Post-Conflict Violence Against Women

In April the UN Security Council discussed sexual violence in post-conflict situations. It is a truly global problem: Columbian and Yemeni boys are abducted and used as sex slaves; women and children are raped as a tactic of war in Syria, Myanmar, and the Central African Republic. Zainab Hawa Bangura, Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, said that when she took the job she had never imagined how heartbreaking it would be. Twenty years after the civil war in Bosnia, she found people who will never see justice, since their perpetrators are in positions of authority. And she asked, “What of the hundreds, thousands of children born of rape, and the families of the victims? They are also victims and deserve reparation.” The UN is working to end impunity for perpetrators, and training peacekeepers, military, and law enforcement personnel. They are appointing female UN protection advisers and increasing the number of female police officers.  But for this to succeed, the countries who supply the UN employees will have to increase their pool of female officers, and put in place the legal structures to hold their citizens accountable.