Lilianne Ploumen writes in the The Guardian:
In countless conflicts, rival parties weaponise women’s bodies as part of their strategy – has anyone been held accountable?
Rape has been acknowledged as a weapon of war since the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. But this has not stopped perpetrators from carrying out such atrocities.
The UN security council has the power to act. It can issue sanctions against a country and specifically include sexual violence against women and girls as a reason. Perpetrators can be hit by a travel ban, have their financial assets frozen, and an arms embargo can be implemented. It can make them pariahs of the international community, and rightly so.
However, research by Georgetown University shows that targeted sanctions for sexual violence are mostly not being used.
We can do better: we should aim for one worldwide sanctions regime to address sexual and gender-based violence in conflict. One that will sanction all those who weaponise women’s bodies and that can be applied regardless of borders. One regime that can be implemented without ongoing, fruitless debates – perpetrators of sexual violence should be sanctioned regardless of what the security council wants.
Individuals and entities who conduct conflict-related sexual violence would be listed and all UN states would be required to apply sanctions against them. It would bring justice for women and girls and enforce security council resolution 1820, adopted in 2008, which condemns the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war. No more negotiating country by country, vulnerable to the geopolitics of the day.