“Women’s security and empowerment remain priorities for the Secretary-General. The international community must not rest until all violence against women and girls is eliminated, and women’s full political and economic participation worldwide is ensured. These are critical for upholding human rights, as well as achieving sustainable development and peace.” - Ban Ki-moon.
23 June 2015 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the United Nations General Assembly’s decision to establish 19 June as the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict.
The International Day – which was established by a consensus resolution adopted in the Assembly (A/RES/69/293) – aims to raise awareness of the need to end conflict-related sexual violence and urge the international community to stand in solidarity with the survivors of sexual violence around the world.
The date 19 June commemorates the breakthrough adoption in 2008 of UN Security Council resolution 1820, which recognized sexual violence as a tactic of war and a threat to global peace and security, requiring an operational security, justice and service response. It further recognized that rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity and/or constitutive acts of genocide.
We have to be a loud and clear voice for those whose voices cannot be heard. Under international law, rape is a crime against humanity—and it is our duty to work to bring impunity for such crimes to an end.
A sign of a problem that is systematic and widespread
Rape in war is a sign of a problem that is systematic and widespread. Until the day that a woman can have a social value that is greater and deeper than merely sexual or procreative, until a woman is more than simple property, until women are fully represented in all the places where power is divvied up, then rape will always be a problem. And rape will always be a problem in more places than just the Democratic Republic of Congo—or Africa, for that matter.
(Filmmaker and Producer of the upcoming Women, War and Peace series debuting on PBS)
I think if we wait for the international community to start a global movement to end sexual violence, then we will be waiting for the rest of our lives. I think it up to us, women in civil society, to come together and tackle it one continent at a time — in a holistic manner.
(Executive Director of the Women, Peace and Security Network in Africa. Gbowee played a key role in bringing the end to armed conflict in Liberia)
It is unfortunately a very effective, cheap and silent weapon
Sexual violence is a way of demonstrating power and control. It inflicts fear on the whole community. And it is unfortunately a very effective, cheap and silent weapon with a long lasting effect on every society.
(Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict)