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UN wants reparations for victims of sexual violence in conflict

Friday, June 13, 2014    

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LONDON, England (CMC) - A United Nations call for reparations for victims of sexual violence in conflict comes amidst Caribbean Community (Caricom) demands for reparations for slavery from Europe.

In launching a set of guidelines on reparations for the individuals and the communities affected on Wednesday, the UN said the victims of conflict-related sexual violence need help in rebuilding their lives.

"Stronger action is the need of the hour, and sexual violence in conflict is a front line concern for us," said UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

"We need to move this agenda forward in order to ensure real change in the lives of survivors who have seen the horrors of sexual violence in conflict up close," she added.

The UN Secretary General's Guidance Note on Reparations for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence, launched jointly with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), calls for "long-term, in-depth solutions", such as land and inheritance rights, not just a once-off cash payment.

The guidance note was released at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, currently underway here, co-chaired by UN Special Envoy, Angelina Jolie, and British Foreign, Secretary William Hague.

The guideline was developed for the UN system, with principles applicable to all parties, including member states and civil society actors who are developing, supporting, and implementing reparations policies and programming, according to the UN agency.

Caricom's plan, adopted during the 25th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in St Vincent and the Grenadines on March 10, includes a call for a formal apology for slavery, debt cancellation from former colonizers and reparation payments to address the 'persisting psychological trauma' from the days of plantation slavery.

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