United States Mission to the United Nations
Office of Press and Public Diplomacy
For Immediate Release
June 19, 2023
Statement by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield on the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict
Today, we pay homage to the victims and survivors of conflict-related sexual violence by re-committing ourselves to holding the perpetrators of sexual violence accountable and by backing on countries to deliver the long overdue justice that the victims and survivors deserve.
Sexual violence is too often used as a weapon of war. Survivors, their families, and their communities endure life-long trauma as a result of these horrific acts. We must provide the support services that survivors need for rehabilitation. Survivors need medical care, mental health and psychosocial support services; and they need economic and livelihood support to rebuild their lives.
Conflict-related sexual violence is prevalent around the world. Russian soldiers in Ukraine, gang members in Haiti, armed groups in Sudan, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are using gender-based violence, including sexual violence, to terrorize and control populations with impunity. The rapidly deteriorating situation in areas of conflict underscore the critical need for our urgent attention and action on this issue.
Daughters, sons, friends, neighbors – sexual violence harms all people, especially women and girls. For every case that is reported, we know there are countless more that are not. We have a collective responsibility to better prevent and respond to the egregious act of sexual violence in conflict. We owe it to the courageous survivors who have come forward – and those that have been silenced by fear – to act now.