Several African nations have been included in a United Nations’ list of countries with non-state actors or entities using s.exual violence as a tactic of war and political repression during the Covid-19 pandemic.
A UN report published on Monday lists the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Central African Republic (CAR), Mali, South Sudan, Syria, Sudan, Iraq and Somalia among such countries.
Non-state actors” refers to organisations and individuals not affiliated with, directed by or funded through a government.
“Sexual violence was employed as a tactic of war, torture and terrorism in settings in which overlapping humanitarian and security crises, linked with militarisation and the proliferation of arms, continued unabated,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement accompanying the report, adding that the coronavirus pandemic led to a rise in gender-based violence last year.
The report focused on 18 countries where the UN said it had obtained verified information. It lists 52 parties credibly suspected of responsibility for rape or other forms of s.e.xual violence in conflicts.
Over 70 percent of the listed parties were persistent perpetrators. The majority of those on the UN blacklist were opposition, rebel or terrorist groups linked to the Islamic State.
In Ethiopia’s Tigray region where conflict broke out last November between the government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, Guterres said more than 100 rapes had been alleged.
“There were also disturbing reports of individuals who had allegedly been forced to rape members of their own family under the threat of imminent violence, of women who had been forced by military elements to have sex in exchange for basic commodities and of s.e.xual violence being perpetrated against women and girls in refugee camps,” he said.
The UN report said inter-communal rifts intensified in South Sudan, where a significant number of perpetrators were members of civil defence groups, and in the DRC, where conflict was linked to disputes over natural resources and armed groups used sexual violence as a tactic to dehumanise and displace populations.
The secretary-general urged the UN Security Council to demand an immediate end to sexual violence by all parties to armed conflict, to ensure that perpetrators of sexual violence faced sanctions and to refer crimes of s.e.xual violence to the International Criminal Court.
He also encouraged UN member states, donors, regional and intergovernmental organisations to ensure that victims of s.e.xual violence were assisted and received reparations.
In other news – Businesswoman Shauwn Mkhize is building 20 homes for the underprivileged
Reality star and businesswoman Shauwn Mkhize has joined forces with SABC1 youth current affairs show “Expressions” and the Department of Correctional Services to build 20 houses throughout the year for the underprivileged.
The “mother of the nation”, as she is affectionately known, took to Instagram to share the story and video with her fans and followers. Learn more