Combating Sexual Violence in Conflict

Below is one of many videos now available of presentations given at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, held last month in London, which a couple of members of the SCID Panel of Experts attended. You can find more on the Global Summit from http://www.gov.uk/endsexualviolenceinconflict20­14 and https://www.facebook.com/EndSexualViolenceInConflict, and more FCO videos on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWl6ZVke4P2GYpk6eq4BPIQ. In this video, Lieutenant General David Morrison, Australian Chief of Army, addresses the closing plenary on the role of soldiers in ending conflict-related sexual violence.

One thought on “Combating Sexual Violence in Conflict

  1. George Cunningham

    Dear Colleagues,

    Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict.
    I attended the above conference in London, 11-13 June, which welcomed delegates and speakers from over 120 countries. All the speakers were fulsome in their praise of the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, who has become one of the world’s foremost advocates for measures to prevent sexual violence. His address was excellent and emphasized the dreadful physical and emotional scars of sexual violence, perpetrated extensively against women, girls, men and boys. These victims have been seen as just collateral damage wherever it has occurred – the Balkans, Africa, Latin and South America, Asia and the Middle East – and have to be given the protection of the above protocol. A speech by Angelia Jolie was also impressive and she came across as a humble but very knowledgeable person. There was also a video input by Hilary Clinton.

    The Opening Plenary session was introduced by Baroness Warsi and the keynote address was delivered by Zainab Hawa Banngura, Under Secretary and Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict. There were also a number of principal speakers who included Maxine Marcus, Senior International Criminal Law and Gender Expert, Phumzie Mlambo-Ngcuka Executive Director of UN Women, Kolbassia Haoussou, Co-Founder and Co-Ordinator, Survivors Speak OUT (SSO) Network, Charlotte Isaksson, Special Adviser on Gender Issues, and Carmen Moreno Executive Secretary of the Interamerican Commission for the Women of the Organisation of American States.

    The remainder of the first day was divided into sessions, which included ‘The Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict’ and ‘The Call to Action on Protecting Women and Girls in Emergencies’. I attended the session called ‘Improved Accountability Through the Deployment of Sexual and Gender-based Violence Expertise’, chaired by Dr Andrew Long, Senior Policy Adviser Prevention of Sexual Violence Initiative FCO (PSVI – Foreign Secretary Initiative), Nahla Valji, Policy Adviser, UN Women New York, Andras Vamos-Goldman, Executive Director, Justice Rapid Response, Geneva and Chris Austin Interim Head, Stabilisation Unit UK Government. A number of cross cutting issues were also discussed including Women, Peace and Security and sexual violence against men and boys.

    One particularly contentious issue was the UN’s pursuit of the Commanders who instructed soldiers to carry out systematic sexual attacks against the local population. In the Congo in particular, where the UN had singularly prosecuted Commanders rather than the perpetrators, who were subject of local justice. As none of the cases against Commanders had so far been successful this meant that the victims had every likelihood of meeting their attackers in the villages, towns and cities where they lived.

    Although it is understandable that the UN wishes to prosecute the strategic commanders of the systematic sexual violence, when this fails to bring them to a successful prosecution, then questions must be asked of this strategy.

    The second day was termed Ministerial Day “Why here, why now?” chaired by William Hague, assisted by Angelina Jolie, Zainab Hawa Bangura, Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Laureate, Baroness Ashton and Dr Nkosazuna Diamini Zuma, Chair Person, African Union Commission.

    Again there were sessions ongoing on wide ranging issues including ‘Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence in Conflict’, and ‘The Role That Faith Leaders and Communities Can Play in Tackling Sexual Violence In Conflict’. I attended the session chaired by William Hague with the two principal speakers Abdirahan Duale Bayle Federal Minister of the Federal Government of Somalia and Khadija Mohamed Diriye, Minister for the Human Rights and Women’s Affairs, Federal Government of Somalia. Both Somalian speakers spoke with great conviction and emphasised that their government had accepted the International Protocol in its entirety. This was applauded by the audience and drew pledges of $2 million from Norway and $1 million from Finland and I believe that a number of other financial pledges were also made during after the session.

    In many respects this was the ground-breaking headline that the conference needed, and because the Somalian representatives spoke eloquently the thrust of their narrative was all the more impactful.

    The Closing Plenary opened with a video message for Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary
    General, followed by speeches by William Hague and Angelina Jolie who introduced Denis Mukwege, Founder and Medical Director , General Reference Hospital of Panzi, South Kivu, Lieutenant General David Morrison, Chief of Army, Austraian Army and Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor, International Criminal Court.

    Finally, The Honorable John F Kerry, Secretary of State of the United States of America gave a very powerful speech where he praised William Hague as the leading individual propelling the cause forward. On his watch this very critical document had become the bedrock for future conduct in conflict.

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