets stationed in an area over 300 square kilometres.

Wallström also said a senior member of her staff is currently in the ground with a team led by Assistant Secretary-General Atul Khare from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), who was dispatched to the area last week by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

According to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), more than 9,000 cases of rape were reported last year in North and South Kivu provinces alone, while many cases are believed to go unreported.

The official said a two-pronged approach is being pursued to tackle the problem of sexual violence in eastern DRC.
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