Closing the Protection Gap for Children Born Of War

Addressing Stigmatization and Intergenerational Impact of Sexual Violence in Conflict

Authored by: Joanne Neenan

Categories: Human Rights
Sub-Categories: Human Development, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), Sexual and Reproductive Health
Country: Uganda and Colombia
Region: No Region
Year: 2018
Citation: Neenan, Joanne. Closing the Protection Gap For Children Born Of War. Report. Women, Peace and Security, London School of Economics. June 2018.

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Executive Summary

National and international policymakers have largely overlooked the protection needs – and indeed, existence – of children born of sexual violence in conflict. Despite a growing body of research exposing the unique vulnerabilities this group of victim-survivors face, there remains a critical policy and protection gap in addressing their needs. This gap constitutes a global protection and human rights failure. Across geographic and culturally diverse conflicts and post-conflict situations, being born of sexual violence carries unique, immediate, life-threatening and enduring risks and harms. This intergenerational impact of conflict-related sexual violence must be acknowledged and addressed as a matter of urgency. In the general absence of specific, targeted national and international policies and laws to address their needs, risks and harms are likely to multiply and amplify throughout children’s lives.

Global and national communities must confront the taboos and complexities surrounding reproductive violence which leads to “forced motherhood”, the conception and birth of children, forced and unsafe access to abortion. The existence of children born of sexual violence and the highly gendered consequence of pregnancy and motherhood resulting from rape must not remain euphemisms in United Nations resolutions. This report represents the outcome of a 9-month project informed by desk-based research, an interdisciplinary workshop9 and fieldwork in Uganda and Colombia. While the report focuses primarily on children born of sexual violence in conflict, it also engages with the related issues of “forced motherhood” and reproductive violence against women and girls.