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International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict
by UN News, MSF, agencies
June 2021
Statement by UN Secretary-General António Guterres:
Sexual violence in conflict is a cruel tactic of war, torture, terror and repression. It reverberates down generations, and threatens both human and international security.
In places affected by conflict, the turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more difficult to hold perpetrators of sexual violence to account.
At the same time, survivors face new obstacles to reporting crimes and accessing support services.
Even as we respond to the pandemic, we must investigate every case, and maintain essential services for every survivor. We cannot allow this already underreported crime to slip further into the shadows. Perpetrators must be punished.
Investment in recovery from the pandemic must tackle the root causes of sexual and gender-based violence.
On this International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, let’s resolve to uphold the rights and meet the needs of all survivors, as we work to prevent and end these horrific crimes.
“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 to a conflict. The term also encompasses trafficking in persons when committed in situations of conflict for the purpose of sexual violence or exploitation.
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.
UN Women expresses its grave concern at the continued use of sexual violence as a tactic of war, terrorism and political repression and calls on all parties to conflicts to commit to ceasing such acts.
Sexual violence in conflict disproportionately impacts women and girls and causes grave and lasting harm to survivors, their families and their communities, posing major barriers to peace and development.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed women and girls in conflict and crisis settings to sexual violence and has exacerbated existing barriers to survivors’ access to multisectoral services and justice.
This makes our efforts to promote gender equality and achieve peace, as well as just and inclusive societies, all the more urgent and relevant.
The best way to address any type of human rights violation, including sexual violence in conflict, is to prevent it from happening in the first place, which is why it is crucial to address gender inequality as a root cause of this scourge.
As the world plans its recovery from the pandemic, we need to take an inclusive, intersectional and informed approach, one that recognizes that achieving durable peace and prosperous societies is not possible without women’s expertise, meaningful participation and leadership.
* UN Resolution (A/RES/69/293): On 19 June 2015, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 19 June of each year the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, in order 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.

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Violent conflict remained the main driver of global hunger in 2020
by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
Failing food systems and the resultant increasing world hunger are among the most pressing issues of our time. With 155 million people acutely food insecure and nearly 30 million people on the verge of starvation in 2020, the world is far off track to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 2 (Zero Hunger) by 2030.
Violent conflict remained the main driver of global hunger in 2020. Conflict has a direct negative impact on food systems and resultant levels of food security.
Moreover, heightened food insecurity may create grievances that can escalate into instability and violent conflict. The increases in both acute food insecurity and violent conflict demand urgent and decisive action.
The objectives of this three-part policy paper series are to emphasize the urgency of addressing the relationship between conflict and food insecurity and to point out existing opportunities to do so. This paper, the first in the series, aims, firstly, to inform policymakers of the intricate relationships between food security and violent conflict, secondly, to alert policymakers to the potential ability of food systems to contribute to peace, and then to highlight the action required to enhance this potential.
The paper concludes with four recommendations intended to help guide more effective preventative and mitigating action to limit (and ultimately avoid) the long-term adverse consequences of violent conflict for food security and exploit food security’s potential to foster peace.

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