Bowing to U.S. demands, U.N. waters down resolution on sexual violence in conflict

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – A U.S. risk to veto U.N. Security Council motion on sexual violence in conflict was averted on Tuesday after a long-agreed phrase was eliminated as a result of President Donald Trump’s administration sees it as code for abortion, diplomats stated.

The United Nations emblem is seen in the U.N. General Assembly corridor throughout the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

A German-drafted resolution was adopted after a reference to the necessity for U.N. our bodies and donors to give well timed “sexual and reproductive health” help to survivors of sexual violence was lower to appease the United States.

“It is intolerable and incomprehensible that the Security Council is incapable of acknowledging that women and girls who suffered from sexual violence in conflict – and who obviously didn’t choose to become pregnant – should have the right to terminate their pregnancy,” French U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre informed the 15-member physique after the vote.

The language selling sexual and reproductive well being is long-agreed internationally, together with in resolutions adopted by the Security Council in 2009 and 2013 and several other resolutions adopted yearly by the 193-member General Assembly.

The textual content adopted on Tuesday merely reaffirms the council’s dedication to the 2009 and 2013 resolutions. A reference to the work of the International Criminal Court in preventing probably the most critical crimes towards girls and women was additionally watered-down to win over Washington, which isn’t a member of the establishment.

Before the vote, appearing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Jonathan Cohen informed the Security Council: “None of us can turn our backs on this issue.”

“It requires the engagement of all member states and of the United Nations to support the efforts of those fighting to protect women, provide accountability, and support survivors,” he stated.


Thirteen council members voted in favor of the resolution, whereas Russia and China abstained over quite a few considerations – together with a German push for expanded U.N. monitoring of sexual violence in conflict – and even circulated their very own rival draft textual content, which they didn’t put to a vote.

“Please do not even try to paint us as opponents of the fight against sexual violence in conflict. Our stance on this issue remains firm and unyielding, this scourge has to be eliminated,” Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia stated.

The council voted after listening to briefings from Nobel Peace Prize winners Nadia Murad, an Iraqi Yazidi girl who was held as a intercourse slave by Islamic State militants, Congolese physician Denis Mukwege, who treats rape victims, Libyan rights activist Inas Miloud, and worldwide human rights lawyer Amal Clooney.

“Dark clouds are hanging over the chamber of the Security Council,” South African U.N. Ambassador Jerry Matjila informed reporters forward of the vote, describing it as “a sad day.”

The U.S. risk to veto the Security Council resolution was the newest in a string of strikes made by Washington on the United Nations that some U.N. diplomats say has been pushed by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, a conservative Christian who staunchly opposes abortion rights.

Pence’s workplace didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. Cohen didn’t converse after the council vote.

Washington lower its funding in 2017 for the U.N. Population Fund as a result of it “supports, or participates in the management of, a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.” The United Nations stated that was an inaccurate notion.

In 2018 Washington unsuccessfully tried to take away language on sexual and reproductive well being from a number of General Assembly resolutions, then failed in the same marketing campaign final month throughout the annual U.N. Commission on the Status of Women assembly.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Susan Thomas

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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