ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones

A Challenge for International Law?

Sexual and gender-based violence in conflict zones is largely regarded as an inevitable by-product of war, random acts of a few renegades, or mere collateral damage. Though a process for concerted action against SGBV during armed conflicts has taken shape in the wake of the United Nations Security Council resolutions as well as incorporation of crimes of sexual violence in the statutes of International Criminal Court and international criminal tribunals, more needs to be done to squarely address this menace.

Sexual violence has often been used as a tactic of war. It is not just rape out of control, but rape under orders, as means of pursuing military, political or economic ends. The Indian subcontinent witnessed horrors of systematic rape of hundreds of thousands (figures range between 2,00,000 and 4,00,000) Bengali women in the Pakistani armys effort to crush the 1971 Bangladeshi liberation movement. In recent years, the island nation of Sri Lanka is trying to come to terms with the aftermath of 26 long years of brutal violence perpetrated by both the security forces and the secessionist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has alleged commission of egregious crimes between 2002 and 2011. The OHCHR report has emphasised:

(O)ur investigation has laid bare the horrific level of violations and abuses that occurred in Sri Lanka, including indiscriminate shelling, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, harrowing accounts of torture and sexual violence, recruitment of children and other grave crimes.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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