News – HEIP and the NGO We are Not Weapons of War together against war rape

Home » school » News – HEIP and the NGO We are Not Weapons of War together against war rape

HEIP and the NGO We are Not Weapons of War together against war rape

HEIP and WWoW mobilize for survivors of war rape in the time of COVID-19

On June 19, HEIP and the NGO We are not Weapons of War (WWoW) jointly organized a webinar on rape as a weapon of war, in times of COVID-19, broadcast live on Facebook.

The use of rape as a weapon of war is recurrent in conflicts around the world. This phenomenon affects millions of women, children and men in many countries. The victims, traumatized, terrified, cannot speak. And when they do, they face head-on the ravages of impunity.

War rape is not a sexual drive or collateral damage of war. It is a low cost, silent weapon: a slow and multiple deflagration bomb.
In order to make it a public issue in France and around the world, WWoW has worked hard to have the United Nations record an international day against the use of rape in conflicts. This day was finally created

In 2018, The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to Dr. Denis Mukwege, Congolese surgeon, founder of the Panzi hospital in South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo where thousands of women have been victims since 1996 of massive rapes and extreme violence; and to Ms. Nadia Murad, Yazidi genocide survivor, Daesh sex slave and Iraqi activist, founder of Nadia’s initiative.

In 2019, Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad, with the support of many experts including those of WWoW, launched the Global Survivors Fund aimed at creating a “reparations” fund for victims of conflict-related sexual violence, for lack of systems. effective reparations in the judicial systems or at the State level.

The same year, Céline Bardet, founder of WWoW and Denis Mukwege, Founder of Panzi Hospital, co-organised, on the initiative of HRH the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, the STAND SPEAK RISE UP forum aimed at giving voice to survivors of war rape and initiating global advocacy on conflict-related sexual violence in cooperation with the SEMA Network, a network of survivors of sexual violence in conflicts around the world.

In 2020, the pandemic linked to the appearance of Covid19 impacted the whole world. On March 23, 2020, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Antonio Gutterres issued a request for a global ceasefire in the context of the pandemic, reiterating that “a global ceasefire would bring hope to those whom the pandemic has put even more in difficulty, the vulnerable populations”. But the conflicts and violence did not stop during the period of health crisis on the one hand, they were just invisible; and on the other hand the survivors (women, men and children) found themselves in positions of particular vulnerability without access to care or resources to feed and protect themselves. The pandemic, beyond being a health catastrophe, is for many developing countries an economic catastrophe creating more impoverishment while giving the opportunity to certain countries to accentuate the use of authority to maintain confinements, to the detriment of the well-being of the people.

However, many initiatives have also emerged. Survivors have taken the lead in their communities by making masks, distributing hydroalcoholic gel or raising awareness about barrier gestures in risk areas and among at-risk populations.

The pandemic has therefore also enabled these survivors, the vast majority of whom are women, to become leaders within their communities, confirming the need to allow more women to access leadership positions within their communities or in institutions. .

The pandemic changed priorities and many survivors were unable to access medical and psychosocial care for months. The confinement has also put many survivors in dramatic economic conditions who can no longer work, therefore earn money and be able to feed themselves and find accommodation. The pandemic has also dramatically limited access to police and justice services for many survivors and victims of crimes committed during this pandemic period, accentuating the impunity that already exists and also creating the perception that the crimes committed during this period are not would never be prosecuted or counted.

The resources allocated to organizations such as WWoW, like others at the local level in particular, have been reduced in favor of funding health projects to respond to the pandemic. This posture of many donors has dramatic consequences on the possibilities of action with regard to sexual violence and war rape. This also has dramatic consequences in the long term: if the pandemic remains a global priority, the sectors of justice, health (outside the pandemic) and psychosocial support services remain essential.

Thanks to its BackUp tool, many survivors have contacted WWoW to describe their situation, which is often dramatic in terms of security, access to healthcare and economics.
In addition, violence has been exacerbated during the pandemic period, including the commission of rape and sexual violence and the lack of functioning of institutions such as limited access to medical and psycho-social services adds to the constraints and difficulties.

On June 19, International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, HEIP joins forces with Céline Bardet and her NGO We are not Weapons of War to highlight the situation of conflict-related sexual violence in the world with regard to this pandemic, to give voice and light to survivors in order to understand the issues and be able to respond to them.

The webinar was presented by two of our students, Iman Mapakou and Léane Bergeret, from the HUMA student association .
The speakers were Céline Bardet , founder of WWoW, Léa-Rose Stoian , deputy director of WWoW, journalist Louise Pluyaud , as well as two survivors of war rape, a man and a woman, who preferred to remain anonymous.

Rediscover the event:

Updated 22 February 2022