Geneva Call launches a new Deed of Commitment towards an end to sexual violence and gender discrimination
19 July 2012
Geneva Call launches a new Deed of Commitment towards an end
to sexual violence and gender discrimination
The Deed of Commitment on the Prohibition of Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict and towards the Elimination of Gender Discrimination is Geneva Call’s third Deed of Commitment. Launched in July 2012, it is a standard and universal document that gives armed non-‐State actors (ANSAs) the opportunity to formally take ownership of international standards, and prevent and prohibit sexual violence in situations of armed conflict.
This Deed of Commitment is a tool that enables Geneva Call to:
• engage with ANSAs, inform, educate and sensitize them on the impact of sexual violence, and on the relevant international legal framework, leading to a formal prohibition, expressed through changes in policy and practice; and
• encourage ANSAs to eliminate discrimination between men and women, formally change policy, and ensure an increased participation of women in decision-‐making processes at all levels.
Aurélie Lamazière, Geneva Call’s Gender Issues Co-‐ordinator, welcomed the Deed and the contribution it is making to the protection of civilians in situations of armed conflict. “Talking about sexual violence can be a very sensitive matter, nevertheless we believe that many ANSAs will respond positively to the commitment that the Deed represents. Even so, we recognize the challenges in terms of implementation, and monitoring compliance. It is a matter of the protection of all civilians in times of conflict, whatever the challenges. That is the motivation of Geneva Call.”
Signature of Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment is one of several steps that ANSAs can take towards improved respect for international norms. Understanding their reality and context is also an essential step in the engagement process. Informing, sensitizing and moving ANSAs towards changes in behaviour will all help ensure better compliance with international standards. Geneva Call has initiated dialogue with ANSAs on the basis of the Deed, and is working with civil society and other stakeholders in conflict areas to inform, educate and dialogue on the issues that the Deed of Commitment raises, using training tools developed specifically for the ANSA context.
As with all Deeds of Commitment under Geneva Calli, the Republic and Canton of Geneva will act as custodian. Where possible, signature ceremonies take place in the Alabama Room where the first Geneva Convention was signed in 1864.
Geneva Call wishes to thank all the individuals, donors and partners who have contributedii to the development of this Deed of Commitment, and looks forward to working with all interested stakeholders. The Deed can be downloaded at http://genevacall.org/resources/deed-‐of-‐commitment/f-‐deed-‐of-‐ commitment/GC2012_DoC_GENDER_SVD_ENG.pdf
For further information, please contact:
Gender Issues Co-‐ordinator
+ 41 879 10 50 | www.genevacall.org
i) The Deed of Commitment banning anti-‐personnel mines has been signed by 42 ANSAs to date. The first ANSAs will shortly sign the Deed of Commitment on the Protection of Children in armed conflict.
ii) The new Deed of Commitment has been developed following a series of consultations and discussions with experts, including Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, ICRC, UN Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict, OHCHR, UNOCHA and international legal experts. Several ANSAs have also been consulted in the drafting process.