Freitag, 20.05.2022 00:57 Uhr

War violence committed against women

Verantwortlicher Autor: Carlo Marino Rome, 13.04.2022, 14:23 Uhr
Presse-Ressort von: Dr. Carlo Marino Bericht 4958x gelesen

Rome [ENA] While peace talks between Russia and Ukraine have reached a dead end also sexual atrocities and violence committed against women by both sides in the conflict could be revealed. The United Nations Security Council has adopted resolutions 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1960 (2010), 2106 (2013), 2122 (2013), 2242 (2015), 2331 (2016) and 2467 (2019), in which it has condemned all acts of sexual and other forms of violence

committed against civilians, in particular women and children, in armed conflicts. The effectiveness of these resolutions, however, depends on the level of compliance by State and non-State actors. The Council has enabled significant political and operational progress by giving a mandate to the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict to support efforts to strengthen rule of law institutions and improve reparation for survivors. Every new wave of warfare brings with it new risks of conflict-related sexual violence. It’s vital to consider the extent to which Security Council resolutions based on international humanitarian law, international criminal law and international human rights law

– and the accountability mechanisms linked to them – are effective and how we can work collectively to reinforce and sustainably support the international architecture that has been established since 2009. In Security Council resolution 1820 (2008), conflict-related sexual violence was first established as a self-standing security issue over a decade ago. Despite the robust resolutions, conventions and treaties that have followed, sexual violence has occurred in many conflicts across the world, with almost total impunity. The international organizations have to work to reduce conflict-related sexual violence and deliver justice and accountability for survivors in fragile, conflict and post-conflict settings.

The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 specifies in Article 27 that "[w]omen shall be especially protected against any attack on their honor, in particular against rape, enforced prostitution, or any form of indecent assault."Further, Article 147 of the same Convention designates "wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health," "torture," and "inhuman treatment" as war crimes and as grave breaches of the Conventions. As the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has recognized, rape constitutes "willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health" and thus should be treated as a grave breach of the Convention. The ICRC also has stated that "inhuman treatment" should be interpreted in light of

Article 27 and its specific prohibition against rape. This interpretation was reinforced by the U.S. State Department in its recent statement that rape is a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions and should be prosecuted as such.The Conventions specify that governments are obliged to find and punish those responsible for grave breaches and to make those accused available for trial. In particular, the debate must focus on strengthening accountability and addressing the culture of impunity around these crimes as a means of delivering justice for survivors, holding implicated individuals, States and non-State actors to account and preventing future violence. Considering gaps in the delivery of justice and assistance to survivors, as well as

ways to reinforce the international architecture is more and more important. Conflict-related sexual violence is rife in areas suffering from conflict and humanitarian crises. There are multiple country contexts globally where these crimes are a daily occurrence according to United Nations data, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq, South Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine and elsewhere. Reportedly in the Syrian Arab Republic, conflict-related sexual violence continues in regime prisons and detention settings. However, stigmatization, reprisals and the fear of “honour killings” contribute to the severe underreporting of these crimes. The protracted crisis has led to a shift towards

harmful social norms such as early and forced marriage. In the decade-long Syrian conflict, there was a first conviction for conflict-related sexual violence offences in January 2022. A court in Koblenz, Germany, reached a landmark ruling under universal jurisdiction in which a former high-ranking security service officer of the regime, Anwar Raslan, was charged with 58 murders, as well as rape, sexual assault and the torture of at least 4,000 people in the Syrian Arab Republic between 2011 and 2012. The indictment was amended to include – for the first time – charges of sexual violence as crimes against humanity committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack, for which Mr. Raslan was ultimately convicted.

In the conflict in northern Ethiopia, serious human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law have been documented, including ethnically targeted sexual violence against women and girls. A lack of humanitarian access to Tigray has prevented survivors from receiving life-saving services, including health care and psychosocial support. To compound the situation, there have also been reports of sexual exploitation and abuse owing to the scarcity of cash, fuel and other essential items. The Government of Ethiopia has established an Inter-Ministerial Task Force, with a subcommittee focusing on sexual and gender-based violence and an investigation and prosecution team to deploy to concerned regions to gather evidence.

In conflict and post-conflict settings, sexual violence continues to be used as a tactic of war, torture, terror and political repression, inflicting devastating suffering on survivors and their families. Survivors are at risk of further brutality and abuse, including displacement and human trafficking. Many survivors experience negative, long-term consequences and post-traumatic stress, and are distinctly vulnerable to discrimination and social stigmatization.

States bear the primary responsibility for preventing and addressing sexual violence and should comply with international law and the normative framework of the Security Council on conflict-related sexual violence. Prevention efforts, accountability measures and protective legal frameworks are important signifiers of compliance with Security Council resolutions. Despite the international community’s repeated calls for parties to conflict to comply, the measures prescribed are inadequately respected, implemented and enforced.

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