19 June 2017 is the second annual International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict. This day is observed by the United Nations to “raise awareness of the need to put an end to conflict-related sexual violence, to honour the victims and survivors of sexual violence around the world and to pay tribute to all those who have courageously devoted their lives to and lost their lives in standing up for the eradication of these crimes” (UN). The 2017 theme is, “preventing sexual violence crimes through justice and deterrence.”
The UN Secretary-General’s latest report on conflict-related sexual violence was published on 15 April 2017, and looks at the implementation of resolutions 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009) and 1960 (2010) on
conflict-related sexual violence in 19 countries over the period form January to December 2016.
The term “conflict-related sexual violence” refers to rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, forced abortion, enforced sterilization, forced marriage and any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity perpetrated against women, men, girls or boys that is directly or indirectly linked (temporally, geographically or causally) to a conflict.
A consistent concern is that fear and cultural stigma converge to prevent the vast majority of survivors of conflict-related sexual violence from coming forward to report such violence. Practitioners in the field estimate that for each rape reported in connection with a conflict, 10 to 20 cases go undocumented.
In response to the rise in violent extremism, the Security Council adopted resolution S/RES/2331 (2016), the first to address the nexus between trafficking, sexual violence, terrorism and transnational organized crime. Acknowledging sexual violence as a tactic of terrorism, it further affirmed that victims of trafficking and sexual violence committed by terrorist groups should be eligible for official redress as victims of terrorism.
More information on the UN’s action on conflict-related sexual violence can be found here: