The Global Persecution of Women
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law. In this respect, the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
States Parties shall take all appropriate measures:(a) To modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women;
United Nations peacekeepers
Human Rights Watch, "We'll Kill You if You Cry": Sexual Violence in the Sierra Leone Conflict. January 2003.
Human Rights Watch has documented several cases of sexual violence by peacekeepers with the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), including the rape of a twelve-year-old girl in Bo by a soldier of the Guinean contingent and the gang rape of a woman by two Ukrainian soldiers near Kenema. There appears to be reluctance on the part of UNAMSIL to investigate and take disciplinary measures against the perpetrators. Reports of rape by peacekeepers with the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG), the majority of whom were Nigerian, deployed at an earlier stage in the war, were rare. Both ECOMOG and UNAMSIL peacekeepers have sexually exploited women, including the solicitation of child prostitutes, whilst deployed in Sierra Leone.
Irwin Arieff, Sex for aid scandal alarms UN, National Post Online, 28 Feb. 2002.
Annan to crack down on relief workers abusing children
UNITED NATIONS - Shocked by findings of widespread child sex abuse by aid workers in West Africa, Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary-General, vowed yesterday to quickly look into the allegations and crack down on wrongdoers.
Mr. Annan "is clearly shocked and disturbed at the news [and] reiterates the policy of zero tolerance for any such acts perpetrated by anyone employed by or affiliated with the United Nations," Marie Okabe, a UN spokeswoman, told reporters. "He intends to act forcefully should any of these allegations be confirmed...."
A UN investigative team is already in the region to look into the findings -- made public on Tuesday -- of the study by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and Britain's Save the Children.
The report was based on a 40-day mission in October and November to take testimony from 1,500 children and adults in the region.
The study of refugee camps in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone found that almost 70 aid workers from 40 agencies had been coercing refugee children into having sex with them in exchange for food, medicine and other supplies sent to save their lives.
Most of those implicated were staffers who had been hired locally by private relief groups or UN agencies, although some UN peacekeepers in Sierra Leone were also involved, the study said.
Most of the allegations were that male staff from the countries where the refugees had sought shelter pressed girls between the ages of 13 and 18 into having sex with them in exchange for relief material and services.
Boys are also exploited to gain access to the girls and their mothers, but there were no reports of homosexual activity.
Children without parents were the most vulnerable, the report found.
In a region numbed by horror, many people showed no surprise.
"This is not new," said Sampa Sesay, a woman who fled Sierra Leone's war for the capital, Freetown, and now lives at the Railway Compound Camp. "It is not only for food. Some of the displaced or refugee girls that are going to school are only there because they make love with the aid workers that are caring for them."
The scandal raised a new problem for the UNHCR agency in Africa. Last month, UN investigators reported its workers in Nairobi illegally collected millions of dollars from refugees to help them leave Africa in the early 1990s.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by a dozen years of fighting in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Ron Redmond, UNHCR's chief spokesman in Geneva, said, "Most of the hands-on work in refugee camps anywhere around the world is done by locally hired staff. This has always been a problem in refugee camps."
He said the apparent scale of the latest affair was probably because two of the three countries involved had no effective central government over long periods and the region had some of the worst poverty in the world.
Responding to reports UN peacekeepers had been involved, Margaret Novicki, a spokeswoman for the Sierra Leone mission, said, "We haven't seen the report yet but we would investigate the allegations to see if there's any truth in them and take appropriate action if anything is found."
At the New York headquarters of UNICEF, the UN children's agency, Carol Bellamy, the executive director, said, "Addressing this problem is a major priority for UNICEF and has been a key part of our ongoing work to protect the rights and dignity of children."
Monday, 28 January, 2002, 15:10 GMT
Frances Harrison, 'Rape by Sri Lanka police grows', BBC News, 28 Jan. 2002.
Tamil women have suffered grievously in the civil war
The London-based human rights organisation Amnesty International says there has been a marked increase in cases of alleged rape by the Sri Lankan security forces in the last year.
Amnesty called on the newly elected government to send a clear message to the army, police and navy that sexual violence in custody would not be tolerated.
The timing of the appeal is interesting as it comes against the backdrop of efforts by both sides in the country's civil war to prepare the ground for peace talks.
Amnesty International says the majority of incidents of alleged rape occurred in the context of Sri Lanka's civil war.
This means that the victims were almost certainly women from the Tamil minority.
One particular case from last year was mentioned.
Two young women in the northern island of Mannar were stripped naked, gang raped, beaten and paraded naked in front of police officers.
Their hands and feet were tied to a pole and they were suspended for an hour and a half while being beaten once again with thick wire.
But Amnesty's report says that complaints of rape and other forms of torture are often not dealt with effectively by the Sri Lankan police and judiciary.
As a result, the organisation says deficiencies in the early stages of the criminal investigation process repeatedly lead to the collapse of the case against the alleged perpetrators.
The report notes that despite ratifying anti-torture conventions, to date, not one member of the Sri Lankan security forces has been found guilty in a court of law of rape in custody.
Amnesty says the new government in Sri Lanka must now do everything in its power to prevent grave sexual abuse of detainees.
It says the government should send a message to the security forces that such violations will not be tolerated.
It also suggests the government establish an independent investigative body to look into human rights abuses, including rape.
The appeal from Amnesty comes at a time when the Sri Lankan Government is trying to create a new climate of good will with Tamil Tiger rebels in the hope of finding a way out of the ethnic conflict.
An economic embargo on rebel areas has been eased and last week the Tamil Tigers released 10 prisoners of war.
The expectation on the rebel side is that the Sri Lankan Government would respond now with steps to release some Tamil political detainees or at the very least bring them to trial.
The Global Persecution of Women