Syria: Government Forces Use “Horrific” Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War, UN Report
Saturday, March 17, 2018 10:40 AM

Syrian government forces use rape and other forms of sexual violence as tools of war “to victimize and humiliate” the opposition, according to a recent report by the UN Human Rights Council. The report documents the extensive and “terrifying” violence perpetrated against women and girls associated with rebel forces, including during house raids, at checkpoints and in detention centers. The rapes and other forms of humiliation are intended to “break combatants and destroy the structures of family life,” according to the report's authors. The sexual violence in detention centers is reported to be particularly brutal, with women and girls tortured through electrocution, gang rape, and other forms of sexual humiliation, in addition to living in appalling and inhumane conditions. The report also found that many women suffer stigma, “guilt and depression;” many have been shunned by their families or blamed for their own trauma. Suicide is not uncommon among the women who have been raped. 

The full UN report, “’I lost my dignity’: Sexual and gender-based violence in the Syrian Arab Republic,” is available for download on website of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Human Rights Council, Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic.

Compiled from: Erickson, Amanda, ‘I screamed, but no one came’: The horrifying sexual violence facing Syria’s women and girls, The Washington Post (March 16, 2018).