International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict

OV Digital Desk

As the world prepares to observe the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict on June 19th, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has issued a poignant message, highlighting the urgent need to address this pervasive and devastating form of violence.

Guterres describes conflict-related sexual violence as a harrowing assault that inflicts lasting harm on survivors, not only physically but also mentally and socially. He emphasizes its destructive impact on individuals’ physical, sexual, and reproductive health, as well as its corrosive effect on the social fabric of communities.

Despite widespread condemnation, Guterres laments that this abhorrent crime continues unabated across the globe. He points to distressing reports of sexual violence emerging from various conflict zones, including Sudan, Haiti, and Israel, underscoring the impunity often enjoyed by perpetrators while survivors endure lifelong struggles for recovery.

This year’s observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict is dedicated to the theme of healthcare. Guterres underscores the critical role of hospitals and healthcare facilities as sanctuaries of safety and healing for all conflict victims, including survivors of sexual violence, as enshrined in international humanitarian law.

However, Guterres warns of the grave threats posed by attacks on healthcare infrastructure and the targeting of healthcare workers, which severely impede access to essential medical care and psychosocial support for survivors. He highlights the urgent need for immediate sexual and reproductive health care for women and girls who become pregnant as a result of rape, as well as the increased risk of isolation faced by men and boys without proper care.

In closing, Guterres calls upon the global community to redouble its efforts to eradicate this scourge, express solidarity with survivors, and reaffirm the commitment to safeguarding hospitals and healthcare facilities during conflicts.

As the world observes the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, Guterres’ impassioned plea serves as a clarion call for collective action to end this egregious violation of human rights and ensure justice and support for survivors.

 

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