Press Release

UNFPA Welcomes Call by UN Security Council for Immediate Halt to Sexual Violence in Conflict Settings

24 June 2008
Author: UNFPA

UNITED NATIONS, New York – UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, welcomed last week’s call by the United Nations Security Council for an immediate halt of all acts of sexual violence against women in conflict situations. The Fund described it as a historical achievement that would go a long way in protecting the dignity of women and girls who are often subjected to violence as a tactic of war.

“We are very encouraged by this historical resolution that promises to protect women in crisis,” said UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid. “While sexual violence against women in conflict has often been ignored and considered a marginal concern, it, in fact, cuts to the very core of the existence of the women who are victims of this crime.”

Security Council resolution 1820, adopted unanimously last Thursday after a day-long debate by the 15-member Council, demands that all parties should stop sexual violence against civilians and begin taking concrete action to prevent and respond to such violence through the training of troops and the upholding of military discipline procedures.

“This resolution is a monumental step in recognizing sexual violence as a threat to peace," said Ms. Obaid. "It is also a strong reminder to the international community to recognize the need to address sexual violence in a quick and efficient manner, and to realize that as long as women and girls are threatened by such violence, there can be no real chance for peace and security."

The new resolution reaffirmed Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000), the first ever to specifically address the impact of war on women and to highlight women's contributions to conflict resolution and sustainable peace. The new resolution will also provide a platform for advocacy for increased long-term resources to address this issue.

UNFPA is the lead United Nations agency on coordinating humanitarian response to sexual violence in conflict settings.

***

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.

Contact information:

Omar Gharzeddine
Tel.: +1 (212) 297-5028
Email: gharzeddine@unfpa.org

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