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UN chief accuses Syrian regime and six armed groups of sexual violence

The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday accused Syrian regime forces and six armed groups of committing rape and other acts of sexual violence in Syria during the period of January until December 2014, Anadolu news agency reported.

Ki-moon listed six Arab countries where sexual violence is practiced by armed groups or by government officials in a report submitted during a UN Security Council session on sexual violence.

The countries are Yemen, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Sudan and Somalia.

The six armed groups that have committed acts of sexual violence in Syria are the Islamic State, al- Qaeda affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, al- Islam Brigade, Aknaf Bait al- Maqdis Brigades, Ansar Bait al- Maqdis Brigades and Ahrar Ash-Sham Islamist Movement.

Ki-moon waged specific charges against the Syrian government forces, saying the UN possessed “documented information on the Syrian regime’s forces responsibility for committing acts of rape and sexual violence, including the Syrian Arab Army, intelligence service and pro-government forces, including national defence forces”.

In his report, Ki-moon defined sexual violence to include rape, sexual slavery, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization and forced prostitution committed against children, women and men.

The Secretary-General voiced concerns that “sexual violence is committed by government agencies or militias loyal to them in countries such as Sudan and South Sudan, Syria and Democratic Republic of Congo”.

“Sexual violence against women, men and boys has characterized the Syrian conflict since it began which is common during house search, hostage-taking, detention and at checkpoints,” he said.

The Secretary-General urged the UN Security Council to “recognize sexual violence as a means of terrorism, and to coordinate efforts to prevent sexual violence and respond to it by coordinating closely and strategically with efforts to prevent extremism associated with violence”.

He also urged the inclusion of sexual violence in armed conflict on the UN Security Council’s sanction committees’ agendas and to continue to use all means available, including referral to the ICC, to influence warring parties to comply with the international law.

International OrganisationsMiddle EastNewsSyriaUN
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