Reports of sexual violence in Ukraine rising fast, Security Council hears |

Pramila PattenThe Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict, recalling her recent visit to Ukraine and outlining elements of a Cooperation framework on the Prevention and Response to Conflict-Related Sexual Violence, to increase accountability and combat such heinous crimes.

Often the needs of women and girls in conflict contexts are aligned and seen as an afterthought.“Welcome to the fact that the new Framework was signed, she said, making them a clear priority.

Reality ‘painful’

Recalling the many Council resolutions – supported by international law – banning the use of sexual violence as a tactic of war, the Special Representative highlighted the gap between those commitments and the status of many women. women in the world.

“Sadly, my visit has become much more relaxed A gap still exists between the aspiration to prevention demonstrated by this Council through the robust regulatory framework established over the past decade, and reality on the ground for the most vulnerable,” she speaks.

As of June 3, the Human Rights Watch Group of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has received reports of 124 alleged sex-related acts across Ukraine.

Pramila Patten, Secretary-General's Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, briefs the members of the United Nations Security Council.

UN photo / Ekinder Debebe

Pramila Patten, Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, briefs the members of the United Nations Security Council.

Forced to see

Women and girls make up the majority of the alleged victims, while some of the reported cases of sexual violence are also men and boys.

A national hotline on domestic violence, human trafficking and gender discrimination has been set up and has received shocking reports from gang rape, in which loved ones are forced to watch an act of sexual violence committed against a partner or child.

Urgent action

Against this backdrop, Ms. Patten urged humanitarian actors to prioritize supporting survivors of sexual and gender-based violence as a life-saving component of their work.

She also warned against waiting too long to act.

“One Active battleground is never conducive to accurate ‘bookkeeping’ […] if we wait for data and statistics, it will always be too late”, she said, and called on the international community to mobilize immediately.

She added: “We don’t need hard data for a large-scale humanitarian response, nor do all parties have to take precautions.

Human trafficking risks ‘obviously alarming’

She detailed the terms of the recently signed Cooperation Framework, which she said would help strengthen cooperation among those working to combat and prevent sexual violence in Ukraine.

It also aims to reduce the risk posed by traffickers to people fleeing Ukraine and provide services to victims.

However, she warned that the protection challenges faced by the nearly 6.8 million people who have fled the country are unprecedented and the growing risk of human trafficking – including for the purposes of sexual exploitation. sex and prostitution – is “obviously alarming” since the beginning of the conflict.

Against this backdrop, she called on the Council and the global donor community to unite with the Ukrainian authorities and United Nations organizations to support the implementation of the Framework.

“It is important to ensure that the level of political focus, as well as the allocation of resources for a comprehensive response, commensurate with the size and complexity of the problem,” she speaks.

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