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Under Clinton’s Watch, UN Calls for End of Rape as Weapon of War

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Under Clinton’s Watch, UN Calls for End of Rape as Weapon of War

Posted by Donna Harati on September 30, 2009

Under Clinton’s Watch, UN Calls for End of Rape as Weapon of War

In a special session chaired by Secretary of State Clinton today, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution to take steps to end sexual violence and impunity in conflict zones.

Resolution 1888 follows from two previous Security Council resolutions that focused on women, peace, and security. Today’s resolution calls for the appointment of a Special Representative and a team of experts to oversee efforts to end conflict-related sexual violence. The resolution also calls for advisors focused on protection of women to be identified in peacekeeping operations when appropriate. Further, parties to a conflict must also “ensure that all reports of sexual violence committed by civilians or by military personnel are thoroughly investigated and the alleged perpetrators brought to justice.”

Secretary Clinton generated ample attention on the use of rape as a weapon of war during her trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo in August, where she spent time talking with victims of sexual violence in the war-torn eastern region. Secretary Clinton has been instrumental in rallying the international community to take action on the issue, and has said that it will be a priority of the United States. “When violence is part of the cultural fabric of too many societies, when it is an assumption of the way things are supposed to be, then it is absolutely a cause for our action collectively,” Secretary Clinton has said.

President Obama immediately expressed support for the resolution:

“Today, the United States joins with the international community in sending a simple and unequivocal message: violence against women and children will not be tolerated and must be stopped…I am pleased that the Security Council, chaired by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, unanimously approved a US-sponsored resolution that will increase the protection of women and children in conflict.”

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon echoed  the president in praising the adoption of the resolution:

“With this resolution today, the Security Council is sending an unequivocal message- a call to action,” the Secretary General said. “It is an ambitious platform for intensifying this struggle.”

The fight to end sexual violence will continue tomorrow in the United States Congress as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds a hearing titled “Violence Against Women: Global Costs and Consequences.”