International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict

Statement delivered by Deputy Permanent Representative Ambassador Andreas Løvold at event commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict

Let me thank the organisers for bringing us together to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict.

I also would like to thank all the briefers for their compelling statements.

I particularly appreciate hearing the voices of the survivors.

We meet today, 16 years after the unanimous adoption by the UN Security Council of resolution 1820.

Unfortunately, across conflicts, sexual violence remains an alarming concern – and a tactic of war.

Attacks on medical personnel and health facilities are unacceptable. They also directly impact the survivor of sexual violence’s access to sexual and reproductive health services. And they have long-term, devastating impact on society.

Allow me to highlight three points:

First, all parties to armed conflict must comply with their obligations under internation law, including IHL and Human Rights.

Women and girls, men and boys, must be protected from sexual violence. Medical personnel and their clinics and ambulances must be protected from attacks.

This responsibility lies clearly on the parties to the conflict.

But we can all contribute to prevention through our humanitarian diplomacy, and by supporting IHL-training of the parties.

Accountability and ending impunity for violations of IHL are also important for prevention. And sexual violence as designation criteria in UN sanction regimes remains an important instrument.

Second, sexual violence against children is one of the Six Grave Violations, and so is also attacks against schools and hospitals.       

Girls are disproportionality affected in general by sexual violence, but boys are often at high risk of sexual violence too, especially in detention, or when recruited by armed forces or armed groups.

Child-victims of armed conflicts must be ensured physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration.

Third, the specific needs of children born of war should be openly recognized and addressed as a matter of priority.

Children born of war, are at a greater risk of experiencing stigma, discrimination, socio-economic deprivation, and developing mental disorders. They often face challenges with identity papers. Securing women’s rights will often improve the protection, also of the children.

To conclude, combatting sexual and gender-based violence remain a high priority for Norway. We will maintain a high level of support for prevention and follow-up of survivors, both financially and politically.

We will continue to support the Conflict-Related Sexual Violence Multi-Partner Trust Fund.

A survivor-centred approach demands that survivors, in all their diversity, have the right to participate in defining their needs and priorities, which must guide the response.

Women must be ensured full, equal, and meaningful participation in the response.

Local, women-led organisations play a key role in this regard.

Thank you.