International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict
2018 Theme: “The Plight and Rights of Children Born of War”
"The effects of conflict-related sexual violence echo across generations, through trauma, stigma, poverty, poor health and unwanted pregnancy. The children whose existence emanates from that violence have been labelled “bad blood” or “children of the enemy”, and alienated from their mother’s social group. Children conceived through rape in wartime often struggle with issues of identity and belonging for decades after the end of war. They are rarely accepted by society, and unsafe abortion remains a leading cause of maternal mortality in conflict-affected settings.
The stigma associated with sexual violence can have life-long, and sometimes lethal, repercussions for both survivors and children conceived through rape. Socioeconomic reintegration support, aimed to alleviate stigma and mend the social fabric, should therefore infuse all post-conflict reconstruction and recovery efforts.
On this day, we strive to foster solidarity with survivors who endure multiple, intersecting stigmas in the wake of sexual violence, including the stigma of association with an armed or terrorist group, and of bearing children conceived through rape by the enemy. Often, these women and children are viewed as affiliates, rather than victims, of armed and violent extremist groups. These children may be left stateless, in a legal limbo, and susceptible to recruitment, radicalization, trafficking and exploitation, with wider implications for peace and security, as well as human rights. However, the issue of children born of war has been missing from both the international human rights framework and from peace and security discourse, rendering them a voiceless category of victims."
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