ONLINE: Sexual and Gender-based Violence in Conflict: What could be done in terms of prevention and rehabilitation?
The issue of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in conflict situations has increasingly become a matter of concern and debate. Studies have shown that SGBV in conflict situations is common and could have a profound negative impact on individuals, families and local communities long after the formal end of the conflict. It has been suggested that this type of violence is a “weapon of war” and is deliberately used as a strategy to destroy enemy communities for generations, sometimes as a part of an ethnic cleansing agenda. It could take the form of mass rape and sexual torture of both women and men, often in a humiliating and degrading context, e.g. forcing family and community members to witness such acts, which induce longstanding physical, mental and social trauma in individuals and disruption of normal community function.
SGBV in conflict has been put on the UN agenda and on the agenda of Human Rights organizations, and NGOs working with humanitarian and health issues in conflict-stricken areas. Cumulative reports show that the magnitude of the problem is much greater than earlier admitted, and that there is a culture of silence, shame and denial which makes prevention and rehabilitation difficult. It is therefore often reported that mechanisms for dealing with both occurrence and effects of this type of violence is gravely insufficient, due to lack of knowledge and lack of experience of good practice. In order to understand the often complex causes and effects of SGBV in conflict situations, studies are therefore needed by several academic disciplines, e.g. peace and conflict studies, law and human rights studies, gender studies as well as health sciences.
Dr Jens Modvig is a medical doctor with a PhD in public health from University of Copenhagen where he also is Adjunct professor, and he has for more than 20 years been engaged in the Copenhagen-based NGO, DIGNITY (Danish Institute Against Torture) with the aim to combat torture and its negative effect on health, not only by offering help for victims but by spreading knowledge and by networking and advocacy making for international actions to combat the practice of torture. Since 2016, Dr Jens Modvig has also been the chairperson of a UN body, United Nations Committee against Torture, based in Geneva, and he therefore has unique insights regarding international policy making and interventions regarding the occurrence and effects of gendered sexual violence in conflict.
The 2019-20 Pufendorf theme “Gender and Conflict” therefore warmly welcome him to share his knowledge and experience at an on-line seminar on May 27, 2020.
(The seminar will be filmed and an edited version will be made publicly available on the Pufendorf IAS website)
Register to the seminar here. You will receive a link to the seminar on the 27th of May.