Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Joyce Msuya, closing remarks at the side event at the United Nations General Assembly: Ensuring accountability for sexual violence and other serious violations of international humanitarian law – World


As delivered

Excellencies and guests, thank you very much for being here. I must also thank the organizers of this timely event today, Belgium, the DRC and the EU.

It is very clear that we collectively have a clear idea of ​​what needs to be done. Now we have to chart the way forward.

But, before we get to the question of how to achieve greater accountability for sexual violence in conflict, as we’ve heard, let’s start with better prevention.

Prevention begins with understanding the problem.

But if we want to understand the problem, we have to listen. We need to listen to survivors of sexual violence. And we need to listen to the organizations that work on the front lines and face sexual violence every day.

With a better understanding, we can begin to put victims of sexual violence at the center of our work. As we heard today, the role of a survivor-centred approach cannot be overstated. We can begin to reshape how we respond to humanitarian crises while addressing the extreme power imbalances and inequalities that drive this devastating form of violence.

We must also work tirelessly to ensure that women and women’s organizations lead and participate in all areas of humanitarian action. This means empowering survivors of sexual violence while strengthening the women’s organizations that play such a central role in addressing a crisis of epidemic proportions.

Second – and this has been raised by many here today – we need to close the chronic funding gap for programs that aim to end gender inequality and gender-based violence.

Without funding, we simply cannot solve the problem. Survivors need accessible, quality assistance that covers sexual and reproductive care, psychosocial support and legal services. With adequate funding, we can treat survivors as the unique individuals that they are, prioritizing their specific needs in ways that truly empower them.

It’s about their integrity.

Third, we must continue to strengthen collaboration between the humanitarian, development and peace sectors. This is what makes the UN Action Network so unique and essential.

And finally, we need to see much greater progress in holding perpetrators accountable for violations. It is disturbing that the majority of incidents still go unaddressed.

The cost of inaction is quite high.

Finally, survivors demand and deserve justice, so let’s all do a better job of delivering it.

Not just in statements, but in action.



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