Ukraine war: UN signs framework to assist survivors of sexual violence |

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Pramila Patten, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative trying to end rape in war, had been talking at a press seminar within the money, Kyiv. 

Standing alongside Olha Stefanishyna, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, she indicated solidarity with survivors, saying they’re not alone. 

“My promise to you is that international law will not be an empty promise. Today’s documentation will be tomorrow’s prosecution. And I want you to know that your rights don’t end when wars begin,” she stated.  

“Women’s rights don’t end when wars begin. Your bodies are not (a) battlefield and must never be treated as part of the battlefield.” 

Interventions and support 

Ms. Patten and Ms. Stefanishyna on Tuesday finalized a framework for cooperation that supports the style and distribution of concern interventions within the aspects of justice and accountability being a pillar that is central of and prevention. 

The agreement also addresses comprehensive service provision for survivors, including sexual and reproductive health services, medical and specialized mental health services, legal assistance, and support that is livelihood. 

Responding up to a reporter’s question, Ms. Stefanishyna described violence that is sexual in war as “one of the most silent types of crime”, underlining the difficulty of gathering information on exact numbers. 

“Today we have started working to gather this information using volunteers, working with medical facilities, and documenting these cases outside the criminal proceedings,” she said, speaking through an interpreter. 

Ms. Patten added that “we cannot expect to have accurate bookkeeping on an active battlefield,” stressing she does not wait for hard data and statistics to act. 

Services for men and boys 

Although sexual violence is mostly perpetrated against women and girls, Ms. Patten has also received reports of cases men that are involving men in Ukraine, that the UN have not yet verified.

“I am working with the different UN agencies to ensure that there are services adapted to the needs of men and boys, because everywhere in many conflict situations, I have observed that there is a lack of services adapted to the needs of men and boys,” she stated. 

Preventing individual trafficking 

The framework with the* that is( authorities also covers gender-responsive security sector reform, as well as prevention of conflict-related trafficking, amid rising displacement. 

More than five million people have fled Ukraine since the war began just over two months ago, generating the fastest-growing refugee crisis since the Second World War, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR

“It is a fact that conflict does exacerbate vulnerability to trafficking, and human trafficking of Ukrainian women can be a dangerous by-product of this conflict-fuelled refugee crisis,” said Ms. Patten, emphasizing the need that is critical mitigation measures. 

UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the*)-(* that is( on Sexual Violence in Conflict, briefs UN Security Council meeting on women and peace and security (file photo).

Sparing no effort 

The UN official also responded to questions about “extremely disturbing” reports of Ukrainian women who were raped before being killed.  She has met with the country’s Prosecutor General and said there is* that is( forensic proof such incidents. 

“This is very serious, and the United Nations, through this framework of cooperation that we have signed, will not spare any effort to bring perpetrators to justice,” she stated. 

Ms. Patten recognized that prosecution for instances of intimate physical violence committed in war is sold with challenges, saying it really is “never easy”.  

She reported on several non-governmental organizations to her meeting (NGOs) in Ukraine who have shared anecdotal reports. 

“One NGO representative was referring to cases where the perpetrator wore a mask, so identification becomes extremely difficult,” she said. 

Ms. Patten stated that “whatever reports are surfacing, they can only represent the tip of the iceberg,” highlighting the need to focus on reporting.  

‘Never again’ 

In this regard, she has also held discussions with the* that is( associated with the Ombudsman for Human Rights, that could establish “hubs” across Ukraine where individuals can report instances of intimate physical violence as well as enjoy medical, emotional along with other help. 

Having these safe areas available would additionally avert the individuals, who don’t contain the skillset that is adequate, interviewing victims, which carries the huge risk of re-traumatization and re-victimizing. 

“We have to learn lessons from the other conflicts where this has been the case, with victims interviewed over 10 times, 15 times, with all the inconsistencies in the reports which make their case not tenable in a court of law,” she said. 

“Every war, we say ‘never again’. I think this time we have to say, ‘never again” and mean it, and take the action that is necessary offer justice to these victims of intimate physical violence.”  

The world is watching* that is( mandate of the UN Special Representative was established by the Security Council more than a decade ago, to tackle conflict-related sexual violence as a peace and security issue. 

International human law makes it clear that even wars have limits, said Ms. Patten, and sexual violence is beyond the scope of acceptable conduct even in the midst of combat. 

Wartime rape can no longer be dismissed as an inevitable by-product of war. It must be recognized by all parties as a crime that can be prevented and punished,” she said. 

Although deeply concerned about what she called “the emboldening effects of impunity”, Ms. Patten said it was that is( 

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