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UN calls for an end to sexual violence and greater protection

United Nations, Jun 19 (Prensa Latina) The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, called for greater commitment to the elimination of sexual violence in conflicts while calling for greater solidarity with the victims and protection for hospitals and health institutions.

In his message on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, the head of the agency said this crime continues around the world despite widespread awareness and condemnation.

Last year saw harrowing reports of sexual violence from Sudan to Haiti to Israel, Guterres recalled, adding that all too often, perpetrators go free while survivors spend their entire lives recovering.

This year’s international date focuses attention on the need to protect health care in conflict situations.

“Hospitals and other health care facilities must be beacons of safety and healing for all those injured in conflict, including survivors of sexual violence. These are fundamental principles of international humanitarian law,” the UN chief remarked in this regard.

Attacks on health and sanitation facilities as well as health workers can severely limit access to medical care and psychosocial support for survivors, he said.

The Secretary General urged the elimination of this problem at a time when the world is experiencing the highest number of conflicts since World War II.

At the same time, he called for solidarity with survivors and a greater commitment to protect hospitals and health care facilities during conflicts.