At the end of a special session of the UN Security Council, the United States vetoed a draft resolution to combat rape as a weapon of war. At issue, a paragraph of the text that spoke about the sexual and reproductive rights of women.
The United States continues to be hostile to women’s rights: On Tuesday, April 23, Washington vetoed the UN’s proposal to fight rape as a weapon of war. In the text, a paragraph strongly displeases the United States: it would include a vocabulary on the assistance to victims from family planning services, help that refuses to give the Trump administration to American women.
One phrase would be contentious, and it is in a clause that “urges United Nations entities and donors to offer to persons who have suffered sexual violence, without any discrimination, a full range of health care, including sexual and reproductive health care, psychosocial support, legal aid and livelihoods, as well as other multisectoral services, taking into account the special needs of people with disabilities ” . The United States refuses to accept the passage referring to “sexual and reproductive health” . And for good reason, Washington believes that these terms imply support for abortion.
“It would be a huge contradiction to talk about a survivor-centered approach and not to mention sexual and reproductive health services, which is essential for me , ” said Pramila Patten, UN Special Representative for HIV / AIDS. sexual violence in conflict.
” We must act “
“Sexual violence is widespread in war zones. We must act, ” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wrote in a column published Monday in the Washington Post and signed with actress Angelina Jolie, a long-time campaigner against sexual crimes. It is Germany, which currently chairs the UN Security Council, which is the initiator of the resolution on the prevention of sexual crimes. “Rape and other forms of sexual violence are used as tactics of war and terrorism in conflicts around the world,” says Heiko Maas.
They propose that the United Nations focus now on three aspects: that perpetrators of sexual violence be held accountable for their acts and that international co-operation should permit the gathering of evidence against them; that control be increased, while UN Security Council resolutions “remain a dead letter” and that parties taking part in conflicts “do not fulfill their obligations at all”; Finally, both are waiting for victims to be heard and to have access to justice and financial reparations.
France has strongly denounced the decision of the United States “We are dismayed by the fact that a state has demanded the removal of the reference to sexual and reproductive health yet approved,” said François Delattre the French ambassador to the UN. “Major concessions were made under the pressure of several permanent members who did not allow the text to go as far as we would have liked,” he said. “It is inexplicable that access to sexual and reproductive health is not explicitly recognized to victims of sexual violence, who are often the target of atrocities and barbarous mutilations” .
Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege demand justice
The fight against sexual violence was democratized when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to activist Yazidie Nadia Murad, persecuted by the Islamic State organization, and Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege, who has always been committed to the practice of genital mutilation. on women in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They called on Tuesday the UN Security Council to ensure justice for victims of sexual violence in conflict.
“Not a single person has been brought to justice for sexual slavery , “ Nadia Murad denounced, referring to her community destroyed by the Islamic State jihadist group in Iraq and Syria. “The hopes of an entire generation have been destroyed,” she added, citing a “collective failure” of the international community.
“We make speeches at the UN but no concrete action is taken” on justice and “nothing has been done,” she insisted. “What does the international community want to do to justice for the victims? ” , Asked Denis Mukwege, asking also the establishment of national and international courts devoted to trial perpetrators of sexual violence in conflicts.