New York, 7 June 2022 (TDI): The Russian military has been accused of sexual violence in Ukraine. A senior UN official stated this during a meeting of the Security Council.
She expressed concern over the obvious contrast between that unpleasant reality and the international community’s desire to end rape as a weapon of war.
From gang rape, to being forced to watch sexual violence against a loved one, reports of incidents by Russian troops in #Ukraine are rising, says UN Special Representative on @endrapeinwarhttps://t.co/8RNRStO6sw
— UN News (@UN_News_Centre) June 7, 2022
Pramila Patten, the UN Secretary-Special General’s Representative for Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict, spoke on her recent trip to Ukraine.
She also spoke on the components of the newly signed Framework of Cooperation on the Prevention and Response to Conflict-Related Sexual Violence.
It aims to improve accountability and combat these heinous crimes. She pointed out that the recently signed Framework prioritizes the needs of women and girls in conflict situations.
This is due to the fact that their needs are frequently overlooked and treated as an afterthought. She stated that seeing sexual abuse utilized as a military tactic is a horrible truth.
This continues despite the backing of the Council’s numerous resolutions by international law. Additionally, the resolutions make it illegal to employ sexual violence as a weapon of war.
The Special Representative emphasized the disparity between such pledges and the plight of many women around the world.
She went on to say that there is still a disconnect between the Council’s desire for prevention and the reality on the ground for the most vulnerable.
The aspirations are articulated through a strong normative framework. This has been in place for the past decade.
As of June 3, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Human Rights Monitoring Team had received reports. They received 124 allegations of sexual assault related to the crisis in Ukraine.
Acts of Sexual Violence in Ukraine
The majority of the alleged victims were women and girls. Men and boys were among those who reported cases of sexual violence.
There is now an established national hotline that addresses domestic violence, human trafficking, and gender-based discrimination.
As a result, several terrible reports have been received, ranging from gang rape to coercion. An act of sexual violence is perpetrated and loved ones are forced to witness it.
Call for Urgent Action
In light of this, Special Representative Patten urged giving first priority to survivors of sexual and gender-based abuse. Humanitarian actors must give this first priority.
This should include a life-saving component of their employment. She also cautioned against delaying action for too long.
She claims an active battleground is never conducive to proper “book-keeping.” It is always too late for the council to wait for hard data and figures.
The Special Representative urged a swift mobilization of the international community. She went on to say that hard data isn’t required for a scaled-up humanitarian response. It is also necessary for all parties to implement preventative measures.
Alarming Evidence of Trafficking Risks
Furthermore, the detailed provisions of the recently signed Framework of Cooperation are key. This helps to build up support among those working to fight and prevent sexual violence in Ukraine.
It also aims to reduce the risk posed by human traffickers to those fleeing Ukraine and to provide services to victims.
However, she cautioned about the record-protection challenges facing the nearly 6.8 million people who have fled the country. The sharp risks of trafficking in persons have been “alarmingly evident” since the start of the war.
The risks include being used for the purposes of sexual abuse and prostitution. Against that backdrop, she urged the Council and the global donor community to stand in unity with the authorities of Ukraine.
In addition, the newly inked Framework of Cooperation’s precise clauses are crucial. The provision aids in the strengthening of cooperation among people working in Ukraine. This enables them to fight and prevent sexual violence.
Also, it intends to limit the likelihood of human traffickers posing a threat to individuals fleeing Ukraine. It also intends to assist victims.
She did warn that the almost 6.8 million people who have fled the country face tremendous security challenges. The increased hazards of human trafficking have been “alarmingly clear” since the beginning of the war.
There is a possibility of being used for sexual exploitation or prostitution. In light of this, she asked the Council and the international donor community to support the Ukrainian authorities.
They should also stand firm in their support for the Framework’s implementation with UN agencies. She told the council that it’s critical to match the scope and complexity of the problem to the amount of government attention.
It is also necessary to verify that the resources allocated for a complete response are appropriate.