UN urges European Union to end violence against women in conflict zones

10 October 2008

The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) today urged European Union (EU) Member States to take practical steps in preventing sexual violence against women in conflict and post-conflict situations.

The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) today urged European Union (EU) Member States to take practical steps in preventing sexual violence against women in conflict and post-conflict situations.

“We are not here for another talking shop, where we lament the terrible and systematic nature of violence,” UNIFEM Executive Director Inés Alberdi said at the “From Commitment to Action” meeting organized in collaboration with the European Commission.

“We look forward to supporting practical responses that ensure that sexual violence is no longer dismissed as an inevitable part of conflict,” she told participants at the one-day event in Brussels.

That gathering came on the heels of an EU-commissioned report which highlights gaps in providing security to women in war zones. Reviews of Security Council resolution 1325, which addresses the impact of war on women, have also found serious failings in preventing of high levels of sexual violence, particularly in continuing conflicts, and in setting up security and justice systems to end impunity.

A joint UNIFEM and UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) conference in May found that UN and African Union (AU) peacekeeping missions’ policies regarding prevention of attacks on women civilians have not been systematically implemented.

These findings led directly to the adoption of Security Council resolution 1820, which demands the “immediate and complete cessation by all parties to armed conflict of all acts of sexual violence against civilians” and instructs missions to prevent impunity.

The current French Presidency of the EU “in cooperation with UNIFEM has seized the momentum created by the adoption of SCR 1820 in June 2008 on violence against women in conflict and post-conflict situation to address existing implementation gaps of EU policies in this domain,” according to a UNIFEM press release issued today.

 

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