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News: UNSC to debate conflict-related sexual violence; annual report includes Ethiopia for first time

Members of the UNSC in session. Picture: UNSC/Archive

Addis Abeba – Members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will hold the annual open debate on conflict-related sexual violence today. This year’s theme is titled “Accountability as Prevention: Ending Cycles of Sexual Violence in Conflict.” According to a dispatch on Security Council report portal, “for the first time, this year’s annual report includes a section on Ethiopia, which mainly refers to the findings of the November 2021 joint report by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, the national human rights institution of Ethiopia.”

The OHCHR/HRC joint report investigated “alleged human rights violations and abuses, and violations of international humanitarian law, and refugee law committed in the context of the conflict in Tigray.”

The report identified several forms of conflict-related abuses including sexual violence against women and girls as well as men, boys and older women and women with disability. The report implicated parties to the conflict, including the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF), and Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF) and said that “there are reasonable grounds to believe that some of the acts of sexual violence committed by EDF were “marked with extreme brutality.”

The UNSC meeting today will be chaired by Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, UK Minister of State for South Asia, North Africa, the UN and the Commonwealth, and the UK Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict. Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Pramila Patten and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Murad are expected to brief. Two civil society representatives are also expected to brief. AS

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