Academics, Our World UN

#014

HOW TO STOP SEXUAL SLAVERY IN CONFLIT ZONES
Olivia Caeymaex, UNU Our World (2014.11.12)

“These cases of sexual slavery, like many in the past, show the weaknesses of the international community’s ability to respond. Military intervention does not address the root causes of sexual slavery, nor will it prevent it from taking place again. Stronger reporting and judicial mechanisms are a first step to tracking and prosecuting cases of sexual slavery.”

I know I am a really negative person but I don’t know how it would be possible to implement judicial mechanisms on an international level. I am glad people research about this and show the world how awfully women are treated around the globe. I would love to help them relay the message and try to make people realize that if we are wearing short pants and transparent tank tops without being too worried about what could happen to us, some women are being abducted, raped and sold just because they believe in another God or because they were at the wrong place, at the wrong moment. Some are condemned to death for looking at a man on the street, while others have to serve men without complaining. Then you would laugh, knowing how people were fighting to know if we should keep the title ‘Mademoiselle’ in French, since some people considered it as offensive.

But more pragmatically, what can be done to protect those women? Who will represent them, and in what court? Who will go there, listen to them and then find all the men (and women) who did that to them? The example of the sex slaves issue in Korea, referring to women being forced to serve Japanese soldiers during the occupation, is quite clear: when two countries like Japan and Korea are not able to deal with this issue and that no international court is meddling, what can be done about terrorist groups, human webs that cannot be apprehended? Do you bring them to court one by one? Of course, it goes against human rights, but how do you arrest them? Who would?

“Today the ICC has jurisdiction to try cases of sexual slavery, but no one has been convicted of sexual crimes by the court as of yet. The ICC recently Congolese warlord Katanga on charges of rape and sexual slavery, but he was acquitted due to lack of evidence. Poor reporting contributes to inhibiting the court’s ability to prosecute such crimes.”

“In 2009 the UN established a Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict in recognition of the detrimental impact of sexual violence on peace and security. But gaps remain in the UN’s ability to respond to the nuances of sexual slavery because this office focuses on sexual violence in conflict zones only. Terrorist and criminal groups commit sexual crimes in areas not considered conflict zones. The UN’s role in these areas should be strengthened to help develop local monitoring and judicial mechanisms to report and try such crimes.”

I want those people to be punished for the wrongdoings they have done. I wish people would listen to these women and help them overcome the tragedy they went through. How can we save those women (and girls) from their abductors? How can we let them live in a safer environment? Because being raped goes against their rights, but I also believe that living in fear every day, not being able to move freely, also goes against their rights.

I also wish I was an optimist person who believed that all of this would be possible. That someday, we won’t read all those dreadful stories in newspapers and on the Internet. But I can’t picture that in the near future. Or further. Because we lack institutional and social force to do that. States are still jealously watching over their prerogatives while the “global society” is not able to act that internationally. We talk big and don’t act. I know I shouldn’t criticize institutions such as the UN because people working there are certainly passionate and desperate to solve all those issues. And me writing about this won’t change a thing, especially looking at the negative review. But I couldn’t help thinking about this when I read this article.

***

Listening to: 로이킴 (Roy Kim) – Home

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