Sexual violence in conflict destroys lives and damages communities. Next week sees the largest gathering ever brought together on this subject, with a view to creating irreversible momentum against sexual violence in conflict. This global summit will be held in London from 10-13 June 2014. More than 140 world leaders will take part in these discussions aimed at bringing an end to sexual violence in conflict.
Background to this summit
The United Nations established the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sexual Violence in Conflict in 2009. This office has six priorities:
- to end impunity for sexual violence in conflict by assisting national authorities to strengthen criminal accountability, responsiveness to survivors and judicial capacity
- the protection and empowerment of civilians who face sexual violence in conflict, in particular, women and girls who are targeted disproportionately by this crime
- to mobilize political ownership by fostering government engagement in developing and implementing strategies to combat sexual violence
- to increase recognition of rape as a tactic and consequence of war through awareness-raising activities at the international and country levels
- to harmonise the UN’s response by leading UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict, a network of focal points from 13 UN agencies that amplify programming and advocacy on this issue in the wider UN agenda
- to emphasise greater national ownership.
The Office has eight priority countries:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Central African Republic (CAR)
- Colombia; Cote d’Ivoire
- Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
- South Sudan
While six of the eight priority countries are in Africa, this problem is widespread and the Office of the Special Representative is engaged on this issue in Asia and the Pacific (in Cambodia for residual cases from the Khmer Rouge period) and the Middle East (Syria).
UN Security Council Resolutions about ending sexual violence in armed conflict
Resolution 2106 on 24 June 2013
Focuses on accountability for perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict and stresses women’s political and economic empowerment.
Resolution 1960 on 16 December 2010
Establishes a monitoring, analysis and reporting mechanism on conflict-related sexual violence in situations on the Council’s agenda, and also calls upon parties to armed conflict to make specific, time-bound commitments to prohibit and punish sexual violence; asks the Secretary-General to monitor those commitments.
Media reports about the Global Summit
- 'Foreign minister Julie Bishop speaks out against sexual violence in war zones', SMH, 2 June 2014
- 'Ending sexual violence in conflict: what’s your message to world leaders?' by Liz Ford, The Guardian, 29 May 2914
- 'Jolie to seek end to sexual violence as war weapon at London summit' by Julian Borger, The Guardian, 1 April 2014
The Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sexual Violence in Conflict have established an online forum: Stop Rape Now. It invites everyone to take a stand against the use of sexual violence as a tactic of war by adding a cross-armed picture to their global campaign.