International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict – June 19, 2023

International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict is observed every year on June 19 to raise awareness about sexual violence in conflict and to strategize ways to end these crimes throughout the world. On June 19, 2015, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the date as the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict. This date commemorates the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1820 in which the Council condemned sexual violence as a tactic of war and an impediment to peacebuilding.

History of International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict

Sexual violence during conflict has always been considered an unfortunate result of war, and people have often kept silent about it. One of the first attempts to make a law during armed conflict took place during the American Civil War, with the publication of the Lieber Code in February of 1863. In the law, sexual assault is explicitly mentioned as a punishable act and rape an executable offense. The law was later changed, and the word ‘rape’ disappeared from the text, as the legislators preferred to speak of an attack on the ‘honor of the family.’ This term ‘honor’ is found again in the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, but there are few tweaks as women are mentioned as people who need protection; the word ‘rape’ is reintroduced as an example of an attack on the honor of women.

Ever since its foundation was laid, the International Committee of the Red Cross (I.C.R.C.) has been vocal about the brutalities of war; however, it was not until the late 1990s that the I.C.R.C. became involved in the issue of sexual violence committed during situations of armed conflict. The second additional protocol of 1977 to the Geneva Convention lists prohibitions which include “outrages against personal dignity, rape, enforced prostitution and any form of indecent assault” at any time and any place when committed against persons who did not take part in hostilities.

The number of gender-related killings has increased in recent years, and the day brings to the fore the need for urgent action to empower and protect women and girls and to save lives by preventing gender-based violence. It also commemorates the victims and survivors of sexual violence around the world and pays tribute to all those who have selflessly dedicated their lives to eradicating these crimes.

International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict timeline

1863
The First Law

During the American Civil War, the Lieber Code explicitly mentions sexual assault as a punishable act and rape as an executable offense.

1949
Sexual Violence is Mentioned in Geneva

The 1949 Geneva Convention notes the need to protect the honor of women.

1977
Geneva Convention Prohibits Sexual Violence

The Geneva Convention lists prohibitions that include “outrages against personal dignity, rape, enforced prostitution and any form of indecent assault” at any time and any place when committed against persons who did not take part in hostilities.

1990s
International Humanitarian Law Prohibits Sexual Violence

The infliction of sexual violence upon enemy civilians, members of the armed forces and persons accompanying them, and prisoners of war is prohibited.

International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict FAQs

How can we stop sexual violence in conflict?

Help to make the world a better place where the survivor is not treated as a victim and is cared for, do not shy away from reporting the crime, and create a safer space for people.

What which is observed on November 25?

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

What does orange mean in the world?

The orange color symbolizes a world free from violence.

How to Observe International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict

  1. Spread the message

    Reach the masses by telling people about the heinous crimes committed during wartime. People remain ignorant of this violence and should be aware of these crimes.

  2. Start a petition

    Start a petition to stop these crimes, or find one and sign it. Join other like-minded people and try to prosecute those participating in these crimes.

  3. Read the history

    Read up the history, and you will find that these crimes happen all over the world where there is conflict. Share your research with the people around you.

5 Facts About Violence Against Women

  1. It’s a global problem

    Almost one in three women in the world are subjected to physical or sexual violence at least once in their life.

  2. Most violence is initiated by partners

    Most violence against women is perpetrated by husbands or partners.

  3. The number is high

    According to a 2018 study, one in seven women had experienced physical or sexual violence from a partner or husband.

  4. 81,000 women were killed in 2020

    About 47,000 women were killed by a partner or a family member alone.

  5. More prevalent in vulnerable groups

    Globally violence against women is seen more in lower and middle-income countries.

Why International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict is Important

  1. It spreads awareness

    The International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict spreads awareness about the violent crimes committed in the world. It encourages people to raise their voices against it.

  2. It asks for a better future

    This day is geared to raise hope, so we can fight together to ask for a better future where we all can feel safe and sound. Do your part today to fight for a better future.

  3. It highlights serious concerns

    It raises important questions about society and how easily conflict and domestic circumstances result in detestable crimes against women. Too many people turn a blind eye to these crimes, and this day is about shedding light on such a plight.

International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict dates

YearDateDay
2022June 19Sunday
2023June 19Monday
2024June 19Wednesday
2025June 19Thursday
2026June 19Friday

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