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WORLD: A report on conflict-related sexual slavery denounces…

A report by the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (2020)

See https://bit.ly/2M9pVHr

 

Table of contents

 

Glossary

Foreword

Executive Summary

Key Findings

Recommendations

Overview of the Research

  1. Defining Conflict-Related Sexual Slavery
  2. Links Between Armed Conflict and the Incidence of Sexual Slavery

III. The Evolution of Conflict-Related Sexual Slavery: Incidences of Conflict-Related Sexual Slavery from World War Two to the Contemporary Geopolitical Context

 

  1. Conflict-Related Sexual Slavery in the Context of World War Two: Japan’s “Comfort Women”
  2. Evolution of the Context in which Conflict-Related Sexual Slavery Occurs
  3. Conflict-Related Sexual Slavery as a Tactic of Terrorism
  4. Conflict-Related Sexual Slavery in Humanitarian Emergencies
  5. State-Sponsored Sexual Slavery
  6. Gaps and Opportunities to Address Sexual Slavery in International Humanitarian, Criminal, and Human Rights Laws, the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, and Policies on Preventing Violent Extremism and Countering Terrorism

 

  1. Conflict-Related Sexual Slavery in International Human Rights, Humanitarian, and Criminal Laws
  2. Conflict-Related Sexual Slavery and the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda
  3. Conflict-Related Sexual Slavery in Policies on Preventing Violent Extremism and Countering Terrorism
  4. Conflict-Related Sexual Slavery and Peace Processes, Post Conflict Resolution, and Transitional Justice
  5. Highlighting the Initiatives of Women’s Rights Organizations and Civil Society Groups in Condemning, and Demanding Accountability for Conflict-Related Sexual Slavery

 

  1. Marginalization and Stigma Experienced by Victims/Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Slavery
  2. Survivors and Women’s Rights Organizations’ Advocacy for Accountability and Efforts to Address the Impacts of Conflict-Related Sexual Slavery during World War Two
  3. Survivors and Women’s Rights Organizations’ Advocacy for Accountability and Efforts to Address the Impacts of Contemporary Conflict-Related Sexual Slavery
  4. Challenges in Holding Key Actors Accountable for the Full and Effective Implementation of the WPS Resolutions and International Laws on Conflict-Related Sexual Slavery
  5. Conclusion and Recommendations

 

Executive summary

 

Conflict-related sexual slavery is a widespread, systematic, institutionalized, and deliberate human rights abuse committed by militaries under government supervision, state-sponsored militia groups, non-state armed groups, violent extremist groups, and criminal networks alike. Causing tremendous and long-lasting harm to women, girls, and entire communities, sexual slavery is used as a weapon of war, a wartime strategy, or a tactic of terrorism to recruit and retain fighters, fund operations, instill fear, destroy communities, and promote ideology.

The context in which conflict-related sexual slavery is occurring has evolved since World War Two. The rise of violent extremist groups and criminal networks has contributed to the widespread use of the bodies of women and girls as a form of currency in the political economy of war. Forced displacement, refugee crises, and humanitarian emergencies as a result of armed conflict have further exacerbated insecurity for women and girls, increasing their vulnerability to sexual slavery.

Survivors of sexual slavery are not a homogenous group—each individual experience is unique and affected by geography, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, nationality, and religion, among other intersecting factors. Yet survivors across conflict contexts often face high levels of stigmatization and marginalization from their communities and families. In spite of this, many survivors have broken the barrier of silence and actively advocate for accountability and reparations from perpetrators, dispelling the narrative that survivors of conflict-related sexual slavery are passive victims without agency. In the absence of effective action taken by global and national policymakers to address conflict-related sexual slavery, survivors—with the support of women’s civil society—call for accountability, justice, relief and recovery services, protection, and prevention of reoccurrence.

Although international human rights, humanitarian, and criminal laws and policies on preventing violent extremism and countering terrorism recognize and condemn conflict-related sexual slavery, significant gaps persist when it comes to consistent, coherent, and specific efforts at prevention, protection, accountability, and relief and recovery for survivors. The failure to address conflict-related sexual slavery through Bender-responsive peace processes, post-conflict resolution, and transitional justice mechanisms contributes to a reoccurrence of the crime, along with continued impunity for perpetrators and inadequate redress for survivors.

The Women, Peace, and Security resolutions adopted by the United Nations Security Council provide a critical framework to improve the global response to conflict-related sexual slavery.

 

However, it is essential to strengthen specific policies, provisions, and programming on conflict-related sexual slavery for the implementation of the Women, Peace, and Security resolutions, including National Action Plans. Localization of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 is an important instrument to ensure that the needs of survivors of sexual slavery are met and to prevent the reoccurrence of the crime, through context-specific, survivor-centered conflict resolution initiatives developed in partnership with women’s civil society.

The coinciding 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, 20th anniversary of UNSCR 1325, and the 20th anniversary of the Women’s International War Crimes Tribunal for the Trial of Japan’s Military Sexual Slavery in 2020 present a critical opportunity to highlight the need to step up the response to sexual slavery, particularly justice and reparation for survivors as well as prevention efforts. It is a unique moment for survivors, women’s rights organizations, and civil society groups worldwide to demand that the United Nations, Member States, regional organizations, the International Criminal Court, and the International Court of Justice take concerted action to end sexual slavery in collaboration with civil society, the media, academia, faith-based institutions and other key stakeholders.

The Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP), with support from the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), coordinated a global research to analyze historical and contemporary incidences of sexual slavery, from World War Two to the present geopolitical context. The overall goal of the research is to promote synergies in the implementation of the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Agenda, international humanitarian and human rights laws, and policies to prevent and counter violent extremism to improve the prevention of, protection from, accountability mechanisms for, and relief and recovery for survivors of sexual slavery. To ensure that this research reflects the voices of survivors of sexual slavery and women’s civil society on the ground in conflict-affected communities, the research team produced three case studies: one on sexual slavery during World War Two in Asia and the Pacific, and two on more recent incidences of sexual slavery in Uganda and Iraq respectively. Key informant interviews and focus group discussions with survivors of conflict-related sexual slavery, women’s rights activists, local and national government officials, human rights lawyers, and grassroots peacebuilders in Korea, Uganda, and Iraq, along with global policymakers were conducted.

 

This advocacy brief summarizes the key findings and recommendations of the global research and case studies. The full-length global research and case studies will also be made available. GNWP hopes that this research will inform and strengthen the global response to conflict-related sexual slavery and survivor-centered implementation of the WPS Agenda. Critically, this research will serve as a key advocacy tool for victims and survivors of sexual slavery and their families, and civil society activists.

Picture credits : UNICEF Crna Gora

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South Sudan: UN official welcomes release of women and children abducted by armed group

The expert leading UN efforts to stamp out sexual violence committed during wartime has welcomed the release of 78 women and 50 children by an armed group in South Sudan.

 

UN News (04.02.2020) – https://bit.ly/31Mlk1i – They were among more than 500 women and children abducted between April and August 2018 by the pro-Riek Machar Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO RM) and subjected to repeated rape, sexual slavery and forced marriage.

 

“This release is an encouraging and long-awaited development, in a context of prevailing insecurity and immense operational, logistical and resource constraints,” said Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, in a statement issued on Tuesday.

 

Release followed months of negotiations

 

South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, has been marred by years of conflict and instability following a political crisis which led to conflict between supporters of President Salvar Kiir and Mr. Machar, his former deputy, in December 2013.

 

The two leaders were expected to form a unity government last November, in line with a September 2018 peace deal, but the deadline was extended to this month.

 

Ms. Patten said the release of the abducted women and children followed months of negotiation between Mr. Machar and his local commanders and her Office, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), and its Senior Women Protection Adviser.

 

“When I met with Dr. Machar last year, I expressed my grave concern about the plight of these women and children, many of whom were reportedly subjected to systematic and brutal forms of conflict-related sexual violence”, she said.

 

“As a result of our discussion, he issued a command order calling for the release of all women and children held against their will and their transfer to the United Nations and its civil society partners. This order was in line with the Unilateral Communiqué on the Prevention of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence, which was signed by the SPLA-IO in 2014 in the framework of my mandate”.

 

Women and children inspired to come forward

 

The women and children who were freed had been held for many months in military bases in the Western Equatoria region of South Sudan.

 

They are currently being supported by the UN and its civil society partners and have been referred for medical and psychosocial support.

 

Several of the women are pregnant and also have been referred to prenatal healthcare facilities.

 

Ms. Patten said their release is encouraging other women and children to come forward and seek support.

 

Her Office will continue to advocate for the release of the remaining abductees being held in Western Equatoria.


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