IRRC No. 894

Responding to the needs of survivors of sexual violence: Do we know what works?

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During the past twelve months, the issue of sexual violence in conflict and emergencies has received an unprecedented amount of attention at the highest political and institutional levels. In 2013, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) launched a Call to Action to mobilize donors, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other stakeholders on protecting women and girls in humanitarian emergencies, culminating in the high-level event “Protecting Girls and Women in Emergencies” in November 2013. As of August 2014, over forty partners (including governments, United Nations (UN) agencies and NGOs) had made commitments to the Call to Action. Furthermore, in June 2014 the “Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict”, co-chaired by the UK Foreign Secretary and Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), gathered 1,700 delegates and 129 country delegations. In his summary, the chair of the Global Summit states: “We must apply the lessons we have learned and move from condemnation to concrete action. We must all live up to the commitments we have made.”

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