UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- Margot Wallstrom, special representative of the UN Secretary-General on sexual violence in conflict, said here Thursday that the UN Security Council's work has done much in recent years to help raise awareness and action against sexual violence perpetrated in conflict.
"In short, the council has ushered in an ideological shift," she said. "And when it takes notice, so do others."
Wallstrom's statements came as she addressed the council during an open meeting titled Women, Peace, and Security: Conflict- Related Sexual Violence.
"The terms of the debate have shifted from reacting to sexual violence like any other tragedy, to preventing it like any other threat," she said. "Instead of talking about women's wartime suffering--year after year--protection mechanisms have been established. Instead of seeing the same few women--in meeting after meeting--we are building a broad coalition."
In June 2008, the council passed resolution 1820, which recognized sexual violence as a tactic of war, and deemed that it was an important threat to international peace and security worthy of consideration and action by the council and by UN peacekeeping missions. Resolution 1888, passed in September 2009, took this idea further by establishing Wallstrom's mandate and urging UN member states to make efforts to stop the use of sexual violence as a tactic of war.
"A decade ago, my mandate to be present in this chamber, addressing this subject, would have seemed improbable," Wallstrom said. "Yet this council has kept pace with the changing dynamics of conflict. In contemporary wars, it has become more dangerous to be a woman fetching water or collecting firewood, than to be a fighter on the frontline."