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Stopping sexual violence against children

There was fantastic news this week for those of us trying to get real action to stop rape and and other forms of sexual violence against children during wars and other armed conflicts. Save the Children’s UK’s own research last year with children in countries affected by conflict indicated that tackling this was one of the children’s most important priorities.  Earlier this year we published a report urging action on this and and went to New York to lobby for the UN to take urgent action to ‘name and shame’ those who are involved in using this horriifc – and increasing – weapon of war. The UK government agreed with our views and promised to support our recommendations.

This week we heard that the UN Security Council has unanimously agreed to do exactly what we asked – to make evidence of serious sexual violence against children a reason for the UN Secretary General to identify those involved in his annual report to the Security Council on children in armed conflict.  Until now the only reason for adding names to the so-called ‘list of shame’ was that armed forces or groups were recruiting and using child soldiers. Now the use of sexual violence will be another reason as well, and it will result in much greater monitoring and reporting of what is going on on the ground, and various kinds of action and sanctions to bring it to a stop.

This may not sound like much, but in fact it means that much greater pressure will be applied at local and international levels to stop sexual violence against children. Save the Children’s country programmes working on this issue will now have new ways to help those children who have been affected by sexual violence, or who are at risk every day. For children whose lives may be utterly destroyed by sexual violence this is a really important breakthrough!

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