NSRP makes case for increased action against Sexual Violence in the North East at UN

24th April 2015

NSRP makes case for increased action against Sexual Violence in the North East at UN

Council Debates Sexual Violence in ConflictOn April 15, at the invitation of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), NSRP North East Regional Coordinator, Hamsatu Allamin, addressed the UN Security Council on the conflict related sexual violence in the context of the insurgency in the North East of Nigeria.  This was provided on the UNSC Special Representative platform for briefing the Council on the Secretary-General’s report on conflict-related sexual violence.

In her message to the Council, Hamsatu drew attention to the plight of women and girls in the North east, which has been at the centre of the insurgency in Nigeria. She drew attention to the missing girls of Girls Secondary School Chibok, who are yet to be found one year after which they were abducted. She asked the Security Council to intensify support for ongoing aimed at ending the insurgency.  ‘On behalf of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, as the Regional Manager of the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme, and as a National Executive Member of the Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria, I am here to implore the Security Council and the international community to develop integrated solutions in partnership with women’s groups and service providers. These solutions should: prevent conflict-related sexual violence; protect those at risk; provide comprehensive support to survivors; promote gender perspectives and women’s voices; prosecute those responsible; and take action to strengthen rights of women and girls. Additionally, women’s meaningful participation in peace and security processes must be a core component of any effort to effectively reduce and address incidents of conflict-related sexual violence’, she said.

A key issue discussed at the debate was, how to deal with extremist groups such as JAS and ISIS, which do not operate in just one country, are difficult to approach and are unlikely to respond to the usual forms of pressure. Other related issues include:

  • ensuring the women, peace and security agenda is integrated into the Council’s thematic work on counter-terrorism and country-specific situations where these groups operate;
  • ensuring that counter-insurgency efforts against extremist groups do not exacerbate the vulnerabilities that women and girls face, such as in Somalia; and
  • Not losing sight of the fact that in many situations where sexual violence occurs governments are a primary driver of conflict in their own territory, such as in Syria and Darfur.

The Secretary-General’s report describes 2014 as a year marked by harrowing accounts of sexual violence in the context of violent extremism, with particular focus on Jama’atul ahli al-sunnah lida’awati wal jihad (JAS) and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). It details the use of sexual violence by terrorist groups to achieve tactical objectives. This dispels the notion that sexual violence is just an incidental by-product of violent conflict. Sexual violence by extremist groups terrorizes communities into compliance, displaces populations from strategic areas and generates revenue through trafficking, slave trade and ransoms. The report also highlights the vulnerability of displaced or refugee women and girls to sexual exploitation, such as human trafficking, early marriage and forced marriage.

The report includes analysis that conflict-related sexual violence occurs in situations where there is also systemic gender-based discrimination, such as the exclusion of women from political life, economic marginalisation and discriminatory systems of both formal and informal law. Furthermore, survivors of sexual violence often face double victimisation through accusations of “honour” or “morality” crimes, through reporting to unresponsive or predatory security officials or through forced marriage to the perpetrator as a form of traditional settlement.

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