Congratulations to Zainab Hawa Bangura of Sierra Leone on her appointment as the UN secretary-general’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict.
Bangura is the current minister of health and sanitation for the government of Sierra Leone and the former minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation of Sierra Leone. She also advised the United Nations Development Programme on integrating methods of women’s inclusion and participation into their programs in Sierra Leone.
Bangura joins an elite group who serve as special representatives of the secretary-general, the significant minority of whom are women. She is the second person appointed to the post that focuses on sexual violence in conflict and will replace Margot Wallström of Sweden. During her tenure, Wallström supported the UN’s Department of Political Affairs in developing guidelines to help mediators address sexual violence when brokering peace agreements and ceasefires.
Much like her predecessor, Bangura recognizes that conflict-related sexual violence is a security issue with wider peace and security implications, so it is important to increase the number of women participants in all processes working to eliminate such violence. Bangura’s work to date has shown that she is a strong advocate for women, and she will continue to promote them as agents of change in conflict areas.
Read the UN press release on Bangura’s appointment here.
Pari Farmani is the development and network coordinator at The Institute for Inclusive Security. She works to maintain a sense of community among Women Waging Peace Network members and connect them to resources to assist them in resolving conflict and building peace in their home countries.