Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney said to the UN on sexual violence in conflict on Tuesday, “This is your Nuremberg moment. Your chance to stand on the right side of history. You owe it to Nadia and to the thousands of women and girls who must watch ISIS members shave off their beards and go back to their normal lives while they, the victims, never can.”
But meanwhile, the United States is siding with Russia and China to set women’s rights back 25 years, according to an exclusive by The Guardian, which revealed that the Trump administration threatened to veto a UN resolution on rape as a weapon of war.
“The U.S. is threatening to veto a United Nations Security Council resolution aimed at preventing the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war because it talks about giving sexual and reproductive health support to victims of rape in conflict,” the Guardian reported Tuesday.
Rape is a widely recognized weapon of war.
“Rape, identified by psychologists as the most intrusive of traumatic events, has been documented in many armed conflicts including those in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Cyprus, Haiti, Liberia, Somalia and Uganda,” Unicef identified.
It’s still happening in recent conflicts.
“Systematic rape is often used as a weapon of war in ‘ethnic cleansing’,” Unicef explained.
“Essentially it’s rape, sexual violence, which amounts to torture in certain cases for girls and women. And gang-raping also was documented, mutilation of the body, of the breasts of women and, and yes, I mean, torture – rapes used as a systematic war, weapon of war,” Nahla Haidathe, of a UN watchdog panel, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, explained in 2017, while calling on Myanmar to report on rapes and sexual violence against Rohingya women and girls.
A senior UN official and European diplomats told the Guardian that the reason given by the Trump administration for its threat to veto is “its language on reproductive and sexual health.”
But The Guardian notes that in a draft of the resolution seen by them, the phrase is only mentioned once “in a clause that ‘urges United Nations entities and donors to provide non-discriminatory and comprehensive health services, including sexual and reproductive health, psychosocial, legal and livelihood support and other multi-sectoral services for survivors of sexual violence, taking into account the specific needs of persons with disabilities.’”
Opposition from the United States, Russia and China has already caused the resolution to be stripped of one its most important elements, the Guardian reported.
“Even after the formal monitoring mechanism was stripped from the resolution, the US was still threatening to veto the watered-down version, because it includes language on victims’ support from family planning clinics.”
“We are not even sure whether we are having the resolution tomorrow, because of the threats of a veto from the US,” Pramila Patten, the UN special representative on sexual violence in conflict, told the Guardian.
“If we let the Americans do this and take out this language, it will be watered down for a long time. It is, at its heart, an attack on the progressive normative framework established over the past 25 years,” a European diplomat told The Guardian.
Normally if there’s a disagreement, the UN will rely upon an earlier version, but the Trump administration has made it clear they refuse to accept the language used in the 2013 version on sexual violence.
The Trump administration has sided with Russia, a country that decriminalized acts of domestic violence that don’t result in hospitalization, and China, which has a widespread problem with violence against women.
Trump betrayed the values of the United States and endangered the lives of women around the world in an effort to earn some cheap points with his supporters ahead of the 2020 election. Somethings can’t be easily undone and what Donald Trump is doing will be a global stain on the United States of America for years to come.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.