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The UN on Friday called on Somalia to intensify efforts to eliminate conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) which is widespread in the Horn of African nation.

James Swan, UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, said the leaders, communities and partners should do more to assist and listen to victims and survivors of CRSV.

“Conflict-related sexual violence inflicts deep personal wounds, and remains a violation of the human rights of the victims,” Swan said in a statement issued in Mogadishu to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict.

He said conflict-related sexual violence also scars the fabric of society and the country and has no place in the modern, emerging Somalia.

The UN envoy called for all people to stand in solidarity with those who have endured these acts, and to act decisively to eradicate CRSV in Somalia. He paid tribute to those taking on the challenging and often dangerous work to prevent such violence.

In 2019, the number of rape cases reported in Somalia was 744, of which 241 were confirmed as cases of CRSV that targeted women and girls, according to the UN statistics.

However, the UN said the vast majority of survivors of conflict-related sexual violence do not report such violence due to fear and cultural stigma, and therefore, it remains an under-reported crime.

According to the UN, some 3,000 victims and survivors of sexual assault and gender-based violence, including CRSV, received medical and health assistance last year, and some 5,700 received psychological assistance.

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