Statement by Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) Jan Egeland ahead of the international conference: “Ending Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Humanitarian Crises” which takes place in Oslo, Norway, 23-24 May:
“Sexual violence and other forms of gender-based violence against women and children are horrific symptoms of conflict that should never be accepted or normalised whenever a humanitarian crisis strikes a community.
“In too many conflicts, sexual violence is being used as a barbaric weapon and victims of these crimes continue to suffer in silence. We can no longer sit back while mothers around the world are forced to endure violence, are left to tolerate the vile abuse of their children and are forced to live among the men doing them harm. We must do better to ensure vulnerable women and communities are shielded from such brutality and that those who commit these heinous crimes are held accountable.
“We urge politicians, government representatives, UN agencies, civil society organisations and all those involved in a humanitarian response to take definitive action towards ending extreme violence against women, girls and boys in every crisis. Physical violence, trafficking, rape and all other forms of violence should never be seen as an inevitable consequence of a crisis. If we cannot all do better, we cannot call ourselves real humanitarians, as we offer aid with one hand and allow horrendous violence to take place with the other.”