Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict

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Sexual Violence in Conflict

Although sexual violence is always a violation of human rights, it is particularly complex and multi-faceted in situations of political conflict, war-torn countries and fragile states. Sexual violence has destructive consequences and serves as a barrier to the rebuilding of a country post-conflict, and encourages the cycle of poverty and discrimination amongst its victims.

Sexual violence in conflict refers to rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, and other forms of sexual violence that are of comparable gravity, perpetrated against women, men or children, and with a direct or indirect link to a conflict. An additional form takes place within the military, a problem most commonly facing female soldiers.

International Response

To address these issues, the United Nations recognized rape as a crime against humanity in 1992 and has produced six Security Council Resolutions – UNSCR 1325, 1820, 1888, 1889, 1960 and 2122 – designed to end sexual violence during conflict and peacebuilding.

In 2013, the G8 Foreign Ministers and 113 countries within the UN General Assembly also supported declarations to address sexual violence in conflict.

Canada’s Response

In 2010, the Government of Canada created the National Action Plan (NAP) for the Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security. This plan is intended to guide the Canada’s efforts to uphold the women, peace and security resolutions and focusses on the four themes of prevention, participation, protection, and relief and recovery. As of March 2014, two progress reports had been released and a mid-term review was pending.

Additionally, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs committed to providing $5 million for initiatives addressing sexual violence in conflict at the G8 summit in 2013. The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development has also funded a number of projects around the world concerning sexual violence in conflict, including projects in Africa’s Great Lakes region (Rwanda, Burundi, DRC) and Colombia.

International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict

The International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict is the first ever global collaboration between Nobel Peace Laureates, international advocacy organizations and groups working at the regional and community levels in conflict areas. The Campaign is led by the Peace Laureates of the Nobel Women’s Initiative and an Advisory Committee comprised of 25 organizations working at the international, regional and community levels.

The Campaign’s three pillars — prevention, protection and prosecution — provide a comprehensive effort to stop rape in conflict. The Campaign calls for political leadership at the local, national, regional and international levels to prevent and stop rape and gender violence in war and conflict situations; a dramatic increase in resources for prevention and protection and for psychosocial and physical healing for survivors, their families and communities; and justice for victims, including prosecution of perpetrators and reparation for survivors.

Canadian Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict

The Canadian Campaign is coordinating civil society actions in support of the International Campaign in Canada and monitoring the Government of Canada’s commitments to end sexual violence in conflict. It is made up of women’s rights, social justice and human rights organizations, as well as individuals, who are concerned about the high level of sexual violence in conflict. Together, we are leveraging our experience and networks to help make Canada’s impact on ending sexual violence in conflict more powerful and effective.

The Campaign is advocating for Canada’s leadership and meaningful participation in global efforts to support survivors and end sexual violence in conflict. This means that it is calling on the Government of Canada to step up, and take real and immediate action to end sexual violence in conflict.

In 2012, Canadian supporters took part in a social media campaign called “Dear John” – a writing campaign targeting Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird – that called on Canada to become a leader in addressing rape and gender violence in conflict. As a result, the Canadian Parliament unanimously adopted a motion that committed Canada to taking a leading role on the issue.

While the Canadian Campaign continued to organize events and activities throughout 2013, it has been especially active in 2014 around the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London, UK, in June.

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