The importance of survivor-centred approaches in eliminating sexual violence in conflict
International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict: The Importance of a Survivor-Centred Approach
Statement by Mrs. Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
19 June 2019
Excellencies, distinguished panelists,
I am very grateful to Argentina for gathering us on this very special international day and for focusing the discussion on a survivor centered approach in our collective fight to end rape in war. The emotions we all felt when listening to the powerful presentations of our speakers and watching the heartbreaking video about the victims of sexual violence in Iraq must now be transformed into energy for action.
SRSG Pramila Patten has presented eloquently what the survivor centered approach and the human rights based approach entail, in particular for delivering effective justice.
Docteur Mukwege and Nadia Murad have also repeatedly testified here in the United Nations about what a survivor-centered approach means : it means recognition, it means access to justice and delivery of effective justice, it means reparations and, first and foremost, it means being able to survive and overcome the trauma. This means having the financial capacity and getting the health and psychosocial support needed, including of course the access to sexual and reproductive health. It is indeed inconceivable [as the Representative of Canada just said] to fight sexual violence in conflict and not to provide sexual and reproductive healthcare. Docteur Mukwege told us many times that, in such cases, providing sexual and reproductive health care and services simply means being professional as a Doctor, as a medical staff.
France had the opportunity to organize a Ministerial level side event during CSW, together with Senegal, Belgium, Switzerland and the Mukwege Foundation. We were very proud then to announce then that France would be the first country to finance the prefiguration team for the Survivors’ Fund launched by the Mukwege Foundation and the Nadia Initiative, after decades of cooperation with Docteur Mukwege and a full commitment of the French authorities alongside Nadia Murad in Iraq.
Chère Madame Epayé, je voudrais aussi vous remercier chaleureusement pour votre intervention très éclairante aujourd’hui. Nous devons en effet renforcer nos efforts pour lutter contre les violences sexuelles dans le conflit en RCA. La Cour Spéciale, avec le soutien d’UMIRR et de la MINUSCA, a bien sûr un rôle absolument crucial à jouer. Le renforcement des capacités judiciaires et le renforcement de la participation des femmes dans celles-ci sont également des éléments essentiels dans la poursuite de cet objectif. Une approche centrée sur les victimes, c’est aussi une approche féministe à bien des égards.
Our commitment is also, and must also be, a commitment to protect children, notably in armed conflicts. I would also like to thank Mrs. Gamba for reminding us that children are victims of sexual violence too, a horrific violation that is very sadly still underreported.
Finally, I would like to thank Amanda Nguyen for her remarkable speech and engagement. France, together with Argentina and the UK, will do its utmost to move the agenda forward and to make sure that survivors have access to justice and to essential services, in all situations, including situations of conflict, but not only limited to them. France counts on all member states to join the effort and to support this initiative.
We must indeed join forces now, and use all the opportunities of the forthcoming months: we will have the G7 Summit in August in Biarritz in France, we will have the High Level week in September, we will have the anniversary of your mandate Mrs. Patten, and also in 2020, we will have the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the 20th anniversary of UNSCR 1325.
You can count on France, which will be hosting the Beijing + 25 Global Forum and will organize it together with Mexico, to remain fully committed to the fight against sexual violence in conflict. Survivors have delivered very powerful testimonies. All will continue to resonate with us and be a constant call for action. Thank you.