International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict

In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 19 the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict. The Hilton Prize Coalition joins in the effort to shed light on the plight of those suffering from sexual violence in conflict, and call for greater efforts in protection and prevention.

When used in the context of conflict, sexual violence serves as a military or political tactic to subjugate the opposing side. In a report from the UN, the term “conflict-related sexual violence” refers to “rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, forced abortion, enforced sterilization, forced marriage, and any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity perpetrated against women, men, girls or boys that is directly or indirectly linked to a conflict.” The victims in conflict are targeted strategically from opposing ethnic, religious or political groups, reflecting a larger war or crisis.

The effects of sexual violence can have a lasting impact on its victims. Victims who are able to return to their homes may be outcastes from their society due to their contact with the enemy. As a result, it destroys families and communities. In the extreme, rape and forced sterilization could eradicate the next generation, an act tantamount to genocide.

The 2018 theme of International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict draws attention to one of the effects of violence, “The Plight and Rights of Children Born of War.” The theme highlights the struggle of those born from rape, who often struggle with issues of identity and are seen as a child of the enemy. As outcastes of society, they become more susceptible to recruitment and radicalization by terrorist groups. By drawing attention to the struggles of these people, the UN hopes to foster solidarity with the survivors and their children and give them a voice to advocate for their rights.

Women for Women International (WFWI), a member of the Hilton Prize Coalition, was founded to help survivors of sexual violence from conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The organization works to promote the civil rights of women and girls and empowers them to build stronger communities. WFWI cites violence against women and girls as “one of the biggest global challenges in enabling women and girls to the full and equal enjoyment of their rights.” WFWI strives to change the social norms that tolerate violence towards women by educating both men and women on the rights of women and advocating for services for those who are victims.

In 2016, the UN passed a resolution that allows for greater cooperation in systematic monitoring and information-sharing to deter the transnational trafficking of persons. The resolution also affirmed sexual violence as an act of terrorism, calling for global action to prevent sexual violence from being used as a tool in recruitment and radicalization. By holding perpetrators accountable, states can deter future crimes of sexual violence.

For additional information, visit the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict resource page.

About The Hilton Prize Coalition
The Hilton Prize Coalition is an independent alliance of the 22 winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. Through three signature programs—the Fellows Program, the Collaborative Models Program and the Storytelling Program—the Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat, Global Impact.

To learn more about the Hilton Prize Coalition, visit prizecoalition.charity.org, or contact prizecoalition@charity.org. Follow the Hilton Prize Coalition on Twitter and LinkedIn, and “Like” us on Facebook.

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