Statement of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence Zainab Hawa Bangura
NY 15 July 2014
(New York, USA) I am gravely concerned by reports of acts of sexual violence that have taken place in Iraq in the last month as part of the current wave of fighting in the country, including several cases of rape near Mosul reportedly documented by the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights in June.
There are also reports that ethnic and religious minorities have been targeted for physical assault, including sexual violence, and some internally displaced persons interviewed by UN staff said they fled their homes because of the threat of sexual violence.
Sexual violence must not be used to gain the upper hand in political and military struggles, and the bodies of innocent civilians must not be used as battlefields for warring parties. I would like to remind combatants on all sides that acts of sexual violence are human rights violations and can be considered war crimes and crimes against humanity.
My Office will continue to monitor the situation in Iraq as it pertains to sexual violence to ensure accountability for perpetrators and to advocate for support and services for survivors.
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