Women in Kilambo, near Lukweti, attempt to flee nearby fighting in October 2009. The women were robbed by Congolese army soldiers who forced them to turn back.

© 2009 Human Rights Watch

After years of our advocacy on ending rape as a weapon of war, we were proud to see the Security Council vote to create a senior position dedicated to ending sexual violence in armed conflict.

The groundwork was laid in June 2008, when the Security Council passed a resolution identifying rape during war as a problem in need of special attention and resources. For the last two years, we worked to create a climate in which the United Nations would be compelled to act. We met repeatedly with Bush administration officials to persuade them to take leadership on this issue. We distributed press releases, disseminated The Greatest Silence, a powerful film on the subject, and supported women’s groups worldwide to exert pressure on the Security Council.

Following the June 2008 vote, we intensified pressure on Security Council members to stand behind their vow and commit resources to stopping sexual violence in war. In the end, no country wanted to be seen as not taking sexual violence seriously, and the Security Council passed Resolution 1888, which provides for the senior position dedicated to ending rape in war. The resolution marks a huge step forward in protecting women during wartime. We are now pressing the secretary-general to fill the post soon, by early 2010.
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