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Last updateSam, 31 Jan 2015 10am

Sexual violence in Africa

UN, AU sign agreement to curb sexual violence in Africa – The UN and the African Union (AU) have signed a landmark agreement on the prevention of and response to conflict-related sexual violence in Africa, affirming their common commitment to put an end to history’s oldest and least condemned crime.

The agreement was signed by the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms. Zainab Bangura, and Ambassador Smail Chergui of Algeria, AU's Commissioner for Peace and Security on behalf of their organisations.

A UN statement issued in New York on Thursday quoted Ms. Bangura as saying all good forces must work together to combat the horrible scourge of sexual violence in war and conflict.

She noted that the agreement focused on key areas, such as combating impunity for perpetrators, capacity building and training to enhance the capacity of peacekeepers and security actors.

It also strengthens national policies, legislation and institutions working on conflict-related sexual violence, she said.

The UN official said 'national ownership, leadership and responsibility are absolutely essential if we are to protect women and girls, but also men and boys, from these barbaric crimes'.

The agreement also emphasises the importance of services for survivors, empowering women and girls, and countering the stigma of survivors.

The statement disclosed that the document was signed on 31 January, the final day of the 22nd African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The meeting was attended by leaders from 54 African member states and UN Deputy Secretary-General, Mr. Jan Eliasson who said that 'peace, development and human rights, as well as the rule of law, are inextricably linked'.

Pana 08/02/2014