General Assembly Debate on International Cooperation on Access to Justice for Survivors of Sexual Violence: Statement of the Group of Friends for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls,

2 September 2022, New York -- Statement 

General Assembly Statement of the GROUP OF FRIENDS FOR THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS by Julien Bourtembourg, Counsellor, EU Delegation to the UN, on Debate on item 133: International cooperation on access to justice for survivors of sexual violence

Mr President, 

I am speaking on behalf of the 95 members[1] of the cross-regional Group of Friends for the elimination of violence against women and girls.

The Group of Friends was established in December 2020 to promote the implementation of the UN Secretary General’s call on Gender-based Violence and COVID-19 and to support relevant global initiatives aimed at eliminating gender-based violence, such as Spotlight. Together, we are committed to galvanise efforts to end all forms of sexual and gender-based violence.

The Group welcomes the presentation of the draft resolution on international cooperation for access to justice, remedies and assistance for survivors of sexual violence, and thanks Japan and Sierra Leone for their leadership on this initiative.

Sexual and gender-based violence, whether in public and private spheres, online and offline, is a gross violation and abuse of human rights. It has devastating consequences for each survivor, and for society as a whole. Sexual and gender-based violence disproportionally affects women and girls. Globally, 1 in 3 or 35% of women experience physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. In humanitarian or crisis contexts, up to 70% of women are affected.                                                            

Despite the high prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence, victims/survivors often do not receive justice. Too often, perpetrators are granted impunity for their crimes. This lack of accountability fuels violence and further traumatizes victims/survivors.

The Group of Friends underlines the need to establish gender-responsive justice systems. This implies reforming legal and justice systems to ensure safe, accessible and trauma informed complaints and reporting mechanisms for victims /survivors, to better equip institutions to address sexual and gender based violence, including through dedicated training, and to ensure access to essential services.

We further stress the importance of fulfilling commitments made by participating states at the Generation Equality Forum, including its Action Coalition on gender-based violence.

Sexual and Gender-Based Violence is a shadow pandemic. It requires the full mobilization of the international community. We strongly support the recommendations included in the resolution and are committed to working with all partners in order to step up international cooperation on access to justice for survivors of all forms of sexual and gender-based violence.


[1] * Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Bulgaria, Cabo Verde, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, North Macedonia, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Rep. of Korea, Rep. of Moldova, Romania, Rwanda, San Marino, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Türkiye, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, European Union, Sovereign Order of Malta