Statement on the Removal of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights from UN Resolution 2467

Health in Humanitarian Crises Centre and MARCH Centre statement on the removal of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights from United Nations Security Council Resolution 2467 on Sexual Violence in Conflict

On 23rd April 2019, the United Nations (UN) Security Council adopted Resolution 2467 on Sexual Violence in Conflict by a vote of 13 in favour to none against, and two abstentions (China, Russian Federation). In what was hoped to have been a step forward towards protecting all survivors of sexual violence in conflict-affected settings, the adopted resolution condemning sexual violence in conflict contains no reference to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The Health in Humanitarian Crises Centre and the MARCH (Maternal Adolescent & Child Health) Centre at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine strongly condemns the dilution of Security Council Resolution 2467. As researchers, we work closely with practitioners and other researchers who collect evidence on sexual and reproductive health in conflict settings, with the aim of providing comprehensive healthcare, psychosocial support, and dignity to all survivors of violence. This new resolution goes against 25 years of gains for women’s health and rights in situations of armed conflict and is a substantial weakening of previous UN Security Council resolutions that called for survivors of sexual violence to have access to essential sexual and reproductive health services.

It cannot be ignored that by threatening to veto the resolution if any language on sexual and reproductive health and rights was included, the USA is largely responsible for the elimination of this key text in the Security Resolution. This Security Resolution would have provided a legal framework and accountability mechanisms to allow survivors of sexual violence to have the right to access essential sexual and reproductive health services. USA’s action is consistent with its enforcement of policies in recent years that actively hinder sexual and reproductive health and rights both domestically and globally. We also note that the Permanent Missions of Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, South Africa and the United Kingdom flagged the removal of sexual and reproductive health as a major omission in the resolution.

Despite increasing global recognition of the extent and long-term consequences of sexual violence in conflict-affected settings, it remains the least condemned of war crimes. Sexual violence against women and girls is well documented in conflict-affected settings and increasingly, there is evidence on the extent and types of sexual violence against men and boys. Conflict-related sexual violence includes rape, forced prostitution, forced and unintended pregnancy, forced abortion, enforced sterilisation, forced marriage, trafficking and other forms of sexual violence perpetrated against women, men, girls or boys that is directly or indirectly linked to a conflict. Sexual violence is used to terrorise and displace communities, expel so-called “undesirable” groups, and seize contested land or other resources, e.g. in South Sudan or Democratic Republic of the Congo. Sexual violence has profound and often life-altering consequences for survivors’ mental and physical health. Omitting sexual and reproductive health and rights from Resolution 2467 intentionally ignores both the evidence and the needs of the most vulnerable and threatens the safety, rights and dignity of women and girls in conflict-affected settings globally.

An opinion piece by several of the authors here can also be found on Thomson Reuters Foundation.

 

Authors:
Dr Neha S. Singh, Assistant Professor in Health Systems and Reproductive, Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health and Deputy Director, Health in Humanitarian Crises Centre
Dr Natasha Howard, Assistant Professor in Global Health and Conflict
Dr Karl Blanchet, Associate Professor in Health Systems Research and Co-Director, Health in Humanitarian Crises Centre 
Dr Jennifer J. Palmer, Assistant Professor and Co-Director, Health in Humanitarian Crises Centre
Dr Mazeda Hossain, Assistant Professor of Social Epidemiology

Signatories:
Prof Joy Lawn, Professor of Maternal, Reproductive, and Child Health and Director, MARCH Centre 
Dr Severine Frison, Assistant Professor
Lauren D’Mello-Guyett, Research Assistant
Dr Johanna Hanefeld, Associate Professor in Health Systems Research
Adrienne Testa, Assistant Professor
Prof Melissa Parker, Professor of Medical Anthropology
Dr James Smith, Honorary Research Fellow
Dr Joanna Busza, Associate Professor in Sexual and Reproductive Health
Prof Bayard Roberts, Professor in Health Systems and Policy
Dr Nada Abdelmagid, Assistant Professor in Humanitarian Health Practice
Elaine Flores, Research Degree Student, Epidemiology in Mental Health
Dr Adrianna Murphy, Assistant Professor in Health Systems and Policy
Aurelie Jeandron, Research Fellow
Dr Ona McCarthy, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology
Dr Neal Russell, Research Fellow
Prof Francesco Checchi, Professor of Epidemiology and International Health
Dr Hana Rohan, Assistant Professor in Social Science
Prof Jimmy Whitworth, Professor of International Public Health
Susan Fuller, Research Degree Student
Samuel Boland, Research Degree Student
Dr Catherine Pitt, Assistant Professor of Health Economics
Dr Frederick Martineau, Research Fellow
Dr Claire Bayntun, Assistant Professor
Dr John Manton, Assistant Professor in History
Dr Melisa Martinez-Alvarez, Assistant Professor
Dr Susannah Woodd, Research Fellow in Epidemiology
Prof Oona Campbell, Professor of Epidemiology and Reproductive Health
Shefali Oza, Research Fellow in Epidemiology
Dr Isabelle Lange, Research Fellow in Anthropology
Georgina Miguel Esponda, Research Degree Student
Prof Rashida Ferrand, Professor of International Health
Prof Cicely Marston, Professor of Public Health
Dr Loveday Penn-Kekana, Assistant Professor
Prof Helen Weiss, Professor of Epidemiology
Sandra Mounier-Jack, Associate Professor in Health Policy
Dr Hannah Blencowe, Assistant Professor
Prof Joanna Schellenberg, Professor of Epidemiology and International Health
Emily Warren, Research Fellow
Dr Diane Duclos, Research Fellow
Dr Cally Tann, Associate Professor of Global Newborn Health and Early Child Development
Dr Kazuyo Machiyama, Assistant Professor
Dr Giulia Greco, Assistant Professor and MRC Fellow
Harriet Ruysen, Research Fellow
Dr Matthew Chico, Assistant Professor of Public Health
Dr Meenakshi Gautham, Research Fellow in Health Systems and Policy
Dorothy Boggs, Research Fellow
Emma Radovich, Research Fellow
Dr Clara Calvert, Assistant Professor

 

 

Back