UN Special Representative to speak in Aberdeen on sexual violence in conflict

UN Special Representative to speak in Aberdeen on sexual violence in conflict

Members of the public will have the opportunity next week (Thursday, May 9) to hear from the UN Secretary General's Special Representative on Sexual Violence in situation of Conflict.

The University of Aberdeen’s Centre for Sustainable Development and the School of Law will host the event, and will welcome Zainab Bangura as speaker.

On April 11, a historic declaration was signed in London by the G8 foreign ministers who pledged to work together to combat sexual violence in situations of conflict.

Sharing the platform with the UK’s foreign secretary William Hague were actress Angelina Jolie in her personal role as Special Envoy of UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and Ms Bangura.

The public event, entitled Ending impunity for sexual violence, will take place onThursday, May 9, from 1-2pm in the Arts Lecture Theatre, King’s College.

The Arts Lecture Theatre is accessed off King Street near the roundabout with St Machar Drive. Entry is free and there is no requirement to book.

Speaking on the G8 Declaration at the event in London Ms Bangura said: “Today we join hands and lift our voices in unison, breaking silence on history’s oldest and least condemned crime – sexual violence used as a weapon of war.

“Your Declaration today further affirms our conviction that sexual violence in conflict is a fundamental threat to international peace and security, and as such requires an operational and strategic security and justice response.”

Dr Hilary Homans, Director of the Centre for Sustainable International Development, said: “We are delighted to welcome Zainab Bangura to Aberdeen – her work to support education, health, development, and prevent violence is exemplary. 

“This is a tremendous honour for the University and provides further support for our work towards global zero tolerance for gender-based violence.

“It is also most timely as the visit coincides with the finalisation of the UN report I have been working on to chart progress made amongst uniformed service personnel in combating sexual violence in the Asia and Pacific region.”

For further information about the event, please visit: www.abdn.ac.uk/sustainable-international-development/events/2753/

Issued by the Communications Team, Office of External Afairs, University of Aberdeen, King’s College, Regent Walk. Tel: 01224 274202. Contact Laura McCombie

Notes to Editors

MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES: Thursday, May 9, 11.30am – 12.00noon or 2.00 - 2.30pm

Zainab Hawa Bangura, Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict

In June 2012 United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of Zainab Hawa Banguraof Sierra Leone as his Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict at the level of Under-Secretary-General. Prior to this, Ms Bangura was the Minister of Health and Sanitation for the Government of Sierra Leone, and brings to the position over 20 years of policy, diplomatic and practical experience in the field of governance, conflict resolution and reconciliation in Africa. She was previously the second female Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, including Chief Adviser and Spokesperson of the President on bilateral and international issues. Ms. Bangura has been instrumental in developing national programmes on affordable health, advocating for the elimination of genital mutilation, managing the country’s Peace Building Commission and contributing to the multilateral and bilateral relations with the international community.

The Declaration signed in April includes the following commitments:

  • agreement that rape and serious sexual violence in conflict are grave breaches of the Geneva Convention, as well as war crimes
  • commitment to the development of a comprehensive International Protocol on the Investigation and Documentation of rape and sexual violence in conflict, for which the UK will take the lead, working with experts from all over the world
  • the declaration that there should never be any amnesty for sexual violence in peace agreements, and there should be explicit recognition of the need for accountability for sexual violence in any peace agreements that G8 nations are involved in
  • the promise to review the doctrine and training G8 countries provide to their own national military and police, ensuring that all deployed to warzones are trained on responding to sexual violence in conflict, and that this is reflected in training for peacekeeping troops of other nations. 
  •  support for the deployment of international experts to help build up the judicial, investigative and legal capacity of other countries in this area
  • a call for increased funding for international prevention and response efforts. We need to increase the resources available globally to combat sexual violence in conflict