Conflict-Related Sexual Violence - Exhibition Opening

Opening remarks by Ambassador Odd-Inge Kvalheim at UN Action ’s Exhibition Opening Ceremony, 20 June 2023.

The photo exhibition in the UNHQ was co-sponsored by Norway, Lithuania and Japan and will be on display until 19 August 2023.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

Allow me to express my appreciation to SRSG Pramila Patten and her team, for organising this event. On behalf of Norway: We are honored to co-sponsor the exhibition, and to be a long-standing partner of UN Action. Your efforts to prevent and respond to Conflict Related Sexual Violence are indeed commendable.

The Security Council has recognized CRSV as a threat to international peace and security. We must do everything in our power to stop this atrocity.

The statistics are devastating. And the real numbers are even drastically higher. Behind these numbers are survivors, families, and societies. I commend UN Action and the survivors here today, for bringing their messages forward.

Allow me to emphasise three points from Norway’s perspective:

1. We have the tools we need, but we must use them: We need to turn commitments into compliance, and resolutions into results. Results meaning better protection from sexual violence. ‘Prevention is better than cure’ – not least when it comes to CRSV. We must also tackle gender inequalities and root causes.

2. We must step up our efforts to fight impunity. We must do more to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice. That entails working with all actors, including in the security sector, to put an end to the widespread use of sexual violence as a method of war. It is important to maintain SGBV prevention and response as a key humanitarian priority.

3. The rights and needs of survivors must remain at the forefront. Services must be age- and gender sensitive, survivor-centred, and trauma-informed. They must include access to health care, sexual and reproductive health and rights, psychosocial support and access to justice and redress. We must work to ensure survivor-centered approach with the full, equal, and meaningful participation of survivors, in all their diversity.

Thank you.