UN to help tackle sex­ual vi­o­lence

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

UNITED NA­TIONS (AP): THE UNITED Na­tions and Iraq signed an agree­ment Fri­day aimed at help­ing the Bagh­dad gov­ern­ment tackle sex­ual vi­o­lence in con­flict, an is­sue that made head­lines fol­low­ing the cap­ture and rape of Yazidi women by Is­lamic State ex­trem­ists in 2014.

Zainab Hawa Ban­gura, the UN spe­cial en­voy for sex­ual vi­o­lence in con­flict, and Iraq’s For­eign Min­is­ter Ibrahim Al-Jaf­fari signed the joint com­mu­nique on the side­lines of the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly’s an­nual min­is­te­rial meet­ing.

Ban­gura said that the Is­lamic State group has in­flicted “un­speak­able suf­fer­ing” on civil­ians, in­clud­ing the tar­get­ing of Yazidis and other mi­nori­ties such as Turk­men Shia, Shia Shabak and Iraqi Chris­tians.

She said the UN-Iraq col­lab­o­ra­tion will es­pe­cially fo­cus on chal­lenges Iraq faces with ac­count­abil­ity for sex­ual vi­o­lence and bring­ing per­pe­tra­tors to jus­tice. To date, there have been no tri­als.

Ban­gura’s of­fice said the sup­port en­vi­sioned un­der the agree­ment will in­clude doc­u­ment­ing and col­lect­ing ev­i­dence of al­leged sex crimes, strength­en­ing Iraq’s le­gal frame­work to bet­ter ad­dress sex­ual vi­o­lence and putting in place pro­ce­dures for com­pen­sat­ing vic­tims.

Ban­gura re­called a visit to Iraq last year where Yazidi girls de­scribed be­ing “in­spected like live­stock, sold in mod­ern­day slave, marked and then re­peat­edly raped by the fight­ers who bought them”.

Some es­caped, she said, but thou­sands of Yazidis, in­clud­ing women and girls, are still miss­ing.

WAR CRIMES

“I do be­lieve that these crimes amount to war crimes, crimes against hu­man­ity, and acts of geno­cide,” Ban­gura said.

Ear­lier this week, 23-year-old Na­dia Mu­rad, a Yazidi woman who was cap­tured by the IS group in 2014 but es­caped, was named a UN good­will am­bas­sador for the Of­fice on Drugs and Crime, where she will cam­paign for “the dig­nity of sur­vivors of hu­man traf­fick­ing”. Mu­rad, who said she was raped, and prayed for death while in cap­tiv­ity, was ac­com­pa­nied by her Bri­tish lawyer, Amal Clooney, the wife of ac­tor Ge­orge Clooney.

FILE

Is­lamic State group mil­i­tants took this photo of Yazidi girl Naz­dar Mu­rat as part of a data­base the mil­i­tants have put to­gether of Yazidi girls and women they have en­slaved.

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