MIL-OSI United Nations: Let Us Recommit ‘to Protecting Hospitals, Health-Care Facilities during Conflict’, Says Secretary-General in Message on Day for Elimination of Sexual Violence

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Source: United Nations General Assembly and Security Council

SG/SM/22263

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

Conflict-related sexual violence is a devastating form of attack and repression, which has lasting, harmful effects on survivors’ physical, sexual, reproductive and mental health, and destroys the social fabric of communities.

Despite widespread awareness and condemnation, this grotesque crime continues around the world.  The past year has seen harrowing reports of sexual violence from Sudan to Haiti and Israel.  Far too often, the perpetrators walk free while survivors spend their entire lives in recovery.

This year’s International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict focuses on health care.  Hospitals and other health-care facilities should be beacons of safety and healing for all those injured in conflict, including the survivors of sexual violence.  These are fundamental tenets of international humanitarian law.

But attacks on hospitals and health-care facilities, and the targeting of health-care workers, can severely limit access to medical care and psychosocial support for survivors.  Women and girls who experience sexual violence may become pregnant from rape and require immediate sexual and reproductive health care.  Men and boys may be at risk of increased isolation if they cannot access appropriate care.

On this International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, let us pledge to eliminate this scourge, stand in solidarity with survivors, and reaffirm our commitment to protecting hospitals and health-care facilities during conflict.

For information media. Not an official record.

MIL OSI United Nations News