Dear Minister, your Excellencies, dear friends,
Thank you all for joining us to launch the first ever Whole-of-Mission Handbook for United Nations Field Missions on Preventing and Responding to Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (CRSV).
The fight against sexual violence in conflict is a priority for Norway.
We are therefore so thankful to have our good colleagues from New York, in Oslo, and most importantly out in the UN Field Missions- who all share our commitment to ending CRSV- join with us here today.
And to provide us with important insights into how UN Peace Operations are addressing CRSV and how the new Handbook will help their work.
First, we will hear from our UN co-hosts here in New York.
Followed by the Key Note Speech, from our Foreign Minister, Ms. Ine Eriksen Søreide.
Then, we will have presentations by representatives from the UN Field Missions the Central African Republic, Iraq and South Sudan- with time for a Q&A – before we launch the ground breaking CRSV handbook LIVE.
I am so pleased that so many of you could join us today.
And that we have received so many relevant and interesting questions. Which we will address to our field missions colleagues during the Q&A session.
Starting our discussion, perhaps it is helpful to set out the scope of the issues we have addressed in the CRSV handbook, through a definition of Conflict-related Sexual Violence:
CRSV is a form of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
SGBV is any type of violence directed against individuals or groups based on their sex or gender.
While CRSV is one form of SGBV, other forms include: female genital mutilation, intimate partner violence, domestic violence, and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.
The Handbook we launch today specifically addresses CRSV. The term 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.
I hope this brief definition helps add some context to our discussions today. And to give a sense of the gravity and serious nature of this issue we face.
We must be able to speak openly and frankly about these terrible crimes, and their impacts, if we are to truly prevent and combat CRSV.
CRSV is a clear violation of both international human rights law and international humanitarian law. It can also represent a crime against humanity or an act of genocide. The gravity of this issue cannot be understated.
Sexual violence erodes the societies we are striving to stabilize and rebuild.
It is destroys the future, as well as the present, for many more than just the women and girls or men and boys directly affected.
That is why preventing and responding to sexual-and gender based violence will continue to be a priority for Norway.
And why we have developed this whole-of-mission handbook for UN operations, on how to prevent and respond to sexual violence in conflict. Together with the UN Department of Peace Operations (DPO), the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.
To play our part, and make our contribution to the UNs efforts to end this scourge.
I will also use this opportunity to thank Dr. Lotte Vermeij, and the Norwegian Defence University College – for your tireless work to make this handbook a reality.
It is therefore a great pleasure for me to launch the first ever “Handbook for United Nations Field Missions on Preventing and Responding to Conflict-Related Sexual Violence!
We hope you will all use the link that will appear shortly on the screen to access and download it.
The CRSV Handbook can also be accessed by Member States on the online Peacekeeping Resource Hub and by all personnel in the UN Secretariat on the UN Policy and Best Practice Database, including personnel in Field Missions.
Following this event, the Handbook will also be made accessible on the official websites of the UN Department of Peace Operations, the Department of Peacebuilding and Political Affairs and the Office of the SRSG-Sexual Violence in Conflict.
We look forward to its widespread dissemination- and particularly- its practical implementation in field Missions.
So thank you all again for joining us to help launch this Handbook – thank you and stay safe!