UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations - Combating Rape as a Weapon of War
Organization: UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations
Team: Jihane BenKhedher, Alisha Banji, Haruka Ishii, Mayuri Saxena, Karin Smith, Nicole Weitzner
Semester: Spring 2009
Combating Rape as a Weapon of War
Rape has been usedindiscriminately as a weapon of war andevidence suggests an increase in thescale of sexual violence. Such widespreadand systematic sexual abuse has heightened insecurity. In Resolution 1820/2008 (Women, Peace and Security)adopted 19 June 2008,UN Security Council noted that "women and girls areparticularly targeted by the use of sexual violence, including as a tactic ofwar to humiliate, dominate, instill fear in, disperse and/or forciblyrelocatecivilian members of a community or ethnic group." The resolution demandedthe "immediate and complete cessation by all parties to armed conflict ofall acts of sexual violence against civilians."Rape is a war crime,a crime against humanity. While sexualviolence has been a focus in Congo (DRC) because of its widespread abuse, rapehas been used as a tactic of war in Liberia, Sudan andRwanda and for ethnic cleansingin Bosnia. The available statistics areinadequate as they only reflect recorded incidents. Hundreds of rape incidents go unnoticed becausevictims prefer to suffer insilence forfear of retaliation or social ignominy. While the victims remain quiet the criminals go unpunished. "When alleged perpetrators are notprosecuted and brought to justice, the rule of law isundermined and impunityreigns." Warring groups have usedrape as a weapon with the intention not only of humiliating but destroying communities. "It is more dangerous to be a woman thanto be a soldierright now in Eastern DRC". Acts of sexual violence often involve gang rape committed in front of husbandsand children to make the act more degrading for the victims and their families.