WHO welcomes the Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict signed by 113 Member States attending the 68th UN General Assembly in New York. By signing the declaration, Member States pledged to end the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war, which terrorizes communities during conflict and has very serious health consequences. The declaration sends an important message to the victims of these crimes that the international community has not forgotten them, and to the perpetrators of rape that they will be held to account.
WHO is strongly committed to addressing all forms of violence against women, including sexual violence in conflict. WHO leads the knowledge pillar of UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict—a concerted effort by 13 UN entities to improve coordination and accountability, amplify programming and advocacy and support national efforts to prevent sexual violence and respond effectively to the needs of survivors.
WHO addresses violence against women, including sexual violence in conflict, by:
- building evidence on the magnitude, consequences and effective interventions to prevent and respond to such violence;
- providing guidance and technical support to Member States to strengthen the role of the health sector in both prevention and response to such violence; and
- working with partners to strengthen capacity for provision of comprehensive and timely health services including mental health care to survivors of violence to mitigate the long-term consequences of such violence.