The International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict

The International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict

The International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict is observed on 19 June. The date was chosen to mark the adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1820 (2008) on 19 June 2008, which condemned sexual violence as a tactic of war. International humanitarian law prohibits and condemns conflict-related sexual violence. 

Conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) includes rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, forced abortion, forced sterilisation, forced marriage, and any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity against women, men, girls, or boys that is directly or indirectly (temporally, spatially, or causally) related to the conflict. 

In Russia’s war against Ukraine, reports of sexual violence have been documented since 2014. However, since the full-scale invasion, Russian troops have employed sexual violence as a method of warfare on an unprecedented scale. This includes using it as a means to intimidate, retaliate, or “punish” civilians in the occupied territories. Victims of sexual violence in this conflict include women, men, and children. 

As of June 2024, since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, prosecutors have documented 298 cases of CRSV. These cases involve 109 male victims and 189 female victims, including 15 minors – 14 girls and a boy. Reported incidents of CRSV include rape, genital mutilation or violence, forced nudity, threats and attempted rapes, coercion to witness the sexual abuse of loved ones, etc. 

Currently, the largest number of cases of sexual violence has been recorded in the Kherson region – 91, Kyiv region – 57, Donetsk region – 75, Kharkiv region – 33, Zaporizhzhia region – 19, Chernihiv region – 8, Luhansk region – 3, Mykolaiv region – 10, and Sumy region – 2. 

It is important to note that CRSV constitutes severe violations of international humanitarian law when committed against protected persons in the context or connection of an international armed conflict. Such acts are considered within the definitions of “torture or cruel treatment” or actions that “willfully cause great suffering or serious injury to body or health.” 

The Ukrainian Red Cross is implementing a project on the rights of victims of sexual violence during armed aggression with the support of the French Red Cross. 


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