U.N. Security Council Approves Watered-Down Version Of German-Proposed Resolution On Sexual Violence In Conflict After U.S. Threatens Veto Over Reproductive Health Language

Foreign Policy: How a U.N. Bid to Prevent Sexual Violence Turned Into a Spat Over Abortion
“The Trump administration pressured Germany into watering down a United Nations resolution aimed at preventing rape in conflict situations, forcing it to remove language on sexual and reproductive health that key Trump administration officials say normalizes sexual activity and condones abortion, according to U.N.-based diplomats and an internal State Department cable reviewed by Foreign Policy. The United States was set to veto the resolution, underscoring the growing rift between Washington and its European allies and the increasing U.S. isolation in multilateral institutions under President Donald Trump. But Germany relented and stripped the resolution of the language to secure the U.S. vote. It passed on Tuesday afternoon with 13 votes in favor. Two countries, Russia and China, abstained…” (Gramer/Lynch, 4/23).

The Guardian: U.N. waters down rape resolution to appease U.S.’s hardline abortion stance
“…Other omissions included calls for a working group to review progress on ending sexual violence. The U.K. backed the resolution, but expressed regret about the omission on reproductive health care. … France and Belgium also expressed disappointment at the watered down text. … The agreed-upon resolution was a sliver of what the Germans had put forward earlier this month. The zero draft included progressive text on strengthening laws to protect and support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who could be targeted during conflict. It also made specific mention of the need for women to have access to safe terminations. But the resolution — number 2467 — did for the first time make specific calls for greater support for children born as a result of rape in conflict, as well as their mothers, who can face a lifetime of stigma. It also gave prominence to the experiences of men and boys…” (Ford, 4/23).

Reuters: Bowing to U.S. demands, U.N. waters down resolution on sexual violence in conflict
“…The language promoting sexual and reproductive health is long-agreed internationally, including in resolutions adopted by the Security Council in 2009 and 2013 and several resolutions adopted annually by the 193-member General Assembly. The text adopted on Tuesday simply reaffirms the council’s commitment to the 2009 and 2013 resolutions. A reference to the work of the International Criminal Court in fighting the most serious crimes against women and girls was also watered-down to win over Washington, which is not a member of the institution. … The council voted after hearing briefings from Nobel Peace Prize winners Nadia Murad, an Iraqi Yazidi woman who was held as a sex slave by Islamic State militants, [and] Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege, who treats rape victims, [as well as] Libyan rights activist Inas Miloud and international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney…” (Nichols, 4/23).

Washington Post: The U.N. wanted to end sexual violence in war. Then the Trump administration had objections
“…For advocates dedicated to ending sexual violence in conflict, the U.S. resistance appeared especially contradictory for an administration that has often portrayed itself as championing the rights of Yazidi women, who have faced sexual violence by the Islamic State in recent years. Human rights groups argue that the U.S. move sends the wrong message, after decades in which sexual violence has become a more systematically used weapon of war. Whereas rape has often accompanied conflict in history, the use of sexual violence as a systematic intimidation tool mostly emerged in the 20th century…” (Noack, 4/24).

Additional coverage of the U.N. resolution is available from ABC News, Agence France-Presse, Al Jazeera, Associated Press, BBC News, CNN, Daily Beast, Deutsche Welle, The Hill, The Independent, NPR, TIME, and U.N. News.

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