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U.N., Governments Taking Action To Curb Violence Against Women

Noting that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last month told the U.N. Security Council “that sexual violence occurred wherever conflicts raged, ‘devastating survivors and destroying the social fabric of whole communities,'” Inter Press Service reports “the United Nations is unleashing an army of Women Protection Advisers (WPAs) to specifically curb sexual violence in war zones.” First, the WPAs “will be deployed with peacekeeping missions in South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, [Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)], Mali and Somalia,” the news service notes. “Asked if these WPAs will be confined to Africa, Andre-Michel Essoungou of the Public Affairs Division at the U.N.’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support told IPS, ‘There is no restriction to a region of the world in this regard. But the process is starting with these missions for the time being,'” the news service writes (Deen, 7/16). In a separate article, IPS reports on how human rights advocates are using the legal system in India “to protect women against violence, and [push] for harsh punitive measures against those who violate women’s rights” (Biswas, 7/16).

On Tuesday, U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, speaking “at an event in New York on harnessing the power of technology to prevent violence against women and girls,” said, “Technology has enormous power to highlight and record human rights violations and to raise awareness so that we change mindsets and deal with violence at its roots,” the U.N. News Centre reports. Eliasson “also highlighted the secretary general’s global campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women, which is successfully mobilizing governments, civil society and other partners to end this global scourge,” the news service notes (7/16).