Newly appointed UN Special Represenative on Sexual Violence promised more coherent plan

February 10th, 2010 - 3:21 pm ICT by BNO News  

UNITED NATIONS (BNO NEWS) – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s newly appointed Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict on Tuesday promised a more coherent and effective battle against sexual violence.

Citing recent mass rapes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Margot Wallström, a Swedish politician with a long history in defending women’s rights, called her new task a “mission irresistible.”

“Sexual violence against women is not cultural, it’s criminal. It’s not a women’s issue, it’s a human rights issue. It’s for both men and women to make sure that women have the right to their body.”

Ms. Wallström was introduced by Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro who said the new appointment was “a major step” towards protecting civilians subjected to sexual violence not only in conflict but also in post-conflict situations.

In the DRC, the UN is combating the scourge by developing a greater presence on the ground, escorting women going to market or fetching firewood or water, developing early warning systems, and working with local mayors.

Wallström said the DRC would be one of the first places she would visit, but cautioned that her main challenge would be living up to all the expectations put in her given the breadth of the mandate and its limited length of only two years. “We’ll also have to create some success stories if you ask me,” she added.

“I will never be able to live up to all these expectations,” she said. But, she added, “of course I feel honoured and humbled and excited. It’s a tough task and the mandate is short, two years, but it is mission irresistible to me at this moment.”

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