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Another Pandemic is Ravaging African States

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dr. Denis Mukwege warned Wednesday that the scourge of sexual violence and rape in all conflicts is now “a real pandemic” and without sanctions and justice for the victims these horrific acts won’t stop. The Congolese doctor told the U.N. Security Council in a video briefing that “we are still far away from being able to draw a red line against the use of rape and sexual violence as a strategy of war domination and terror.” Mukwege said there has been progress in international law, and the greatest challenge today is to transform commitments into obligations, and Security Council resolutions into results. Accountability and justice “are the best tools of prevention,” he said, and without punishment and sanctions, rapes and sexual violence in conflicts will continue. Mukwege spoke at a council meeting on Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ latest report on sexual violence in conflict that said the COVID-19 pandemic led to a spike in gender-based violence last year. It focused on 18 countries where the U.N. said it has verified information that 52 warring parties are “credibly suspected” of patterns of “rape and other forms of sexual violence” in conflicts on the council agenda. The majority of the parties are opposition, rebel and terrorist groups — so-called “non-state actors” — and over 70% “are persistent perpetrators.”