Examining the Global Summit to end sexual violence in conflict

Oosterveld at May 2014 conferenceOn May 26, Professor Valerie Oosterveld co-hosted and chaired a roundtable in Ottawa, along with the British High Commissioner to Canada, Howard Drake, and the Nobel Women’s Initiative, to discuss the upcoming Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. The Global Summit will be held in London, United Kingdom, from June 10-13 and will be the largest event ever held on the issue of sexual violence in conflict. The Summit is divided into Youth Day (June 10), Experts Day (June 11), Ministerial Day (June 12) and the closing plenary (June 13). Public events, such as panel discussions and film screenings will run throughout the Summit, including a panel discussion chaired by Professor Oosterveld on June 12 on the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

The Ottawa roundtable was attended by a representative of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Development and Trade, as well as nongovernmental organizations, practitioners and academics. Participants discussed a wide range of issues, including the proposed International Protocol on the Investigation and Documentation of Sexual Violence in Conflict, the need for microenterprise to support women's livelihoods during and post-conflict, the role of Justice Rapid Response in the timely investigation of conflict-related sexual violence, and the role of National Action Plans (NAPs) in preventing and addressing sexual violence in conflict. (See Canada’s report on its own NAP and commentary by the Women, Peace and Security Network –Canada).

In addition, participants considered the need for the Summit to integrate multisectoral action at several levels (international, down to local); the need to promote the adoption and implementation of legislation permitting both criminal and civil remedies for sexual violence; that there is a role for Canada's extractive industries to prevent and address sexual violence in conflict; and the importance of follow-up after the Summit’s conclusion.