On 25 November 2009 the world commemorates the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Two recent resolutions of the UN Security Council stand out in the fight to end sexual violence against women.
In Resolution 1820 of 19 June 2008, the Security Council affirmed that sexual violence as a tactic of war can threaten international peace and security. This acknowledgement brought sexual violence against women in conflict situations within the Security Council’s mandate and placed it on the Council’s agenda. This landmark resolution also noted that rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute “a war crime, a crime against humanity, or a constitutive act with respect to genocide.” A poster explaining the resolution can be found here. For a brochure on Resolution 1820 click here.
Security Council Resolution 1888 of 30 September 2009 followed up on resolution 1820 and requested the Secretary General to “appoint a Special Representative to provide coherent and strategic leadership, to work effectively to strengthen existing United Nations coordination mechanisms, and to engage in advocacy efforts ...”
There are also several UN initiatives that address violence against women:
- http://endviolence.un.org/ – campaign of the United Nations Secretary General to end violence against women called UNiTE to End Violence against Women. This campaign aims to raise awareness and increase resources and political will to prevent and respond to all violence against women wherever it occurs in the world.
- www.saynotoviolence.org – website of the global internet-based advocacy effort organized by UNIFEM called Say NO-UNiTE to End Violence against Women.
- www.stoprapenow.org – web site of the inter-agency initiative STOP RAPE NOW: UN Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict. Its objectives include improving coordination and accountability, advocacy, and support of national efforts to prevent sexual violence.
Carolina Cordon-Bouzan, intern