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Hillary Clinton leads UN fight against rape in war

* UN Security Council asks for envoy to fight rapes in war

* Clinton and UN's Ban say rapists act with impunity

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 30 (Reuters) - More than 60 countries, led by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, asked the United Nations on Wednesday to appoint a special envoy for a global fight against the rape of women and children during war.

The U.N. Security Council, chaired by Clinton because the United States holds the revolving presidency, unanimously passed a resolution in a bid to stop sexual violence during conflicts and to end impunity.

"Even though women and children are rarely responsible for initiating armed conflict, they are often war's most vulnerable and violated victims," said Clinton, who visited the Democratic Republic of Congo in August and met with rape victims.

"The dehumanizing nature of sexual violence doesn't just harm a single individual or a single family or even a single village or a single group, it shreds the fabric that weaves us together as human beings," she said.

Up to half a million women were raped in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, up to 60,000 women were attacked during the Croatia and Bosnia wars and hundreds of thousands of women were subjected to sexual violence amid a long-running conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, says the United Nations.

Rwanda, Croatia and Bosnia are among the more than 60 nations who sponsored the Security Council resolution.

The council asked U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to appoint an envoy and also rapidly deploy teams of experts to countries of concern to work with governments to strengthen the rule of law, address impunity and enhance accountability.

"Parties to armed conflict continue to use sexual violence with efficient brutality," Ban told the Security Council. "The perpetrators generally operate with impunity."

Human Rights Watch said the United Nations had taken too long to act on the issue and called for Ban to quickly appoint a special envoy.

"While the U.N. spent years debating, untold thousands of girls and women around the world have suffered ruined bodies and ruined lives," said Marianne Mollmann, women's rights advocate at Human Rights Watch.

"We hope this new position will finally generate the leadership to help the U.N. act swiftly and coherently to halt sexual violence in wartime," she said in a statement. (Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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