International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict

On June 19, the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) observes the annual International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict. The date was established by the United Nations General Assembly in June of 2015 for the purpose of raising awareness of the crimes related to sexual violence in conflict situations and to honor victims, survivors, and those working to end these practices. The commemorative date of June 19 was chosen to coincide with the anniversary of the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1820, which covers the topic of sexual violence as a tactic of war.

The 2019 observance represents the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nation’s Office of the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict (UN SRSVC). While the creation of the UN SRSVC reflects a growing understanding of the incredibly damaging impact of sexual violence in conflict situations and its legacies, the need for dedicated prevention efforts, and the vital nature of comprehensive survivor care, continual attention and investment by the international community remain essential in combatting this type of atrocity. To this end, UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict (UN Action) brings together 13 existing UN bodies in order to “improve coordination and accountability, amplify programming and advocacy, and support national efforts.”.

Reflecting the growing recognition of the importance of post-conflict prevention strategies, the United Nations Security Council recently adopted Resolution 2467, which promotes a survivor-centric approach to addressing crimes related to sexual violence in conflict situations and their prevention. This survivor-centric approach “include[es] including guaranteed justice for survivors and their children and the end of impunity for perpetrators of conflict-related sexual violence” while centering the “…physical and economic security of survivors, which includes [their] mental, physical, and sexual health.”

Today, the Auschwitz Institute joins with the international community in somber remembrance of the victims and survivors of sexual violence carried out in conflict. AIPR is encouraged by the promotion of, and renewed focus on, survivor-centric prevention strategies that prioritize measures that work to deliver justice to victims and fight against impunity for perpetrators. To this end, the Auschwitz Institute will continue to incorporate concepts and themes related to gender mainstreaming into the development of national and international agendas and institutions that prevent mass atrocities.