TransConflict is pleased to announce that it has become a signatory to the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict.
The International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict calls for urgent political leadership and concerted international action to prevent, protect and prosecute to stop rape in conflict. In particular, the Campaign calls for:
- Powerful and urgent leadership on the local, national, regional, and international levels to prevent and stop rape and gender violence and conflict situations;
- A dramatic increase in resources for prevention and protection and for psychosocial and physical healing for survivors, their families, and communities, including concerted efforts to end stigma of survivors;
- Justice for victims, including prosecution of perpetrators at national, regional, and international levels, and comprehensive reparation for survivors.
The Campaign is motivated by the following:
- Because we envision a world without war, rape, and gender violence where women and men are equal;
- Because rape and gender violence destroy individuals and families, entire communities and the fabric of society;
- Because rape and gender violence have increasingly become a deliberate tactic of terror in war and other conflict situations;
- Because in recent years along, massive numbers of women – and sometimes men and boys – have suffered not only the physical trauma of rape and gender violence in war and other conflict situations, but also the shame and stigma that often leaves survivors suffering in silence;
- Because perpetrators of rape and gender violence go unpunished and impunity is the order of the day;
- Because national, regional, and international commitments to end rape and gender violence in war and other conflict situations are either seriously inadequate or are not being enforced; and
- Because women and girls, men and boys across the world demand and expect justice.
The International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict has pinpointed the following country case studies:
- Burma – Burma’s military regime has used violence as a tool of repression against the civilian population and particularly ethnic minorities. The state armed forces continue to be the main perpetrators of human rights violations, including systematic rape. Rape is used as a weapon to intimidate, and with many of the ethnic women attacked—to break or weaken the bonds of their communities and families. Survivor support is still difficult to obtain, especially for women in displaced communities, with the stigma attached to gender violence remaining significantly high.
- Colombia – During the conflict in Colombia, the government has stayed silent on the reports of widespread and systematic gender violence throughout the country. Local organizations and activists, who have monitored the conflict, continually decry the institutionalized gender discrimination rooted within society that provides a culture for rape. While silence often prevails, with survivors of rape facing both stigma and fear of reprisal attacks from their perpetrators, there is significant evidence of systematic violence against the women of Colombia. Gender violence is perpetrated by all participants in the conflict including guerilla groups, paramilitary forces, and the state security forces.
- Democratic Republic of Congo – Rape and gender violence has been marked by extreme brutality including rape, gang rape, genital mutilation, sexual slavery, and insertion of objects into cavities. The incidence of rape remains highest in areas where military operations take place, yet there has been a sharp rise in gender violence throughout the whole of the country. The severe gender imbalance, with prevailing impunity, has allowed for a society where rape is acceptable and unpunished. Domestic violence, rape by former troops living within communities, and by men in positions of power – including police officers – is common. Survivors still lack comprehensive support, and are often too ashamed and fearful to come forward.
- Kenya – Due to high levels of gender inequality and discriminatory perceptions of power, rape and gender violence is a feature of Kenyan society even during peacetime. Yet, gender violence is linked and exacerbated by conflicts and tensions over ethnicity, land, and resources. During the post-election violence in 2007-2008, gender violence was perpetrated along ethnic lines to humiliate, terrorize, and break the bonds of the rival community. Evidence of widespread rape, gang rape, sexual mutilation, and forced circumcision against women and men has been gathered. There were repeated cases of forced female genital mutilation on women who were part of groups who no longer practiced it, or women from the perpetrators own ethnic group who were in a relationship with men from other communities. The violence signified a forceful return to former “traditions.”