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Conflict-related Sexual Violence: Report of the Secretary-General

By UN Security Council  •  March 13, 2014

The present report, which covers the period from January to December 2013, is submitted pursuant to paragraph 22 of Security Council resolution 2106 (2013) , in which the Council requested me to submit annual reports on the implementation of resolutions 1820 (2008) , 1888 (2009) , 1960 (2010) and 2106 (2013) with regard to conflict – related sexual violence. The report presents information on parties to conflict credibly suspected of committing or being responsible for acts of rape and other forms of sexual violence. The term “ conflict – related sexual violence ” refers to rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, forced sterilization and any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity perpetrated against women, men or children with a direct or indirect (temporal, geographical or causal) link to a conflict. This link to conflict may be evident in the profile of the perpetrator, the profile of the victim, the climate of impunity or State collapse, any cross – border dimensions or violations of the terms of a ceasefire agreement. While conflict – related sexual violence may be present in several contexts not mentioned in the current report, the following outlines those countries in which credible information is currently available, including situations of emerging concern.

The report highlights actions taken and challenges faced by States in conflict and post – conflict situations to protect women , men and children from such sexual violence; the implementation of the monitoring, analysis and reporting arrangements; the deployment of women ’ s protection advisers; the work of the Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict; the efforts of the United Nations system; and recommendations to strengthen efforts to combat this egregious crime.

In the report, appropriate actions are recommended and a list of parties credibly suspected of committing or being responsible for patterns of r ape and other forms of sexual violence in situations of armed conflict on the agenda of the Security Council is contained in the annex.

The report should be read in conjunction with my previous reports on the same topic (A/66/657-S/2012/33 and A/67/792-S/2013/149). Preparation of the report involved consultations with the 13 United Nations entities that are members of United Nations Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict, United Nations field missions and country teams, concerned Member States and non – governmental organizations. United Nations peacekeeping and political missions, as well as country teams, were the primary sources of information. In the present report , reference is made to the nature and scope of sexual violence in 20 countries.


Myanmar

37.    Incidents of sexual violence continued to be reported in Myanmar during 2013. Reporting  is  limited  because  of  access  restrictions  for  humanitarian  and  human rights  actors  in  conflict -affected  areas  and  because  formal  reporting  protocols discourage many survivors from seeking assistance for fear of police involvement, negative repercussions, compromised confidentiality and  stigma.  Sexual violence has  nonetheless been  associated  with  targeted  violence  in  Rakhine  St ate  and  in non-State ethnic armed conflicts in Kachin State and northern Shan State. In these states, overcrowding in camps and shelters for internally displaced persons raises the risk of sexual violence and abuse, particularly for single females and fem ale- headed  households.  Conflict -affected  women  and  girls  in  camps  for  internally displaced persons are also at risk of being trafficked, often by so -called “brokers”, to   neighbouring   countries   for   the   purposes   of   forced   marriage   and   sexual exploitation. Regional and local government offices have limited capacity to lead, manage    and    coordinate    emergency   programming.   Local    non -governmental organizations are  able to  access communities of internally displaced persons but generally lack the capacity to deliver h ealth-care and psychosocial support services consistent   with   international   standards.  A   lack   of   access   to   formal   justice mechanisms for  rape survivors often results in  the  mediation of  sexual violence cases by camp leaders.

38.    In Kachin State, assessments carried out in February and March 2013 found that women and girls were at risk in both government -controlled and non-government- controlled areas. Also in Kachin State, since September 2013 there have been increased reports of sexual violence, including th e rape of girls as young as 7 years of  age,  incidents  involving  multiple  perpetrators  and  the  involvement  of  armed actors and uniformed services. In northern Rakhine State, ongoing tensions between host  communities  and  internally  displaced  persons  and  rela ted  threats  against humanitarian   actors   have   compromised   service   provision   outside   camps   for internally displaced persons. Psychosocial counselling and medical services in northern Rakhine State are extremely limited and local state -run structures are ofte n unwilling to  provide services to  internally displaced Muslims. To  gain  access to urgent health services, the Rohingya population is limited to a hospital in Sittwe, which  has  minimal capacity for  sexual violence case  management and  to  which humanitarian actors do not have access. Access to justice is also limited for those unable to prove their citizenship.

39.    In his report of 23 September 2013 ( A/68/397), the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar stated that, with respect to abuses perpetrated in Rakhine State, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, the obligations of the State to fully investigate and hold perpetrators to account had not been met. The Special Rapporteur rec ommended the amendment of constitutional provisions to  provide better accountability and  civilian oversight over  military tribunals. In respect of the findings in the report of the Special Rapporteur, the Government of Myanmar cites the prosecution of susp ects in six cases of sexual violence committed by  military personnel or  deserters in  Rakhine,  Kachin  and  northern Shan  States through military and civilian courts. The Government notes that it has undertaken capacity-building efforts for the armed forces, including on human rights and the prevention   of   sexual   violence.   It   also   highlights   the   signature   of   ceasefire agreements with  most  ethnic  groups and  the  expected signature of a  nationwide ceasefire agreement.

Recommendation

40.    I  call  on  the  Government  of  Myanmar  to  fully  investigate and  respond  to current and historical human rights violations and abuses, including crimes of sexual violence. I  urge the Government, with the support of the United Nations and its partners, to work to develop a comprehens ive protection and service response for survivors.

View the full report here

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