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Sexual violence in conflicts: Italy calls for zero tolerance, accountability

NEW YORK, OCTOBER 18 – Speaking during a meeting of the Security Council convened in Arria format, Italy reiterated its commitment to zero tolerance for sexual and gender-based violence in armed conflicts. “The problem needs to be addressed at its roots, especially in terms of gender inequalities,” said Italy’s Deputy Head of Mission to the United Nations, Ambassador Gianluca Greco. He added, “Sexual violence violates international humanitarian law and human rights, and it requires a legal response.”

The meeting was organized by Albania, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The Albanian Foreign Minister, Igli Hasani, opened the proceedings, and representatives from civil society also spoke.

In the Secretary-General’s annual reports on conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV), CRSV is defined as “rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, forced abortion, enforced sterilization, forced marriage, and any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity committed against women, men, girls, or boys that is directly or indirectly linked to a conflict.” The reports state that it “also encompasses trafficking in persons for the purpose of sexual violence and/or exploitation when committed in conflict situations.”

According to a concept note prepared by Albania, despite the Security Council establishing a robust normative framework condemning and calling for action to address CRSV, sexual violence in conflicts persists in many parts of the world. The fact that “perpetrators are free and unpunished” risks sending a message that CRSV “can be tolerated and can continue to be used as a tactic of war.” The note mentions CRSV “in the former Yugoslavia, particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo,” as contexts where “perpetrators have successfully evaded justice for 27 years.” (@OnuItalia)

Il giornale Italiano delle Nazioni Unite. Ha due redazioni, una a New York, l’altra a Roma.

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