International Day for elimination of sexual violence in conflict zones: Theme, history and significance

Observed on 19 June, the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict is a crucial event that is meant to raise awareness on the urgent need to prevent and combat the heinous incidents of sexual violence in conflict zones.

In 2015, the UN conceived of this initiative in a bid to condemn the gender-based violent acts and strengthen its commitment to end all forms of violence against women/girls.

In fact, this particular date was chosen to honor the very first instance when sexual violence was acknowledged as a weapon of war, an act of terror, rather than an unintended result of war. This recognition happened officially in 2008, by the UN Security Council resolution 1820.

According to the UN website, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2467 on the Prevention of, and Response to, Conflict-related Sexual Violence in 2019. According to this motion, it would ensure enhanced prevention through greater justice and accountability and keep survivors at the centre of efforts to eradicate sexual violence in conflict.

Significance of International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict:

The term ‘conflict-related sexual violence’ is used in cases of rape, sexual slavery, coerced prostitution, marriage, abortion, pregnancy, sterilization and all kinds of sexual violence that are directly or indirectly related to a conflict — according to the UN definition reported by

Owing to stigma, fear of retaliation, lack of service, accessibility, conflict-related sexual crimes are rarely reported.

The UN throws light on the chronic underreporting of such cases and attempts to implement effective measures to create an enabling environment for survivors to safely talk and seek redress and fair treatment.

The stigma in conflict-related sexual abuse is immense as the kids born from sexual violence are usually tagged as ‘bad blood’ or ‘children of the enemy’.

The International Day Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict attempts to not just spread awareness but also intensify the solidarity with the survivors, and honor victims, survivors and those fighting to end the most horrifying and despicable of crimes.

Though there has been no chosen theme this year for the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, in a message, the UN General Secretary, António Guterres has said:

“…let’s resolve to uphold the rights and meet the needs of all survivors, as we work to prevent and end these horrific crimes.”

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