At their virtual meeting on 1 June 2021, Defence Ministers have endorsed NATO’s new policy on preventing and responding to Conflict-Related Sexual Violence.
Sexual violence, used as a tactic of war or terrorism, has devastating consequences on individuals, families, and entire communities. It can prolong conflict, trigger displacement, foster instability, and is an impediment to sustainable peace. NATO has long been committed to the fight against Conflict-Related Sexual Violence and has military guidelines in place to support NATO’s efforts to prevent and respond to this heinous crime.
Speaking at the NATO Digital Dialogue on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in June 2020, the Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, underscored the importance of sustained attention and increased effort to address this scourge. “Sexual violence continues to be perpetrated on a large scale in many conflicts around the world. It is a clear obstacle to peace and security. That is why we all have an urgent responsibility to do more.” He set out that a new NATO policy would provide the foundation for the Alliance’s continued commitment to the fight against Conflict-Related Sexual Violence.
The new policy has now been adopted and was endorsed by Defence Ministers today. It outlines specific actions that NATO will take to both prevent and respond to Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in all NATO operations, missions, and Council-mandated activities. And it underscores NATO’s support for the international community’s efforts to end impunity for this crime.