NATO stands with the international community to address sexual violence in conflict

  • 14 Apr. 2021 -
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  • Last updated: 23 Apr. 2021 11:12

In a written statement delivered at the UN Security Council’s Open Debate on Sexual Violence in Conflict on 14 April 2021, the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security, Clare Hutchinson, warned against the use of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence as a weapon of war against women and girls – and increasingly against men and boys.

Clare Hutchinson (NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security)

“Sexual violence perpetuates conflict and instability” she said, ”despite the adoption of resolutions, policies and guidelines, Conflict-Related Sexual Violence is not only a persistent problem, it is evolving and growing. And as we have seen, it is increasingly used as a tactic of terrorism.”

NATO currently has military guidelines on preventing and responding to conflict-related sexual violence. The Alliance is in the process of developing a formal policy on the topic.

This will support NATO’s ongoing efforts to contribute to the international community’s work to counter sexual violence in conflict. As Ms. Hutchinson outlined, “developing and maintaining high standards for ourselves is crucial, and encouraging high standards in other militaries around the world is also essential. We have worked with many of our partner countries, strengthening our training on human rights and the protection of civilians, including against Conflict-Related Sexual Violence.”

Ms. Hutchinson concluded by underscoring the fundamental importance of this work. “We recognise that understanding and responding to the grievous, systematic sexual abuse of women and girls in and around conflict is mission critical and essential to our operational effectiveness. We understand that sexual violence does not have to be an inevitable consequence of conflict. And we understand that we can help to drive change.”

Click here to read the address by the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security.