Women_peace_and_security-5d60eThe UN Security Council yesterday held an open debate on sexual violence in conflict to send a strong signal to perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict that their crimes will not be tolerated. The council’s fifteen members unanimously adopted resolution 2106, which can be found here. Resolution 2106 joins other Security Council resolutions 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009) and 1960 (2010) on women peace and security; the pillar resolution being 1325 (2000).

This new resolution particularly emphasizes ending impunity for perpetrators of sexual violence, in stating, “more consistent and rigorous investigation and prosecution of sexual violence crimes as a central aspect of deterrence, and ultimately prevention.” The resolution also stresses that “effective steps to prevent and respond to such acts significantly contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security; and stresses women’s participation as essential to any prevention and protection response…”

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, addressed the council, particularly emphasizing that it is still largely “cost-free” to rape a woman, child or man in conflict.  Actress and activist Angelina Jolie, the Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also spoke, observing “That it is a crime to rape young children is not something I imagine anyone in this room would not be able to agree on,” but that the UN Security Council needed to take the lead in creating political will across the globe to end sexual violence.

To check out a full report on Resolution 2106′s passage, click here.