U.N. calls for immediate end to use of sexual violence as weapon of war in Syria

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Free Syrian Army members train outside Idlib, Syria. File photo

ARA News 

GENEVA – United Nations senior official Zainab Hawa Bangura called on all armed groups in Syria to immediately stop sexual violence as a tactic in the ongoing civil war.

Bangura, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, stressed that the only solution for the Syrian crisis is political.

“A political solution is the only way to bring an end to the horrific human rights violations taking place in Syria, including the systematic use of sexual violence,” she said in a statement on Saturday. 

“Even as hope springs for peace, I reiterate my calls to all parties to the conflict in Syria to immediately refrain from the use of sexual violence which has been used as a tactic of war, a tactic of terrorism, and an instrument of torture.” 

Bangura also called on President Bashar al-Assad and his troops to grant access to humanitarian aid into stricken areas, as hundreds of thousands of civilians lack basic supplies in the war-torn country. 

Voicing concern about the targeting of minorities by radical groups, especially the Islamic State (ISIS), Bangura said: “Minorities, including religious and ethnic minorities, as well as the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals, have been systematically persecuted, sexually tortured and killed.” 

“These violations are an affront to our collective humanity and must cease immediately. The perpetrators must be held to account,” she concluded. 

By: Lorin Silo 

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