France denounces United States opposition to "25 years of gains in favor of women's rights"


The UN Security Council in New York on July 13, 2011 – Stan Honda AFP

France strongly criticized the attitude of the United States, on Tuesday at the Security Council of
the UN, which has gutted a German draft resolution supposed to intensify the protection of female victims
sexual violence during conflict.

"We are dismayed by the fact that a state has demanded the removal of the reference to sexual and reproductive health that has been approved" in previous resolutions in 2009 and 2013, said French Ambassador to the UN François Delattre.

The text amputated at the request of the United States

"We regret that veto threats have been waged by permanent members of this Council to challenge 25 years of gains in favor of women's rights in situations of armed conflict," he added. After amputation of many mentions at the request of the United States, but also of Russia and China, the resolution was adopted by 13 votes and two abstentions, those of Moscow and Beijing.

"Major concessions were granted under the pressure of several permanent members who did not allow the text to go as far as we would have liked," said François Delattre. "It is inexplicable that access to sexual and reproductive health is not explicitly recognized to victims of sexual violence, who are often the target of atrocities and barbarous mutilations," the diplomat also said.

Washington does not want to promote abortions

While "victims obviously need this care," "this omission is unacceptable and undermines the dignity of women," he insisted. "Similarly, it is intolerable and incomprehensible that the Security Council is unable to recognize that women and girls who have suffered sexual violence in times of conflict and who have obviously not chosen to be pregnant, have the right to to have the choice to terminate their pregnancy, "he said.

"Women must be able to freely dispose of their bodies," he said. According to diplomats, the opposition of the conservative administration of Donald Trump was decisive to prevent a consensus on this subject. For more than a week, Washington has tried to erase in the text the references to women who become pregnant after a rape, so as not to favor abortions.

"What does the international community want to do justice to the victims"

Congolese Nobel Peace Laureates Denis Mukwege and Yazidie Nadia Murad have called for the UN Security Council
justice for the victims of sexual violence in conflict. "Not one person has been brought to justice for sexual slavery," Nadia Murad denounced, referring to her community destroyed by the Islamic State jihadist group in Iraq and Syria.

"We make speeches at the UN but no concrete action is taken" on justice and "nothing has been done," she insisted. "What the international community is waiting for to render justice to the victims," ​​Denis Mukwege also asked, also calling for the establishment of national or international courts dedicated to the trial of those guilty of sexual violence in conflict.