MALI: Combatants and Their Commanders Must Be Held Accountable For Any Acts of Sexual Violence

As unrest continues in northern Mali, an alarming number of acts of sexual violence have been reported. Allegations include abductions, public rapes and subjecting women and girls to acts of sexual violence in front of family members.

I condemn in the strongest possible terms every incident of alleged sexual violence committed against Malian women and girls, and call on all parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law. Any party to the conflict credibly suspected of committing or being responsible for patterns of rape and other forms of sexual violence can be publicly named and shamed by the Secretary-General as a basis for Security Council action. Acts of conflict-related sexual violence can constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity for which combatants and their commanders will be held to account. Sexual violence contributes to the destabilization of the region and the denial of women's rights. Any peaceful solution achieved through political dialogue must include women and must address the crime of rape. We continue to monitor the situation in Mali and in other conflicts where sexual violence may occur, and stand in solidarity with the survivors.

- Margot Wallström, SRSG on Sexual Violence and Conflicts