NPWJ calls for concrete action to end sexual and gender-based violence in conflict at Global Summit in London

13 Jun, 2014 | Press Releases

London, United Kingdom, 13 June 2013

On 10-13 June 2014, No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) contributed to the “Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict”, which was held in London, United Kingdom, and co-chaired by Foreign Secretary William Hague and Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The summit brought together 900 representatives from state and government agencies, NGOs, international organisations, experts and stakeholders from over 100 countries. The NPWJ Delegation included Alison Smith, Legal Counsel and Director of the International Criminal Justice Program, and Alvilda Jablonko, Coordinator of the Female Genital Mutilation and Gender Program. NPWJ was honoured to serve as a judge on the Ending Sexual Violence Hackathon, which saw the development of innovative approaches to using technology as a tool to promote ending sexual and gender-based violence in conflict and to supporting victims of these crimes.

The purpose of this three-day event was to discuss and promote strategies and measures to be implemented in order to address one of the most pressing human rights issues of our time, namely sexual and gender-based violence in conflict. Fostering political commitment and enhancing coordination of action at national and international level is crucial to prevent this human rights violation, to investigate and punish it effectively and to provide reparation, protection and support to victims as well as to human rights defenders working on the issue, often at serious risk to themselves.

The Global Summit was also the opportunity for launching the International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict. The main purpose of this initiative, supported by the Government of the United Kingdom, is to support efforts by national and international justice and human rights practitioners to document sexual violence as a crime under international law effectively and protectively. It does this by setting out the basic principles and standards gleaned from best practice in the field.

Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) continues to be an under-reported but devastating crime committed in numerous conflict-affected countries across the world. From Afghanistan to the Democratic Republic of CongoBosnia to Syria and Sudan, women and girls as well as men and boys have been and are targets of such abuses committed by armed forces or groups in total impunity. Accountability and redress for these past and ongoing human rights violations must be put at centre stage if there is to be any hope for reaching lasting stability, reconciliation and peace in affected countries.

One of the primary reasons for the lack of prosecutions for SGBV in conflict is the difficulty of gathering and securing critical evidence for future criminal investigations and prosecutions, as well as of handling the trauma faced by survivors in the process. The international community should help and support the monitoring and documentation efforts of activists and NGOs working on the ground as well as provide assistance in building up appropriate accountability mechanisms to ensure perpetrators can face justice and the experiences of victims and survivors are not forgotten in the post-conflict world.

For further information, contact Alison Smith on or +32-2-548 3912 or Nicola Giovannini on or +32-2-548-3915.