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Human Rights Commissioner Kofler on the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict

19.06.2020 - Press release

Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (19 June) on the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict:

Rape, forced pregnancy or forced abortion, forced sterilisation, sexual slavery, forced prostitution – whatever form it takes, conflict-related sexual violence is a war crime and a serious threat to peace and security. It destroys individuals, families and entire communities.

The impunity with which it occurs is frequently devastating. Survivors often have no access to justice or law enforcement agencies, and crimes far too often go unpunished. Now, in the COVID-19 pandemic, this is truer than ever. In order to bring an end to these serious crimes and human rights violations, we thus have to lend the victims of sexual violence in conflict our full support. We must also invest in prevention. According to international figures, sexual violence goes down in places where women and men have equal opportunities and gender equity prevails. We must support this trend with targeted measures.

We are actively working in conflict regions and in the UN Security Council to foster gender equity and to fight sexual violence in conflict and its root causes. We must remain absolutely committed to the women, peace and security agenda under Resolution 1325. We also want to continue work on the implementation of Resolution 2467, for example by supporting Nobel Peace Laureate Dr Mukwege, who works together with victims of conflict-related sexual violence.

My particular thanks today goes to the organisations which work tirelessly to stand up for the survivors. Together, we can combat impunity and assist survivors.

Background information:

On 19 June 2015, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 19 June each year the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict. The aim of this Day is to heighten awareness of the need to end conflict-related sexual violence, to recognise victims and survivors of sexual violence around the world and pay tribute to those who often risk their own lives to put an end to this crime.

The date was selected to remember the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1820 (2008) on 19 June 2008 in which the Security Council condemned sexual violence as a tactic of war and an obstacle to promoting peace.

During its Presidency of the UN Security Council in July, Germany will again host the open debate on fighting sexual violence, devoting special attention to the practical implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular Resolution 2467, in conflict situations.

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