Survivors’ engagement in the development of legal and policy responses meant to eliminate conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV), as well as in the development of on-the-ground support programs was the focus of this year’s Missing Peace Global Symposium discussions held in Washington DC (November 1st – 3rd) in which Ajna Jusić, director of the “Forgotten Children of War” and Lejla Damon, association’s member, participated.
According to one of the most important research findings, CRSV is not an inevitable part of the war and notably varies between and within conflicts. Despite our increased knowledge, policy responses to CRSV have been ineffective as it remains extremely present and with impunity in most cases.
Ajna Jusić and Lejla Damon gathered with academics, policymakers, practitioners, and victims and survivors to discuss what is known and what is missing from research, policy, and practice, to proceed with working more efficiently on eliminating conflict-related sexual violence and ending impunity for these crimes.
Lejla Damon participated in a panel discussion regarding survivor-centered approaches in addressing CRSV. In the beginning, conflict-related sexual violence was pointed out to be a calculated act of cruelty, meant to dehumanize survivors and invoke feelings of not being in power and control in both survivors and their communities. Panelists specified what a survivor-centered approach to addressing CRSV means and discussed how it should be implemented.
Jusić participated in the “Children Born of War” panel. The experiences and legal standing of children born of war often remain unaddressed in humanitarian response mechanisms and post-war relief efforts. Panelists discussed more recent studies about children born of war and ways for their needs and concerns to be addressed by policy actors and practitioners.
Ajna pointed out crucial research facts – ”Children’s trauma varies according to the context and history of war. Children born of war are a global problem, but each case must be approached individually.”
“Further research should be directed toward facts that will support legal recognition of the children born of war.” – She concluded.
The symposium is organized by the Missing Peace Initiative, created in 2012 by the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP); the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO); and Women In International Security (WIIS); and the Human Rights Institute at Berkely University (now, the Center for Human Rights, Gender and Migration and the University of Washington in St. Louis) – to develop partnerships to increase knowledge, advance relevant policies and eliminate CRSV.