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Sexual violence in any context traumatises the body, mind, and soul. Rape in war is an extreme physical ordeal amounting to torture and requiring specialised care to treat injuries and potential diseases. But very few survivors have access to basic health care, let alone the specific care they need. Further complicating their access is their fear of being identified and stigmatised if they come forward to receive necessary services.
Peter Maurer, President, International Committee of the Red Cross
- Sylvia Acan, Member of SEMA, the Global Network of Victims and Survivors to End Wartime Rape, Uganda
- Oumou Barry, Member of SEMA, the Global Network of Victims and Survivors to End Wartime Rape, Guinea
- Dr. Monika Hauser, Gynaecologist; Founder and Executive Member of the Board, Medica Mondiale
- Dr. Denis Mukwege, Founder and Medical Director, Panzi Hospital; Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2018
- Dr. Raphaël Pitti, Doctor and Professor of emergency medicine
Marie Forestier, Researcher, writer, independent journalist; Former visiting fellow, Centre for Women, Peace and Security, London School of Economics
Along with their physical injuries, survivors of sexual violence in conflict experience immense trauma requiring sustained psychological care. Survivors need this support to overcome the trauma and begin rebuilding their lives. Recent work has shown the benefit of providing this care holistically, as part of an effort to heal both body and mind. Yet, even the most basic psychological support is lacking in fragile environments.
- Marguerite Barankitse, Humanitarian Activist; Founder, Maison Shalom, Oasis of Peace
- Esperande Bigirimana, Member of SEMA, the Global Network of Victims and Survivors to End Wartime Rape, Burundi
- Marie De Hennezel, Clinical and Humanitarian psychotherapist, EliseCare
- Dr. Emilie Medeiros, Clinical Psychologist; Associate Victim Expert, International Criminal Court; MHPSS Expert, Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative, British Foreign and Commonwealth Office
- Guillaumette Tsongo, Member of SEMA, the Global Network of Victims and Survivors to End Wartime Rape, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Doris Schopper, Professor, Medical Faculty of University of Geneva; Director, Centre for Research in Humanitarian Action (CERAH); Former International President and Chair of Ethics Review Board, MSF; Member, ICRC
Celeste Hicks, Independent Journalist, Sahel and North Africa
Stigmas and taboos are at the heart of the tragedy of sexual violence, and significantly exacerbate all of its impacts. Because of the stigma attached to sexual violence, victims are often rejected by their family and community, facing the double burden of both being the victim of violence and carrying the blame for this violence. These dynamics destroy families and, ultimately, communities – achieving the perpetrators’ goals of destruction and devastation. How can stop society blaming the victims?
Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, United Nations
- Saran Cissé, Member of SEMA, the Global Network of Victims and Survivors to End Wartime Rape, Guinea
-Feride Rushiti, Founder and Executive Director, Kosovo Centre for Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (KRCT)
- Christine Schuler Descrhyver, Director, ‘City of Joy’; Representative, VDAY RDCongo; Vice-President, Panzi Foundation
- Mirsada Tursunovic,President and Co-Founder, Our Voice (Nas Glas); Member of SEMA, the Global Network of Victims and Survivors to End Wartime Rape, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Front row commentator:
Shawn Goodman, Husband of a survivor
Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Member of the European Parliament, Coordinator for Children's Rights and Spokesperson on Violence Against Women
Survivors must be at the centre of the response to sexual violence in fragile environments. They know best what can make a difference for them and for other victims. Yet, too often their voices are not heard and their priorities are not taken into account by decision-makers. Collaborating with survivors can make prevention, treatment and rebuilding efforts more effective and efficient, but humanitarian efforts would need to be adapted to better incorporate the voice of survivors.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Prime Minister's Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, Government of the United Kingdom
- Norma Bastidas, Ultra-athlete, Women’s Rights Activist
- Bineta Diop, Founder and Director, Femmes Africa Soldiarité; Special Envoy, Commission for Women, Peace and Security, African Union
- Nadia Murad, President of 'Nadia's Initiative', Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2018
- Bernadette Sayo, Secretary General, Central African Republic Survivors' Movement (MOSUCA); Member of SEMA, the Global Network of Victims and Survivors to End Wartime Rape, Central African Republic
Pierrette Pape, Head of Advocacy and Campaigning, Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation
Zeina Awad, Former International Correspondent, Al Jazeera English; Chief of Communication, UNICEF Iraq
The damage of sexual violence can transcend generations. Children born of rape are often blamed as 'offspring of the enemy' and are rejected or abandoned. For many, stigmatisation is made worse by statelessness, further impeding these children's access to health, school, and work throughout their lives. By rejecting children born of rape, communities further perpetrate the damage inflicted by the rapists and make it harder for the society to heal.
- Anne-Marie von Arx-Vernon, Deputy, Canton of Geneva; Expert on the fight against human trafficking and violence against women; co-director, 'Au Coeur des Grottes' Foundation
- Ajna Jusic, President, Forgotton Children of War
- HRH Princess Claire of Luxembourg, Doctor of Bioethics
- Mildred Mapingure, Zimbabwe Coordinator, We Are NOT Weapons of War
- Aline Mwamini, Member of SEMA, the Global Network of Victims and Survivors to End Wartime Rape, Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Martine Brousse, President, La Voix de l'Enfant
Joyce J. Wangui, Freelance Journalist, Journalists for Justice
National and international tribunals must reinforce each other to increase accountability for sexual violence in fragile environments. While international courts play an important role in setting legal precedents, only local courts can ensure a more systematic response. ‘Traditional’ justice mechanisms also have a role to play in accountability. With all these approaches, it is crucial that victims are listened to and recognised, and that justice serves them rather than retraumatises or shames them.
- Vasfije Goodman, Member of SEMA, the Global Network of Victims and Survivors to End Wartime Rape, Kosovo
- Philip Grant, Director, TRIAL International
- Olha Klymenko, Member of SEMA, the Global Network of Victims and Survivors to End Wartime Rape, Ukraine
- Maxine Marcus, International Crimes Prosecutor and Investigator; Director, Transitional Justice Clinic
- Alain Werner, Director, Civitas Maxima
Thierry Cruvellier, Journalist and author, expert on international justice; Editor-in-Chief, Justiceinfo.net
Victims of sexual violence in conflict must bear the physical and emotional consequences of their rape, often while living in communities where they may be rejected and isolated . They also rarely receive justice, or even just recognition for the serious crimes they have suffered. For survivors around the world, reparations are a recurring demand to restore justice, dignity, and respect. But in practice, reparations for survivors of sexual violence in fragile environments are rarely provided due to a lack of judicial proceedings around these crimes and lack of state and individual resources to fund them.
- Pieter de Baan, Executive Director, Trust Fund for Victims, International Criminal Court
- Esther Dingemans, Director, Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation
- Ángela Escobar Vásquez, National Coordinator, Red de Mujeres Víctimas y Profesionales; Member of SEMA, the Global Network of Victims and Survivors to End Wartime Rape, Colombia
- Maître Thérèse Kulungu, Former executive secretary, Panzi Foundation; Former Coordinator, Panzi Legal Clinic
- Tatiana Mukanire, Member of SEMA, the Global Network of Victims and Survivors to End Wartime Rape, Democratic Republic of the Cong
Leela Jacinto, International News Reporter, France 24
Technology and finance have great potential to enhance the response to sexual violence in fragile environments. Survivors can benefit from technological innovations – such as mobile applications, protected databases, and data analysis software – which can create alerts, record evidence, and improve access to services. Financial innovations, such as impact bonds, can ensure sustainable flows of resources to these projects, guaranteeing their viability and efficiency in the long-term.
Professor Muhammad Yunus, Founder, Grameen Bank; Nobel Prize Laureate 2006
- Fabrice Croiseaux, CEO, InTech S.A.
- Ekhlas Khudhur Bajoo, Ambassador of Hope, Roads of Success
- Chékébe Hachemi, Author; Founder and President, Afghanistan Libre
- Karen Naimer, Director, Programme on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones, Physicians for Human Rights
- Thomas Seale, Chairman of LuxFLAG
Shirin Wheeler, Senior International Press Officer, European Investment Bank
Whether they are fleeing war, poverty, criminal violence, natural disasters, or sexual violence itself, displaced populations - women and girls, as well as men and boys - are exposed to numerous risks on their journey, including shocking levels of sexual violence. Their dangerous path compounds their psychological and medical needs, all while necessary services are rarely available during displacements and in refugee camps. Nor does migrants' vulnerability end when they reach transit or event destination countries: institutional and criminal violence, including sexual predation, continues to be a daily reality for many.
- Sarah Chynoweth, Sexual Violence Project Director/Consultant, Women's Refugee Commission
- Ravda Nur Cuma, Founder, Chairperson, Ravdanur Foundation
- Stefania Parigi, Shelter Director, Adoma; former Director, SAMU Social Paris
- Prof Doris Schopper, Professor, Medical Faculty of University of Geneva; Director, Centre for Research in Humanitarian Action (CERAH); Former International President and Chair of Ethics Review Board, MSF; Member, ICRC
- Nadine Tunasi, Leader, Policy and Research Working Group, Survivors Speak OUT - Freedom From Torture
Thomas Kauffmann, Executive Director, ECPAT Luxembourg
Slow progress on ending sexual violence in fragile environments is not a reflection of efforts to combat it. Indeed, sexual violence in fragile environments is steadily rising on global policy and humanitarian agendas. International organisations, governments, researchers, NGOs, foundations, and the private sector are devoting increasing resources to this issue. Yet, despite growing attention and the private sectors' increasing willingness to help address social issues, usually reserved for government and humanitarian organisations, responses to sexual violence in conflict remain lacking in coordination, scale and efficiency. That's because to fix the system, we need to understand the system.
- Céline Bardet, Founder and President, We are NOT Weapons of War
- Antonia Mulvey, Founder and Executive Director, Legal Action Worldwide
- David Pereira, President, Amnesty International Luxembourg
- Kim Thuy Seelinger, Director, Sexual Violence Programme, Human Rights Center, Berkeley Law School
- Michel Wurth, Director, ArcelorMittal Luxembourg; Vice-President, Luxembourg Red Cross
Elise Boghossian, Founder, EliseCare
Alanna Vagianos, Women's Reporter, HuffPost
Participating in sport presents an opportunity for many survivors to rebuild and regain their self-confidence. How can medical and psychological practitioners and survivor communities work together to ensure we make the most of sport's potential to help survivors manage and deal with trauma? This session focuses on how an interdisciplinary approach to Karate, a sport focused around respect and the connection between head, heart and body, might create new and powerful networks of women survivor educators.
Laurence Fischer, Karate World Champion; Founder, Fight for Dignity