UNITED NATIONS - The UN Security Council on Wednesday unanimously adopted a resolution calling for a halt to the use of sexual violence as a tactic of war.
Resolution 1888 reiterated the 15-member body's "demand for the complete cessation by all parties to armed conflict of all acts of sexual violence with immediate effect."
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who chaired the high-level meeting as her country hold the council's rotating presidency this month, said the resolution was "a step forward in our global efforts to end violence perpetrated against women and children in conflict zones."
The text focused on an issue that "has received too little attention," she said, noting that it builds on two previous similar Security Council resolutions.
Ending sexual violence, particularly in Africa, is a proclaimed priority for the United States and Clinton raised the issue when she visited the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country which has seen an epidemic of horrific sexual assaults against women.
The US-drafted text affirms "that effective steps to prevent and respond to such acts of sexual violence can significantly contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security."
It calls on UN chief Ban Ki-moon appoint a special representative to "provide coherent and strategic leadership to... address, at both headquarters and country level, sexual violence in armed conflict."
It urges states to "undertake comprehensive legal and judicial reforms... without delay and with a view to bringing perpetrators of sexual violence in conflicts to justice."
Parties to a conflict must also "ensure that all reports of sexual violence committed by civilians or by military personnel are thoroughly investigated and the alleged perpetrators brought to justice."