UN names June 19 day against sexual violence in conflict

UNITED NATIONS, United States - The United Nations on Friday declared June 19 International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict to highlight abuses by armed extremist groups such as Boko Haram and Islamic State.

"Rape as a weapon of war must be stopped," said Sam Kutesa, president of the UN General Assembly, after it approved a new resolution naming the day.

"We should ensure that the perpetrators of these crimes and their superiors who condone their actions are held accountable and that victims get justice.

"Together we must prioritize prevention and response efforts, empower victims, provide comprehensive assistance and shift the stigma of shame from the victims of these crimes to those who commit them and condone them."

The date of 19 June was chosen in memory of resolution 1820 the Security Council adopted on 19 June 2008, which recognised for the first time that sexual violence is a tactic of war and a threat to international peace and stability.

"Our challenge now is to translate advocacy and political will into concrete actions and protection on the ground," said the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Bangura.