Sierra Leone’s health minister to serve as UN envoy on sexual violence in conflict

Zainab Hawa Bangura. UN Photo/Lou Rouse

22 June 2012 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Zainab Hawa Bangura, currently the Minister of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone, as his new Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

She will replace Margot Wallström, a Swedish politician with a long history of defending women’s rights, who had served in the position since it was created two years ago.

According to a statement from Mr. Ban’s spokesperson, Ms. Bangura brings to the position over 20 years of policy, diplomatic and practical experience in the field of governance, conflict resolution and reconciliation in Africa. She has been instrumental in developing national programmes on affordable health as well as advocating for the elimination of genital mutilation.

She is also experienced in meeting with interlocutors in diverse situations, including rebel groups, and familiar in dealing with State and non-State actors relevant to issues of sexual violence while fighting corruption and impunity.

“She is an experienced results-driven civil society, human and women’s right campaigner and democracy activist,” the statement added.

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