#TimetoAct: Civil society to join global push to end sexual violence in conflict

Civil society will join governments and others in London next week for a major push to eradicate the scourge of war-time sexual violence.

From 10-13 June, the United Kingdom’s Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict aims to create momentum towards ending the use of rape and sexual violence in conflict.

Women are often specifically targeted in conflicts around the world. In places such as the Central African Republic, Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Darfur, Syria and elsewhere, sexual and gender-based violence is used to terrorize or degrade women, to punish communities, and as a tool of ethnic cleansing.

The London summit is expected to deliver a set of practical agreements that consolidate the efforts of countries, donors, the United Nations and other multilateral organizations, and civil society in a cohesive program for change.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Angelina Jolie, the summit chairs, will be joined by civil society and governments that supported last year’s UN Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Four main priorities for the summit have been identified:

  • Improving investigations/documentation of sexual violence in conflict;
  • Providing greater support and assistance and reparation for survivors, including child survivors, of sexual violence;
  • Ensuring sexual and gender based violence responses and the promotion of gender equality are fully integrated in all peace and security efforts, including security and justice sector reform; and
  • Improving international strategic co-ordination.

The summit will also see the launch of a new International Protocol on the Investigation and Documentation of Sexual Violence in Conflict as a practical tool to improve accountability and encourage its widespread use.

Working-level meetings will take place on 11 June, with ministerial sessions the following two days.

Civil society will participate actively throughout these discussions, and we will be posting daily updates right here on this blog. Make sure you are signed up for our email updates.

The Summit Fringe will host a number of free events open to the public. These will explore broader issues related to sexual violence in conflict, showcasing successful programs and policies from around the world.

Coalition members will be presenting events at the Summit Fringe; including:

  • 10 June: Amnesty International, “Even if We Lose Our Lives: A moving performance that brings together the stories of three Afghan women.”
  • 11 June: Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice, “The Extraordinary Transformation of Two Young Women from LRA Abductees to Gender Justice Advocates’.
  • 12 June: Human Rights Watch, “Here Rape is Normal: Panel Discussion to Examine Sexual Violence in Mogadishu.”
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