Archives for posts with tag: rape
A Call for “Help” from ‪#‎SouthSudan‬ !
By, Susan Sacirbey via DiplomatArtist Buzz
Close to South Sudan’s fifth year of independence in July, rival factional fighting erupted increasing displacement, food shortages, & sexual assault/rape for women in and outside of UN camps faced with the choice of food for their children or rape. –Read More–

From DRC to Somalia, Bosnia, & Syria sexual violence in conflict must end. “It is a weapon of war, aimed at civilians. It has nothing to do with sex, & everything to do with power. It is done to torture & humiliate innocent people, often very young children.”


Throughout history, women have been used as tools of war, propaganda, and injustice.  Tragically, in contemporary time we have seen history repeat in war and conflict zones from Bosnia & Herzegovina, to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the comfort women of Japan. But war is not the only excuse for this depravity and abuse of human rights.  Rape is perpetrated in all cosmopolitan cities and rural areas throughout the world and will continue until a cultural and societal mind-set changes and the victim is not blamed or stigmatized, and the perpetrator is brought to accountability and justice.


An IDP (internally displaced camp) in Somalia is the recent scene of an alleged rape by men she claimed wearing government uniforms who were members of Somali security forces.  Both she and the journalist who interviewed her were both sentenced to one year in prison by Mogadishu.


Both the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, and the UN Human Rights Chief, Navi Pillay, have decried the sentencing and called for the government to re-open its case. “The Secretary-General urges the Government of Somalia to ensure that all allegations of sexual violence are investigated fully and perpetrators are brought to justice. Above all, it is essential that the rights of the alleged victim and the journalist to a fair and transparent judicial process, including the right of appeal, are fully respected.”


From reports, IDP camps in and around Mogadishu have experienced pervasive sexual violence. Despite the courage this woman undertook to report her alleged abuse, the festering results of rape including stigmatization and shame haunt her and her family members. If rape survivors come forward, will justice be their double-edged sword?


UN News Centre Source

“Sexual abuse in the camps for displaced people in Somalia is a real issue, and any effort to expose, denounce and deter these crimes should be supported,” said the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay. “It is deeply disturbing that a woman alleging rape can be penalized for reporting such a crime, and a journalist jailed for investigating it.”


Last month, Somali authorities arrested the woman – who claimed she was raped in September by armed men in government uniforms while living in a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) – and the journalist who interviewed her, as well as the person who introduced them. Two other individuals have also been charged in connection with the case.


The journalist, Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim, was charged for offending the honour of a State institution and for filing a false report in spite of never having published his interview, while the alleged victim was charged for offending the honour of a State institution.


“I raised this case 10 days ago directly with the Government of Somalia,” Ms. Pillay said. “I am now calling on the Government to urgently re-open this case and launch a full inquiry to clearly establish what happened and, if any allegations of abuses against the victim and the journalist are confirmed, to hold those responsible accountable.”


Ms. Pillay underlined that the incident also puts at risk freedom of expression in a country where independent journalists have been regularly targeted and killed. “Sexual violence is a perfectly valid subject for any journalist to investigate. No journalist should be arrested and sentenced by a court to one year in jail for doing his work.”


She also condemned the statements made by some public authorities, including Police Commissioner General Sharif Shekuna Maye at a press conference last month, which exposed the alleged victim to public stigmatization, and undermined her right to presumption of innocence.


“I am very concerned about the impact the penalization of the woman alleging rape could have in the fight against impunity in sexual violence cases, especially given the reports of increasing sexual violence in Somalia,” the High Commissioner said. “And I am particularly shocked by the exposure of the victim of the alleged rape to public stigmatization,” she added.


The UN Political Office in Somalia (UNPOS) as well as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, had also spoken out in recent weeks about the case, calling for alleged crimes to be investigated and for a fair judicial process to be ensured.


By, Susan Sacirbey


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PHOTO:  Courtesy WFP / David Orr  (Women and children wait for assistance from the drought/famine in Dolo, southern Somalia.)



“The full realization of women’s rights is impaired by the structure of the country’s political institutions and the fact that no State level authority has the jurisdiction to ensure the adequate implementation of the international human rights obligations adopted by the State,” states the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Rashida Manjoo at end of an 8 day visit to Bosnia & Herzegovina. “A very relevant fear shared by interviewed survivors of war-time rape and torture is the fact that time continues to pass by with no justice being served. It is crucial to speed up efforts and achieve political solutions at State level.”

Dayton Accords Ending the War & Cementing the Consequences?

The Dayton Accords brokered by the “Contact Group” (US, Russia, UK, France, Germany, EU as well as UN) are credited with having finally brought the conflict to an end. However, they also now deter BiH’s advancement politically, economically and in terms of rule of law and reconciliation. While effectively freezing and frequently rewarding the consequences of ethnic cleansing, “truth and reconciliation” remains primarily a rhetorical objective.  In order to rationalize current injustices and past crimes, ethnically defined politics has multiple versions of BiH history being promulgated.   

Targeting of Women/Girls:

Women/girls were not collateral damage and incidental victims, but they frequently were the direct targets of mass rapes, enforced pregnancy, torture and killings as the perceived backbone of social structure, particularly among Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims). The victimization of Bosnian women/girls has unfortunately persisted, from efforts at denial of crimes committed against them to domestic violence. Ms. Manjoo insisted it was “crucial for government authorities at all levels to recognize the existence of civilian women victims of rape and torture, regardless of their ethnic or religious backgrounds, and to ensure that they have equal access to remedies and services, regardless of their physical location within the country.”

Initiatives toward Rule of Law, Reconciliation & Normalization:

According to OHCHR, the initiatives welcomed by Ms. Manjoo included bids to adopt a Transitional Justice Strategy that aims to ensure access to justice and reparation for all civilian victims of war, including survivors of sexual violence; a Law on the Rights of Victims of Torture and Civilian Victims of War that is hoped will give civilian victims of war access to equal social benefits; and the development of the Programme for Improvement of the Status of Survivors of Conflict related Sexual Violence.

“I encourage the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to speedily finalize the adoption of these legislative and programmatic initiatives, and call on the authorities of both the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska to actively participate in their implementation,” according to Ms. Manjoo. In the Special Rapporteur’s view, according to OHCHR, transitional justice actions should ensure the “public acknowledgment and memorialization of women victims, their access to compensation, including non-material damages, and their empowerment.” Ms. Manjoo emphasized this as  “particularly important considering the country’s overall economic situation and how unemployment and poverty impact all people, but women victims of violence in particular.”

Men/Boys as Victims of Sexual Violence in Conflict:

She also acknowledged the need to recognize the existence of male victims of war-time rape, OHCHR noted.“As the government strives to assess and address the impact that the war had on men and how to ensure they do not place women at a higher risk of domestic violence, it should also recognize the experiences that women themselves faced during the war, and their entitlement to justice, reparations, and information and assistance on the missing and the disappeared,” Ms. Manjoo said. (See full Press Release )

Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey

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National Church of Christ in Congo, Bishop Dieudonné Mbaya Tshiakany said recent UN expert report established that the M23 was being armed by Rwanda. His petition calls for UN to condemn “invasion” by Rwanda; for individuals who have been identified as perpetrators of rape, massacres & looting of minerals to be brought to justice; & for Rwanda to be punished for what is breach of UN Charter.

Women/girls cannot be saddled with another guilt for rape forced upon them as US Congressman Todd Akin’s comments would appear to imply. There is no evidence that women/girls who do not want sexual intercourse forced upon them by a man can then somehow biologically resist pregnancy. –MORE–

Watch Film Report: UN’s BANGLADESHI FEMALE OFFICERS IN DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo)
With sexual violence and rape at intolerable levels over the last decade in the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), female police officers from Bangladesh are at a premium both to protect and empower women/girls in the country.  –WATCH–

After around 4 months of fighting in the most recent cycle in the DRC presumably ignited by a military rebellion (M23) but also suspected of involving outside forces/neighboring countries, almost half a million persons have been displaced & both a human rights & humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding, with minimal political response. –MORE–

Those responsible for attacks against civilians must be held accountable, & so I reiterated my call on the SC to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court as I believe evidence points to commission of crimes against humanity. In my view, both Government forces & armed opponents have been involved in actions harming civilians,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. –More–

“Justice in Colombia has been delayed for so many, but it must not be denied,” according to Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallström.  Colombia must increase its efforts to fight impunity for crimes of sexual violence. Additional resources are required to strengthen the capacity of the judicial system. –More–