Guterres: terrorist groups force women, children into servitude

(MENAFN- Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) NEW YORK, Nov 21 (KUNA) -- UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has denounced terrorist groups such as so-called Islamic State, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab and the Lordآ's Resistance Army for forcing women, boys and girls into de-humanizing servitude.

"Committed in the shadows, these actions are serious abuses of human rights, and may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity," Guterres said at a UN Security Council debate on 'Trafficking in Persons in Conflict Situations' on Tuesday.

"In recent days, we have all been horrified by images of African migrants beings sold as goods in Libya." The UN chief stressed that the need for bold moves to tackle such a situation.

"It is our collective responsibility to stop these crimes. We must act urgently to protect the human rights and dignity of migrant populations." He underlined the importance of bringing the perpetrators to justice and immediately increasing humanitarian aid to vulnerable people.

He also called for helping the Libyan authorities to strengthen their own capacity to protect and provide for vulnerable men, women and children.

"But there is also an urgent need to create more opportunities for regular migration, to restore the integrity of the refugee protection regime, and to increase the number of refugees resettled in the developed world," he said.

"Slavery and other such egregious abuses of human rights have no place in the 21st century," he affirmed.

According to the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons issued by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, increasing numbers of victims trafficked from Iraq, Syria and Somalia are appearing in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

"We must also do more to support the victims and survivors of trafficking. Indeed, they should be treated as victims of crime and not detained, prosecuted or punished for unlawful activities they were compelled to engage in, in order to survive," he said.

The UN chief also urged governments, the private sector and civil society to support the Blue Heart Campaign and the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.

"We need to show the world our determination to end human trafficking, help its many victims and hold those responsible accountable for their crimes," he concluded. (end) asf.ibi


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