Sexual violence is a specifically reprehensible form of violence, and includes rape and any other attack of a sexual nature perpetuated against both males and females. Its repercussions can be iniquitous, and may include acute and physical repercussions for survivors and witnesses. Human trafficking can also lead to sexual violence, and I will be discussing the issue of 'modern slavery' in this article. I will also highlight the brutal effects of sexual violence in conflict.
There is precedent for women to play a principle role in paving the way for peace: prominent historical examples can be found in Northern Ireland, Liberia and Argentina. But even more than grassroots movements, there's an international legal basis for women to have greater involvement in the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security
As Israeli military operations reignited in Gaza on July 8, the familiar indignant echo of "something must be done" rang out around the liberal and non-interventionist quarters of the Western world in a show of solidarity with the trampled Palestinian people that, while admirable, all too often fails to delineate exactly to whom the appeals for reason should be addressed.
Words cannot describe the hopelessness I felt emanating from these camps, and I am not surprised that so many families decide to take the next step and leave Syria altogether. If we could just get access and reach them, it might not solve the conflict, but it would lessen the burden for families who have lost everything and ease the pressure on neighbouring countries.
Sexual violence has been a central feature of the conflicts that have raged through the region for decades. Thousands of men, women and children are affected each year in activities that constitute war crimes under the Geneva Conventions.
For me the solution seems clear cut, military action must be taken to stop the Assad regime destroying Syria and its citizens, literally. We cannot end up with another situation like Rwanda where in the eyes of then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the world could not bring itself to act. That must not be allowed to happen again.
Some places almost never get the attention they deserve. One of these is the Democratic Republic of Congo. A vast country of some 80 million people, at the heart of Africa. It has struggled since independence in 1960 with a poor colonial legacy, cold war manipulations, venal and incompetent governments, and a succession of wars.