Europe- The Prime Minister of Belgium, Alexander De Croo, highlighted during a conversation with human rights activist Nadia Murad on Wednesday that the sexual violence committed by the Russian soldiers in war-torn Ukraine must not go unpunished.
From Russia’s full-scale military operation against Ukraine at the end of February month, multiple reports of females, including both women as well as girls and men and boys, being allegedly rapped by the Russian soldiers in Ukraine have emerged.
Moreover, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo mentioned in the statement, “Sexual violence in conflicts is still widespread. In the war in Ukraine, too, we see sexual violence being used as a weapon of war. The stories about rapes of Ukrainian women and girls by Russian soldiers are horrifying and sickening.”
He stated, “It must be clear to the perpetrators: this sexual brutality will not go unpunished. Sexual violence against civilians is a crime against humanity and is punishable by the International Criminal Court.”
Meanwhile, De Croo also outlined the significance of collecting as much evidence and testimonies as possible related to the violence so that an effective prosecution can take place, repeating statements he also made in April.
Along with this, for Belgium, its “Women, Peace and Security” agenda is a priority in foreign policy, as well as in the nation itself. It has just adopted a National Action Plan on the subject.
One of the plan’s six pillars is dedicated to the fight against conflict-related sexual violence to improve the situation of women and girls’ (post-)conflict situations.
Furthermore, the Director of the UN Women Brussels Office, Dagmar Schumacher, emphasised that women, as well as girls in war zones, are “at increased risk of sexual violence” and that “whatever the crisis, from conflict to climate, women and girls are affected first and worst.”