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United Nations: New Security Council Resolution Against Sexual Violence

(July 8, 2013) On June 24, 2013, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2106, on increasing the efforts against impunity for perpetrators of sexual violence, whether the victim is female or male. (S.C. Res. 2106, U.N. Doc. S/RES/2106 (June 24, 2013), United Nations website; Julie Deisher, UN Security Council Adopts Resolution Against Sexual Violence, PAPER CHASE NEWSBURST (June 24, 2013).)

The Security Council has passed three previous resolutions on the subject, in 2008, 2009, and 2010; the new document stresses consistent, rigorous investigation and prosecution of crimes of sexual violence, as a key to deterrence and prevention. (Security Council Strengthens Efforts to End Impunity for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence, UN NEWS CENTRE (June 24, 2013).) Resolution 2106 states that effective steps to prevent and respond to such [criminal] acts significantly contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security.” (S/RES/2106, supra.)

The Resolution calls for assessing and expanding the current use of Women Protection Advisors, as established under Resolution 1888 of 2009. (Deisher, supra.; S.C. Res. 1888, U.N. Doc. S/RES/1888 (Sept. 30, 2009), United Nations website.) The Advisors’ mission is to implement relevant Security Council resolutions.

Resolution 2106 was adopted during a discussion of women, peace, and security at which U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated, “[s]exual violence, whenever and wherever it occurs, is a vile crime. It must be exposed and met with the anger and action that it deserves.” (Security Council Strengthens Efforts to End Impunity for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence, supra.) While speaking of the problem of rape associated with armed conflict, Ban described a recent trip to the <?Democratic Republic of the Congo during which he met with women and girls who were raped and injured by armed forces from all groups involved in the conflict there. He noted that "there are hospitals there to help these women, [but] they cannot protect them. … That is a job for the Congolese authorities and the international community, in particular this Council." (Id.)

Zainab Hawa Bangura, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, praised the new Resolution. She pointed out that in the world today rape is largely “cost-free,” but added that “for the first time in history, we can reverse this reality. It will require leadership and political courage, and a relentless determination to match the cold, calculating brutality of those who would rape the innocent for military or political gain.” (Id.)

Bangura said that the Resolution reinforces a regime based on timely, reliable information and actions to be taken on the basis of that information. She urged the Council and the international community to move on a path toward accountability and prevention until the world can “turn the tide on history’s oldest and least condemned crime.” (Id.)