Joint statement on the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, July 2024

UK Acting Ambassador Deirdre Brown delivers a joint statement on behalf of ten countries, reiterating the importance of effective international action to end impunity for conflict-related sexual violence.

Deirdre Brown MBE

Thank you, Madam Chair. I am delivering this statement in my national capacity, and also on behalf of Canada, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and Ukraine.  

On 19 June, we marked the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict. We pay tribute to victims, survivors and those around the world who dedicate their lives to ending conflict-related sexual violence.

Madam Chair, the global scale and trajectory of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) cases is deeply concerning, with a 50% increase in the number of UN-verified cases of CRSV recorded in 2023. In the OSCE region, mounting evidence of conflict-related sexual violence committed by Russian forces against Ukrainian civilians and prisoners of war indicate its potential use as a tactic of war.

Successive Moscow Mechanism reports have documented the considerable scale of reported acts of sexual violence committed against women, men, girls and boys by members of Russia’s Armed Forces during their war of aggression against Ukraine. This evidence exists because of the brave testimonies of survivors, who, by telling their stories, break down stigma and enable justice.

It is vital that we, the international community, take effective action to end impunity for conflict-related sexual violence. Sexual violence in all forms must stop, all perpetrators must be held accountable, and survivors must be supported.

The UN Security Council’s resolutions on prevention and response to CRSV are important mechanisms in this regard. Multilateral cooperation and international initiatives such as the International Alliance on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, the UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict network, and the OSCE’s mandated work on prevention and accountability for Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Armed Conflict highlight the importance of working together towards internationally agreed standards on accountability and support to survivors.

In this context we welcome the UN Secretary General’s recent Annual Report on CRSV, which highlights many concerning trends and outlines important recommendations, which must be acted upon. It is also vital that conflict-related sexual violence is tackled as part of concerted global action to end all forms of gender-based violence, achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in all their diversity, implement global Women, Peace and Security commitments, empower women’s rights organisations, and promote and defend comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.

Madam Chair, participating States must continue to work together to promote international action to address and prevent conflict-related sexual violence. We must work to ensure that survivor-centred approaches are at the heart of our collective international response, and that survivors including children born of conflict-related sexual violence receive the support and protection they need.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Published 9 July 2024