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U.N. Security Council Votes to End Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict

UNITED NATIONS, Jun 22 2013 (IPS) - British Foreign Secretary William Hague and United Nations Special Envoy Angelina Jolie successfully urged the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution on prevention of sexual violence in armed conflict.

The 15 members of the Council unanimously voted in favor of the resolution on Monday.

The decision comes after the Security Council’s historic adoption of Resolution 1325 in 2000 on Women, Peace and Security—the first of its kind to require parties in a conflict to respect women’s rights and include the special needs of women and girls in a post-conflict situation.

At the Security Council meeting on Monday, Hague called on the international community to address a “culture of impunity” in which perpetrators commit rape in the almost certain knowledge that they face no consequences.

“I am appalled that the vast majority of survivors never receive justice, support or recognition despite years and even decades of waiting, and that it is victims, not the perpetrators, who still bear the shame and stigma,” Hague said.

At the meeting, Jolie also criticized the Security Council for its lack of action to prioritise warzone rape. In many of these conflict situations, there is no government to take responsibility for the rape victims, in which case the Security Council must step in to provide leadership and assistance, Jolie stressed.

“I understand that there are many things that are difficult for the U.N. Security Council to agree on. But sexual violence in conflict should not be one of them,” Jolie said.

Jolie and Hague called for the political will of the countries represented at the Council to shoulder shared responsibility for the prevention of sexual violence in conflict.

“It is time to say that rape and sexual violence used as a weapon of war is unacceptable, that we know it can be prevented, and that we will act now to eradicate it,” Hague said.

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