Including survivors and children born of war in the decision-making process – New York meeting

Providing a platform for survivors to advocate for their priorities and be included in the decision-making process was the focal point of the PSVI (Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative) International Alliance High-Level Meeting, joined by Ajna Jusić, director of the “Forgotten Children of War” Association, and held in New York City (October 23rd), by the UK. 

It’s significant to note that some members of the Survivor Advisory Group (SAG) took part in the meeting and spoke to decision-makers about the needs and priorities that the SAG has agreed upon collectively. 

Ajna Jusić spoke about the challenges children born of war in Bosnia and Herzegovina face: Our example testifies to the fact that, the later the processes of securing the protection of this category are started, the persistent problems of invisibility in society and the legal system only increases over time. Although we are children born because of the war, today we are protected in BiH, but we are no longer children, but young people who contribute to a society that did not recognize us for 30 years.” 

Priorities that were advocated for during the meeting: 

  • Prevention – Working in schools to address the gender inequality that drives conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV); holding training for military, police, and peacekeeping forces to prevent CRSV; sanctioning perpetrators 
  • Justice and accountability – Focusing on survivors while approaching justice, so that they could determine what it means for them; delivering more prosecutions and bringing CRSV to transitional justice processes 
  • Funding – Providing sustainable funding for survivors’ networks and including them in the funding application creating process 
  • Supporting survivor recovery – Providing holistic recovery support, not just medical 
  • Supporting survivor leadership and advocacy  Providing platforms for survivors and children born of war to advocate for their priorities at national and international levels 

Based on the discussion, the survivors that attended the meeting, worked together to develop the SAG’s priorities into an intervention and delivered it at the High-Level Meeting. 

During her stay, Jusić also took part in Briefing on the Legal Guidebook on State Obligations for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence event, organized by the Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation, UN Women, and the government of the United Kingdom. 

The Guidebook gathers State legal obligations under the international humanitarian and human rights laws, and the resolutions of the Security Council regarding CRSV, and it aims to serve as a tool for states, survivors, and activists to make sure the states understand their CRSV legal obligations.