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Ukraine: sexual violence reports are continuously on the rise

6 June 2022

According to the UN Security Council, reports of sexual violence by Russian Forces in Ukraine are increasing in an alarming way.  

On 6 June, a senior UN official told the Security Council that sexual assault allegations are rising dramatically in Ukraine due to the war. For this reason, the official also underlined the necessity for the international community to end the use of rape as a weapon during conflicts. On this occasion, Pramila Patten, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict, pointed out her visit to Ukraine and brought the attention to the new Framework of Cooperation on the Prevention and Response to Conflict-Related Sexual Violence, which aims to strengthen the protection of civilians during conflicts.

Moreover, talking about her visit to Ukraine, Ms. Patten underlined that “Painfully, my visit cast into stark relief the gap that still exists between the aspiration of prevention expressed by this Council […] and the reality on the ground for the most vulnerable”. With this statement she also reminds of the several Security Council resolutions which strictly prohibit the use of sexual violence as a weapon, and how these measures are not enough for the protection of civilians, especially women and young girls. However, it is also important to notice that women and girls are not the only targets of sexual violence, but also cases of violence against men and boys have been registered in Ukraine. Overall, sexual violence, human trafficking and gender-based discrimination have been set at the core of the current conflict. 

On this occasion, Ms. Patten recalled the urgent need for a prompt response by international organizations that must make a top priority the support of survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.

 

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by Alexia Tenneriello

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