(London)—June 13, 2014. Members of The International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict today expressed their disappointment that the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence, hosted by the UK government, ended with few tangible results that will make an immediate impact on the ground.
“Time to act?” asked Leymah Gbowee, Nobel peace laureate and co-chair of The Campaign. “We’ve been acting for decades. What civil society wants is not more talk—we know how bad it is out there—we need governments to put their full weight behind ending sexual violence.”
Gbowee and other Campaigners noted that sexual violence in conflict was discussed at the Summit “in a silo” – instead of being addressed in the larger context of militarism and the low status of women across the globe.
“Sexual violence and rape doesn’t arise solely out of conditions of war; it is directly related to violence that exist in women’s lives during peace time,” said Gbowee. Militarization and the presence of weapons legitimise new levels of brutality and impunity. This violence, unfortunately, continues in post conflict.”
The Campaign brought to the Summit a delegation of 90 people – including experts on sexual violence, survivors of sexual violence and four Nobel peace laureates. The Campaign was frustrated that the government meetings included little or no civil society representation, despite the fact that civil society represents those impacted by sexual violence. Few national governments announced financial or policy commitments as a result of the Summit.
“Survivors and grassroots organizations need more support,” said Jody Williams, Nobel peace laureate and survivor of sexual violence. “In communities across the globe, we are not only picking up the pieces of our own lives but also acting as first-responders in situations of crisis—helping women and communities impacted by sexual violence.”
The Campaign yesterday launched a survivor-activist network comprised of sexual violence survivors from different parts of the world. The Campaign is calling for a greater voice for survivors in all peace processes and negotiations, as well as in policy discussions focused on the prevention of sexual violence, protection of survivors and prosecution of perpetrators of violence.
Moving forward, the Campaign would like women’s full participation in meetings convened by governments to address sexual violence---participation that includes survivors of sexual violence.
“We are watching,” said Campaign member Rada Boric. “Civil society—particularly women’s groups—needs to be an integral part of policy and governments conversations on sexual violence.”
At this week’s Summit, The Campaign also called for three main actions:
1) World leaders to commit to having policies in place by the time of the 2015 UN Security Council High-Level Review of UNSCR 1325 to ensure women’s participation and independent civil society representation in 100% of peace processes and negotiations.
2) World leaders to commit to the sustained resources for the full range of medical, psychosocial, legal and livelihood services for survivors and increase direct funding to local women’s organizations providing survivors with these services.
3) World leaders to commit to the development and enforcement of robust national laws to hold perpetrators accountable for sexual violence, with particular focus on the training law enforcement officials in investigation and support for prosecutors.
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