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UN must do more to end rape in conflict zones

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When wars are waged, they are fought with guns and grenades, mortars and shells. The scenes are familiar, with the flak-jacketed TV reporter on the ground name-checking a missile as it cruises overhead. The numbers of casualties and displaced people make the headlines. But there is another battlefield where wars are waged, too — one so intimate that it's all too often absent from the history books, courtroom records and media reports. In conflict, women's bodies are battlefields, too. For as long as armies have marched into battle, sexual violence has accompanied war, and, yet, allowing its existence to legitimize its use as a weapon is a crime in itself. As members of the international community, our time of standing by and sanctioning it with our silence is up.

Read more: Child sex abuse inquiry in Germany says victims need more support

The rules of war are set out under international humanitarian law. "The law is clear: Rape and other forms of sexual violence are a violation," Peter Maurer, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said in a speech in February. "The Geneva Conventions made this prohibition clear and universal, and yet 70 years on we continue to face failures of behavior and accountability." Indeed, it is hard to overstate how much work........

© Deutsche Welle