World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

International Day For The Elimination Of Sexual Violence In Conflict

“Sexual violence in conflict” an Op-Ed by Vincent Ochilet, ICRC’s Head of Regional Delegation in the Pacific.

On June 19th, many people across the globe will mark International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict. This day aims to raise awareness of the prevalence and soaring numbers of people, mainly women, boys and girls affected by sexual violence in conflict and the need for greater efforts to prevent sexual violence and support victims/survivors.

Despite clear legal prohibitions, sexual violence remains widespread during armed conflicts and other situations of violence, as well as in detention. It occurs in various contexts and has grave humanitarian consequences. Sexual violence is often utilized as a tactical or strategic means of overwhelming and weakening the adversary, whether directly or indirectly, by targeting the civilian population. It also occurs opportunistically, including where rules of restraint are ignored or unenforced.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Regional Delegation in the Pacific works in 14 countries of the Pacific, including Papua New Guinea (PNG). In the Highlands of PNG, tribal disagreements, if not settled in a timely manner, can escalate and lead to armed violence. The situation is particularly serious in the Enga, Hela and Southern Highlands provinces, where violence often causes injuries and death. Women, boys and girls and the elderly are among the victims. This violence may also result in displacement and destruction of property. Sexual violence is widespread and takes place during tribal fights.

Applying its multidisciplinary response to the humanitarian consequences of tribal fighting in PNG, ICRC provides health services, including mental health and psychosocial support, protection and other forms of care to prevent the occurrence of all conflict-related abuses toward civilians, with a focus on sexual violence.

The ICRC supports health facilities with materials for the treatment of injured patients and technical guidance and provides training for their staff members to further develop their ability to provide specialized care to victims/survivors of sexual violence. For example, we train and support traditional community-based birth attendants and raise awareness about sexual and reproductive health services among community members. To ensure mental-health and psychosocial support is available to victims/survivors of sexual violence, the ICRC trains health centre staff and Family Support Centres in hospitals to conduct structured and sensitive consultations. We also strengthen existing referral mechanisms and cover costs where needed, to help survivors receive appropriate care.

Furthermore, the ICRC interacts closely with violence-affected people in PNG to better understand their protection-related needs and to help them mitigate risks to their safety. By raising the humanitarian impacts of tribal fighting among the parties concerned, we urge them to abide by basic principles of humanity. Notably, this includes ensuring the protection of civilians from sexual violence and other forms of abuse.

In addition, the ICRC promotes the respect of relevant domestic and international law enforcement standards among military and police forces and provides guidance on integrating these norms into their training and operations.

Lastly, the ICRC engages the authorities including government forces in dialogue on measures they can take to ensure that civilians and their property are protected from harm during law enforcement operations. Where appropriate, we raise specific concerns based on documented allegations of unlawful conduct. We provide training and dissemination sessions for security forces personnel on international policing standards, particularly on the use of force. The ICRC engages with community members involved in tribal fights offering workshops on restraint and other means, to raise awareness of humanitarian principles and to discuss issues of concern such as the importance of preventing sexual violence. We engage closely with community members and their leaders to encourage the adoption of coping mechanisms and preventive measures to help reduce their risk of exposure to tribal violence, including sexual violence.

This year’s International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict is an opportunity for us to highlight the importance of taking concrete measures to prevent sexual violence as a weapon or consequence of conflict. Where it continues to occur, we aim to provide adequate support to the victims/survivors, such as the provision of appropriate medical care and other supports as needed, including mental health/psycho-social support.

Sexual violence during conflict cannot and should not be accepted. We must work together to prevent it and ensure victims/survivors receive appropriate care and treatment should it occur. Action against sexual violence must be taken now.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


Tale Of Two Pandemics: Follow The Science And Do Not Forget One At The Cost Of The Other

Covid-19 has posed innumerable health, economic, and social challenges for all, including people living with HIV. It has exposed the fragility of health systems around the globe and has diverted political attention and funding from other infectious diseases like TB and HIV... More>>


UN: Rights Chief Calls For Prompt Release Of Protestors Held In Cuba
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday called for the prompt release of protestors and journalists detained during anti-government demonstrations in Cuba, some of whom are being held incommunicado... More>>



Scarce Goods: Isolating Daraa Al-Balad Threatens 40,000 With Starvation

The siege imposed by the Syrian government forces on Daraa al-Balad since June 24 would lead to serious humanitarian repercussions if it continues, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said in a statement on July 15, calling for lifting the siege urgently and allowing the entry of basic humanitarian supplies... More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs



Shaping The Future Of Food Systems: Thousands Commit To Dialogues Amidst The COVID-19 Pandemic

More than 130 governments are making food systems a top priority amid the pandemic and committing to an unprecedented programme of Dialogues in the run up to the UN Food Systems Summit in September... More>>

UN: Play:Fair For People And Planet – A Major United Nations Music Activation
organized by the UN SDG Action Campaign in partnership with Music Innovation Hub, Keychange, the city of Milan, the Milan Triennale, and partners from the SDG Music Network, will be held at an unexpected location in the center of Milan, Italy, taking into account safety measures with a limited on-site audience consisting of activists and fans... More>>


UN: Next 18 Months Seen As Pivotal In Global Efforts To Achieve Key Goals

Next 18 months seen as pivotal in global efforts to reverse punishing pandemic impacts and boost actions to achieve key goals - Even as pandemic erases decades of gains in development, response efforts show signs of renewed global commitment to accelerate SDG progress... More>>