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Special Event on the Occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict (June 19)

Intervention by the Permanent Representative of the Argentine Republic, Amb. Martín García Moritán

June 19


Excellences, distinguished guests, please take your seats, so we can start the event. Thank you very much.

Excellences, dear colleagues, distinguished guests, good afternoon, and welcome to this special event which marks the third formal observance at the United Nations of the “International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict”.

It is an honour for the Permanent Mission of Argentina to be hosting this event once again, together with the Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom and the Offices of the Special Representatives of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict and for Children and Armed Conflict, in commemoration of this international day.

Allow me also to acknowledge the presence of the SRSG on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Her Excellency Pramila Patten; the SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict, Her Excellency Virginia Gamba; His Excellency Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Special Representative of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict; and of our distinguished panelists.

Let me remind you that today´s event is being transmitted live through webcast via UN web TV, for those around the world who couldn´t be here with us. Also, please feel free to join us in tweeting live during the event using the hashtag #ChildrenBornofWar and #EndRapeinWar.

Excellences, dear colleagues,

We gathered here today to observe, for the third time, the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, which was established by the General Assembly in 2015, following an initiative of the Government of Argentina and the Offices of the SRSGs on SVC and CAAC.

In accordance to General Assembly resolution 69/293, which was co-sponsored by 114 Member States of the United Nations, the objective of the establishment of the International Day is to raise awareness of the need to put an end to conflict-related sexual violence, to honour the victims and survivors of sexual violence around the world and to pay tribute to all those who have courageously devoted their lives to and lost their lives in standing up for the eradication of this crime.

The theme for this year´s observance is “The Plight and Rights of Children Born of War”. We wanted to highlight on this occasion the situation of a group of victims of sexual violence who are often invisible or unaccounted for, within the general context of the invisibility and impunity that surrounds sexual violence in conflict.

Children born as a consequence of sexual violence in conflict face many challenges; the main ones being stigma and discrimination, together with lack of recognition before the law and within their communities. They are also victims, usually stigmatized and marginalized by their own families and communities, who often consider them as “sons of the enemy” or “bad blood”, and alienate them. This translates very often into a lack of recognition before the law and denial of their identity, as well as many other violations of their most basic human rights. As stated in the last Secretary General´s report on SVC, the stigma associated with sexual violence can have life-long, and sometimes lethal, repercussions for both survivors and children conceived through rape.

The goal of International days is to raise awareness on specific issues and to set a stage for dialogue and discussion in order to address them, listening to victims and people affected by those phenomenon and generating a platform for debate at all levels, in order to promote a greater commitment of the international community to tackle such challenges. This year’s observance of the International Day provides an opportunity to reflect on ways to amplify the voices of women and children affected by conflict-related sexual violence in policy and decision-making forums, as well as to share new research findings and first-hand experiences of children born of rape in wartime who have endured isolation and ostracism in highly-polarized societies.

States, the international community, civil society and community leaders, we all need to continue working to prevent and eliminate sexual violence in conflict and curb the stigmatization, marginalization and discrimination associated with it. We need to continue working towards shining a light to this often invisible crime, and ensuring accountability for the perpetrators.

Some actions, among many others, in which we need to continue working and redoubling our efforts and political will are: the inclusion of gender justice and multidisciplinary support services for victims in post-conflict reconstruction efforts; the provision of multidisciplinary and multifaceted socioeconomic support services to survivors in order to promote their reintegration into their communities and families, aimed to alleviate stigma and mend the social fabric; and the legal recognition of victims of sexual violence in conflict in order to allow them to access reparation and redress.

Distinguished colleagues,

Today´s event will consist on an opening segment, with statements from Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon and SRSGs Patten and Gamba, followed by a musical performance by the UN Chamber Music Society, and a panel discussion featuring a statement by a former child born of war and civil society representative, and the presentation of a report on closing the protection gap for children born of war. To conclude, we will have a brief space for interventions from Member States and closing remarks by SRSG Patten.

We hope that today´s event will help us to shed a light on this much neglected and often invisible crime, and to reflect about this issue and the necessary steps and measures that are needed in order to prevent and put an end to these crimes. 

I thank you.

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