Item 3 - Interactive dialogue with the independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. JST USA (21.06.2024)

56th session of the Human Rights Council

Joint Statement on Conflict-Related Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

As Read by Ambassador Michèle Taylor, The United States


Thank you, Mr. President,

At the 56th session of the Human Rights Council, we come together as a collective voice to address the pervasive and harrowing issue of gender-based violence in conflict zones. The United States, alongside a cross-regional group of over 60 countries, reaffirms their unwavering commitment to ending these violations and abuses and supporting victims, survivors and witnesses.

We recognize that conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence remains a devastating tactic used in times of war by state and non-state actors, particularly against all women and girls. This violence not only causes immediate and long-lasting physical and mental trauma to survivors and their communities but also undermines human rights, peace, security, and development in affected regions, as recognized by UN Security Council resolution 1820 and additional related resolutions.

We stress the paramount importance of strengthening prevention measures, and believing survivors and first-hand accounts by witnesses. Their testimonies are crucial in shedding light on these heinous acts and holding perpetrators accountable. Survivors often face stigmatization and disbelief, which further exacerbates their suffering and hinders their access to justice.

As an international community, we must strengthen our efforts in taking a survivor-centered and trauma-informed approach to investigate allegations of conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence in conflict, facilitate access to justice and accountability for victims and survivors, and provide comprehensive support to survivors, including sexual and reproductive health services, psycho-social support, and legal assistance. In this regard, we emphasize the need for focused direct engagement from special procedures mandate holders and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to promote prevention and response efforts, encourage the provision of needed support for survivors, and address the increased prevalence of conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence and other practices that further compound survivors’ suffering.

We call on all member states to join us in this urgent endeavor. Let us work together to create a world free from conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence as a tactic of war, and where victims and survivors are heard, believed, and empowered. By doing so, we uphold the principles of justice and human rights, which are the foundation of the Human Rights Council.