Do More to Support Children Born of Rape in Armed Conflict and Their Mothers, UN Committees Urge States

(Special Correspondent)

GENEVA (19 November 2021) – Children born as a result of rape committed in armed conflict must be given better help and support, while women who survive sexual violence require comprehensive protection by the State, two UN committees urged in a joint statement on Friday.

“Children born of rape in the context of armed conflict and their mothers are stigmatized, isolated, and deprived of resources. They face discrimination in many ways and on many fronts, as well as marginalization by their own communities,” the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Child Rights Committee (CRC) said. 

The Committees noted these children often do not have their births registered, and this lack of official documentation in turn often affects their right to a nationality.

“These obstacles can adversely affect a child’s human rights, continuing into adulthood, as they can encounter huge problems integrating into society,” they added.The two committees called on States parties to comply with their obligations under both the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Given the risk of children being rendered stateless, the Committees urged Governments to ensure that children born of rape are registered with a nationality.  “In addition, abandoned children should have access to care services,” the Committees stressed. 

The Committees also highlighted the high levels of violence to which girls are often subjected in conflict situations. “States parties should make all efforts to rescue girls who have been abducted, ensure their integration into society and provide them and their families with access to psychosocial and other rehabilitation services,” they said. 

CEDAW and the CRC called for accountability for all forms of gender-based violence against women and children, including sexual violence and exploitation, sexual slavery, domestic servitude, child and forced marriage, as well as the recruitment and use of children during insurgencies and in other slavery-like practices. 

They also emphasized the importance of upholding the rights of women and children as central pillars for building and sustaining peace in societies. 

CEDAW and CRC are collaborating with the Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict to support the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security/sexual violence in conflict. The joint statement, now available online, is to inform the forthcoming Secretary-General’s special report on this matter.

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