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UK calls for global action to end the stigma faced by children born of sexual violence in conflict

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Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon called on the international community to step up to protect rights and improve lives of children born from sexual violence in conflict.

The international community must step up to protect the rights and improve the lives of children born from sexual violence in conflict, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict and Minister of State will say today (Monday 22 November) at a special event at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

There are no official statistics on the number of children born each year as a result of sexual violence in conflict, but we know it is a widespread issue in wars around the world. The UN estimates that more than 60,000 women were raped during the civil war in Sierra Leone, up to 60,000 in the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, and at least 200,000 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1998. Children born of sexual violence in conflict miss out on education and health services because it is often not possible for them to be registered at birth. They and their mothers also face stigma and being ostracised from society.

Today Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, will speak at an event that will be attended by the UN, international partners, NGOs, academics and campaigners such as Lejla Damon, who was born of sexual violence during the Balkan conflict.

He will call on countries around the world to endorse a UK-led call to action and commit to working together to:

Background

  • the Foreign Secretary Liz Truss last week launched a major global campaign to stop sexual violence against women and girls in conflict around the world
  • the Foreign Secretary’s campaign will build on work started by her predecessor William Hague, who set up the Preventing Violence in Sexual Conflict Initiative with UN Special Envoy Angelina Jolie in 2012. Lord Ahmad, the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, works directly with the Foreign Secretary on this initiative
  • the UK will host a global conference next year to unite the world in action to prevent sexual violence in conflict. The conference will bring together foreign ministers from all over the world in support of the campaign to end impunity for violence against women and girls
  • the UK is already supporting change at a community level through organisations like World Vision. The programme is working in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan to end the stigma faced by survivors of sexual violence and children born as a result. Through the programme, faith leaders are helping to identify and address continued challenges to the acceptance, well-being and empowerment of survivors and children born of sexual violence. The principles of the UK-led Declaration of Humanity are the cornerstone of the project, with an emphasis on ensuring children’s and survivors’ voices are heard and listened to in the community
  • later this year, the UN Secretary-General will be issuing a special report on the rights of and challenges facing children born of sexual violence and women who bore them. The Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General is leading on the collation of this report

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