Saturday, 23 September 2017 13:52

Statement by Under-Secretary-General Ms. Pramila Patten Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Welcoming the Adoption of Security Council resolution 2379 on Accountability for Daesh Crimes

(New York, 22 September 2017)
I welcome the adoption by the Security Council of resolution 2379 on accountability for the acts committed by Daesh in Iraq. The resolution explicitly condemns forced marriage, trafficking in persons, rape, sexual slavery and other forms of sexual violence, and recognises that the commission of such acts may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide. I commend the Government of Iraq and the members of the Council for their unanimous resolve to ensure justice for survivors of such atrocities.

Over the past three years the United Nations Secretary-General has documented in his annual reports the use of sexual violence by certain extremist groups such as Daesh, Boko Haram and Al Shabaab as a tactic of war and terrorism. The sexual violence acts perpetrated by Daesh have not only been systematic but institutionalized as part of their ideology and instructions to their fighters. They have used sexual violence as a tool to advance core strategic objectives such as incentivizing recruitment through the promise of women and girls to the young men enlisted to their cause; fundraising through the sale, trade and trafficking of women and girls; as a means of punishing, controlling and displacing civilian populations; or as a tool of interrogation employed especially against men and boys. The use of sexual violence as a tactic of terrorism which was acknowledged by the Security Council in another landmark resolution 2331 adopted in December 2016, provides for the first time a framework to combat this new phenomenon is a more structured way.

In my interactions with the women and girls who have escaped Daesh captivity, including members of the Yezidi community, their resounding message is that the perpetrators must be held to account. They also insist that the estimated 3000 women who are still held captive by Daesh in Iraq and Syria are found and returned to their families. The survivors of these brutal crimes demand and deserve justice and dignity. This is a critical part of healing and rebuilding their lives. Accountability is also essential for the prevention of future atrocities.

This is why it is so important that the Investigation Team that is to be established under resolution 2379 includes specific expertise on gender and sexual violence to ensure the documentation of sexual violence. This is consistent with the priorities of the United Nations and the Government of Iraq, as expressed in a Joint Communique to prevent and address sexual violence that was signed in September 2016. My Office is supporting national authorities at federal and regional levels in the implementation of the specific commitments under the Joint Communique, through my Team of Experts on the Rule of Law / Sexual Violence in Conflict and the UN Action network. In this regard, I look forward to working closely with the Special Adviser and Investigation Team called for by resolution 2379.

The courage and resilience of the survivors of sexual violence is an inspiration and clarion call to action to us all. I stand in solidarity with them.
For media inquiries, please contact: Letitia Anderson: Office of the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, New York. Tel: +1 212 963 0910 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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  • Agency: UNAMI

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