(New York, 25 June 2015) – United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, today welcomed the signed commitment of 47 commanders from the Forces Républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire(FRCI) to fight against sexual violence and ensure respect for international human rights and humanitarian law within all the units under their command.
“I applaud the signing of the Commitment Act to Fight against Conflict Related Sexual Violence and take this as another concrete step by Côte d’Ivoire in consolidating the gains achieved since the end of the conflict,” the Special Representative said.
“The chain of command must be fully engaged to work in ending the involvement of their soldiers in sexual violence crimes. I urge these commanders to follow through on these commitments, which will not only prevent future incidents but allow justice for past victims of sexual violence.”
The commanders – who represented the military, air and naval forces – signed the document following the completion of a high-level advocacy session on conflict related sexual violence organized in Agboville, Abidjan, on 19 June 2015 organised by the Committee of National Experts on Conflict Related Sexual Violence and the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI).
They committed to respect human rights and international humanitarian law in relation to sexual violence in conflict; to take direct action against sexual violence committed by soldiers under their command, in particular, the prosecution of alleged perpetrators under their command and facilitating access to areas under their command to military prosecutors; to hand over perpetrators within their command that are under investigation or that have been indicted or convicted; to sensitize soldiers under their command about the zero tolerance policy on sexual violence in conflict and to take specific measures to ensure protection of victims, witnesses and judicial actors, among other measures.
The high-level advocacy session was organised as part of activities to implement the Committee’s Action Plan on Conflict Related Sexual Violence.
The Special Representative reiterates her commitment to continue working with all stakeholders in Côte d’Ivoire, particularly, the political and military leadership, towards ensuring that incremental steps are taken to fight against impunity for sexual violence crimes. She calls on the Ivorian authorities to scale up support to the National Committee to enhance its functionality.
For further information, please contact:
Paulina Kubiak, Office of the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Communications Officer in New York +1 9173673819 or firstname.lastname@example.org