Sexual Violence in Conflict: Identifying Gaps in Theory and Practice of National Jurisdictions in the Arab Region

11 Oct 2018

Expert Group Meeting Report

Rape, sexual slavery, trafficking, forced and early marriages are a few examples of sexual crimes perpetrated against women and girls, that increase during conflict situations. The damage of such acts on their lives is ever-lasting. Social stigma and the lack of the adequate legal channels often leave victims without vital support, with dire consequences for themselves, their families and communities. How to address the needs of victims and survivors of such crimes through comprehensive access to justice and support, and how to encourage survivors to come forward are some of the questions discussed in this expert meeting summary.

UN Women, UNDP and the UN Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict organized a two-day expert meeting to discuss accountability for sexual violence during conflict in the context of the Middle East in April 2018. Among other things, the experts asserted the need to separate the issue of ‘sex’ from ‘sexual violence’ in order to ensure an adequate justice response, to destigmatize the crime and shift the shame from the victim to the perpetrator. Experts also agreed on the importance of holistic and comprehensive justice for survivors of sexual violence and their communities.

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