International Day Against Sexual Violence in Conflict


Rape has always been used as a weapon of war and women and girls are typically the victims of these heinous crimes.

To bring more awareness to sexual violence during conflict the United Nations General Assembly created the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict that will be commemorated on June 19 each year.

“Rape and other forms of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict constitute grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law,” President of the 193-member Assembly, Sam Kutesa, declared as he greeted the resolution’s adoption. “Yet these depraved acts still occur and are used to terrorize and control civilian populations in conflict zones.”

The United Nations also has a robust campaign against sexual violence in conflict called Stop Rape Now. And at the recent African Union meetings Angelina Jolie Pitt urged African leaders to move more towards prosecuting perpetrators of sexual violence during wars and conflicts.

“Violence against women is still treated as a lesser crime,” said Jolie, who is the UN special envoy for refugees. Armed groups turn it into a weapon of choice because of near total impunity”.

 “The date 19 June commemorates the breakthrough adoption in 2008 of UN Security Council resolution 1820, which recognized sexual violence as a tactic of war and a threat to global peace and security, requiring an operational security, justice and service response. It further recognized that rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity and/or constitutive acts of genocide,” said the United Nations.
Photo: Victims of sexual violence at a shelter in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo. UN Photo/Marie Frechon (file)

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