NATO, UN and Civil Society discuss fight against conflict-related sexual violence

  • 19 Jun. 2020 -
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  • Last updated: 02 Jul. 2020 17:51

On the International Day for the Elimination of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence, NATO hosted a digital dialogue on Friday (19 June 2020) to address the prevention and response to the use of sexual violence as a tactic of war.

The event brought together recognized leaders; human rights and women rights experts and advocates; representatives from national governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations. 

Speakers included Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, Maria Teresa, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and UNODC Goodwill Ambassador, Nadia Murad, and experts from the Mukwege Foundation, the Refugee Law Project, Medica Zenica, and Nadia’s Initiative.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg opened the digital dialogue. He stressed that conflict-related sexual violence continued to be “a clear obstacle to peace and security” and required “our continued attention and action”, through the combination of collective political, diplomatic, legal and military efforts. “Most of all, we need to raise awareness. It is a pre-condition for any action”, NATO Secretary General said, “that is why this conference today is so important”. During the event, NATO Secretary General announced the development of a NATO policy on the prevention and response to conflict-related sexual violence.

NATO has an enduring commitment to supporting broader international efforts to prevent and respond to conflict-related sexual violence. In NATO-led missions and operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, training of military forces further contributes to raising awareness, recognizing and reporting incidents of sexual violence in conflicts. In 2015, NATO developed military guidelines on actions NATO personnel can take to stop or prevent such practices, including in close collaboration with international and local actors, such as the United Nations.