June 19, 2021 (TDI): Every year on 19th June the UN international day for the elimination of sexual violence in a conflict is observed. In 2015 UN general assembly declared 19th June as the day for the elimination of sexual violence in conflict. 19th June was selected as the date to observe the day in regards to the Security Council resolution 1820 passed on 19th June 2008 in which sexual violence was declared as a tactic of war and also a menace to international peace and stability.
The day is observed each year to create awareness about the sexual abuse during war scenarios, to honor the survivors and victims of such abuse and to praise those who have stood against such crimes and have lost their lives in an attempt to eradicate sexual violence. Rape, sexual slavery, involuntary prostitution, forced pregnancy, human trafficking and any other form of sexual violence of similar nature committed against women, men, girls, or boys that are directly or indirectly related to a conflict is referred to as sexual violence in a conflict.
The COVID circumstances have led to a rise in such cases. Due pandemic the shelters and clinics were open and prepared to tackle the virus only and along with lockdowns, curfews, and limited access to services and safe spaces added to the already difficult structural, institutional, and sociocultural barriers to reporting such violence. UN secretary-general António Guterres on today’s occasion, in a message also talked about the issue and clearly stated that we cannot let sexual violence which is already under-reported, go unnoticed any further in the COVID circumstances.
A virtual event was also organized and the Office of the Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict, the Office of the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, and Argentina’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations co-hosted the event. The event provided a forum, where tactical solutions were discussed to help the conflict-related sexual violence survivors (CRSV). Recovery and response plans for the survivors in the COVID situations were also discussed so that they are not left un neglected and such crimes don’t go unreported.
On the occasion, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan also tweeted that Pakistan joins the international community in commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, which symbolizes the shared commitment of Pakistan to stop all forms of violence, exploitation, and violations of human rights in conflict zones, including illegally occupied Kashmir.