Shaping a global response to sexual violence

Kim Thuy Seelinger

Kim Thuy Seelinger

How do we effectively respond to sexual violence during war, and how can we better protect people during and after violent conflicts? International scholars, policymakers, human-rights advocates and foreign military leaders will take up this issue and more at the Missing Peace Symposium 2013 in Washington, D.C., co-hosted this week by the Human Rights Center at the UC Berkeley School of Law.

“Sexual violence against women, men, and children during war is a human-rights abuse that threatens international peace and security,” explains Kim Thuy Seelinger, director of the Sexual Violence Program at the Human Rights Center. “Even when fighting ends, sexual violence often does not.”

Seelinger, a lawyer and international expert in sexual violence, has worked with the U.S. Institute for Peace, the Peace Research Institute of Oslo and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute North America for the past year to organize and lead the global event that runs from Thursday, Feb. 14, to Saturday, Feb. 16.

Three Berkeley Law students who work with Seelinger in the International Human Rights Law Clinic will act as rapporteurs and help to draft the symposium’s final policy brief. A fourth Berkeley Law student was selected to attend as a “Young Scholar.”

The three-day global symposium will feature Nobel laureate and human-rights security expert Jody Williams, vice president of the World Bank, special advisers to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, academics and key practitioners and funders who provide support to survivors of conflict-related sexual violence.

“Missing Peace” will provide an opportunity to take stock of current knowledge about conflict-related sexual violence; exchange information about the latest research on causes, scope and patterns of sexual violence; and strengthen an understanding of sexual violence beyond national boundaries. Participants will identify priority areas for research and policy development, as well as ways to improve documentation and response.

A live webcast of the Missing Peace Symposium will begin at 11:30 a.m. (Pacific time) on Feb. 14. The link and further details can be found at the symposium website.