UN Security Council should stand in solidarity with survivors of rape in conflict

Dr. Denis Mukwege is Nobel Peace laureate and the founder of Panzi Hospital and Foundation.

Nadia Murad is Nobel Peace laureate and president of Nadia’s Initiative.

The honor bestowed on us by the Norwegian Nobel Committee in late 2018, when we jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize, comes with tremendous responsibility. We believe it is our duty to bring forward the voices of survivors of sexual violence in conflict, their families and communities and advocate for more comprehensive and impactful approaches to prevent and respond to conflict-related sexual violence – particularly to those who have the means to strengthen prevention. This includes the United Nations Security Council as the preeminent institution for maintaining international peace and security.

This Tuesday we have the privilege of addressing the UN Security Council in person as part of its annual Open Debate on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in New York. We commend Germany’s initiative to introduce a new Security Council resolution during its Presidency which, importantly, recognizes the need for survivor centric approaches.

We recognize this is a critical and historical moment in terms of how the crime of sexual violence is used as a weapon of war, the role terrorism plays, and how both are addressed. We are pleased that unprecedented attention regarding the plight of survivors and their needs are being considered. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that the international community is failing to prevent these mass atrocities from occurring.

The UN Secretary-General recently published his 10th report on Conflict Related Sexual Violence. The report highlights 19 countries, where the detrimental and lasting impact of prolonged sexual violence continues to devastate victims and impede peace and prosperity. It puts forth several critical recommendations – ones consistently made by survivors in our own countries of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Iraq, as well as in many of other countries we have visited.