Joint Statement by the United Nations Resident Coordinator, UNFPA and UN Women on the International Day of the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict
We must stop rape now. We must break the vicious cycle of terror, poverty and impunity that enables sexual violence in conflict.
Yaounde, 19 June 2020
In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 19 International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict to raise awareness on the need to end conflict-related sexual violence and to honor the victims/survivors. On this fifth anniversary of the commemoration, we would like to amplify, the United Nations Secretary General’s message of solidarity for the victims and survivors, his appeal to end sexual violence and all forms of gender-based violence and a global unconditional ceasefire to support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Women and girls are disproportionately affected by sexual violence. In conflicts worldwide, rape is used as a weapon to destroy the lives of women and girls, to undermine the welfare and recovery of entire communities. The fear and stigma surrounding the COVID19 pandemic is further restricting women and girls’ access to basic social services like health and education and humanitarian aid, further exposing them to the risk of sexual violence.
According to recent data it is estimated that 15% of registered gender-based violence survivors in the Far North have suffered from sexual violence, including rape. This figure goes up to 33% in the North-West and South-West Regions. Only 5% of survivors resort to legal aid to seek justice and compensation.
We must stop rape now. We must break the vicious cycle of terror, poverty and impunity that enables sexual violence in conflict. Today we call on the Government of Cameroon with the support of its partners to reinforce strategies to eradicate violence against women and girls in armed conflict and to facilitate universal access to reproductive healthcare and services; to ensure local and national courts support the investigation and prosecution of sexual violence and ensure the full accountability of perpetrators and; to strengthen programmes aimed at supporting victims/survivors and their families rebuild their lives and livelihoods.
The United Nations in Cameroon is fully committed to work alongside Government in this regard and to protect women and girls and help survivors of sexual violence rebuild their lives. Ending gender-based violence including sexual violence in conflict is one of the three transformative results of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). In addition, UNFPA ensures that referral systems are functional to guarantee survivors’ access to sexual and reproductive health services, safe spaces for their protection and psycho –social assistance in order to rebuild their lives. The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-WOMEN) provides holistic protection services to women and girls at risk of sexual violence in conflict situations. UN-WOMEN also ensures that survivors of these types of violence receive adequate reparation, empowerment and legal assistance.
Allegra Maria Del Pilar Baiocchi
UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Cameroon
Siti Batoul Oussein Resident Representative UNFPA in Cameroon
Hind Jalal Country Representative a.i. UN-WOMEN in Cameroon
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