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UN Envoy On Sexual Violence Heads To Mideast

The UN special representative on sexual violence says she is making her first trip to the Middle East.

Zainab Bangura told the UN Security Council she was leaving on April 16 for Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.

In a report released this week, the UN says 2014 was marked by “harrowing accounts of rape, sexual slavery, and forced marriage” being used by extremist group such as the Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qaeda affiliates.

The report expresses "grave concern" at sexual violence perpetrated by armed groups, including those promoting extremist ideologies in Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Nigeria, Mali, Libya, and Yemen.

The review found that sexual attacks in Iraq, Syria, and Nigeria were "integrally linked to strategic objectives, ideology, and funding of extremist groups."

Sexual violence is used "as a tactic of terror by radical groups," the report says.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa

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