A war that can be won

The UN's John Holmes on confronting sexual violence worldwide
Plus: blogging 16 days

Jane Gabriel
3 December 2007

At the Commission on the Status of Women in February 2007 the United Nations launched an agency wide campaign to 'Stop Rape Now'. John Holmes was then in his first week as Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and declared that tackling sexual violence against women in conflict was a "war that could be won".

Ten months into the job, having met women who have been mutilated by sexual violence in conflict, he told Jane Gabriel that he is a 'marked man': his commitment to reducing the violence against women through the work of the United Nations is increased, but the limitations of what the UN can do remain enormous.

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