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06/19/2017 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/19/2017 11:59

Secretary-General, in Message for International Day, Urges Rededication to Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict, on Behalf of Every Survivor

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres' message for the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, observed today, 19 June:

Today we pay tribute to the women, girls, men and boys who have suffered the atrocity of sexual violence in conflict, and we reaffirm our global commitment to eliminate this scourge.

Rape and sexual violence in conflict are tactics of terrorism and war, used strategically to humiliate, degrade and destroy, and often to pursue a campaign of ethnic cleansing. They should never be downplayed as war's inevitable by-product. Sexual violence is a threat to every individual's right to a life of dignity, and to humanity's collective peace and security.

The United Nations is making every effort to address the root causes of conflict-related sexual violence by using preventive diplomacy, fostering peacebuilding and development, encouraging national action, and ending gender discrimination. We will continue to monitor, report, provide care for survivors and spare no effort in pressing for perpetrators to be held accountable.

The United Nations is constantly striving to enhance the capacity of our peacekeeping personnel to protect vulnerable civilians and to pursue justice in the case of all abuses. Each and every one of us has a responsibility to help put a stop to these crimes.

Let us therefore use this Day to rededicate ourselves, on behalf of every survivor, to ending sexual violence in conflict and providing peace and justice for all.