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‘International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence during Conflict’ observed for the very first time in Bangladesh.

To observe the International Day for Elimination of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in Bangladesh for the very first time, a virtual seminar was conducted today focusing on the theme of this year ‘Standing by the side of the victims of Sexual Violence in Epidemics’.

To find strategies in searching for strategies to integrate the rights and needs of women, the victims of sexual violence in conflicts and emergencies along with the COVID-19 pandemic, Participatory Research Action Network-PRAAN organized this virtual seminar today on June 19, 2021, Saturday, as an open space for discussion among different community people, local and national activist and policy-makers. Umme Salma, Communication Officer of PRAAN presented the keynote presentation on the seminar and the whole event was facilitated by Nurul Alam Masud, Chief Executive of PRAAN.

Speakers as the seminar said, political or religious- whatever the conflict is, the history reveals that the main impact of any type of crisis and conflict impacts the women and children worse. In our present society, there is a practice of putting and looking upon women and subordinates in various ways. Any type of war and conflict take this hostile mindset to such a brutal stage that it comes out as distorted forms like sexual violence against women and children. The history of sexual violence against civilians to take control of borders, territories, or resources for any purpose, be it political, military, or economic, this practice is very old in any place of the world. Women and children are the main targets of such violence and victims as well.

The speakers also mention that not only in conflicts but also in any crisis, it is so common for women to become the victim of oppression while seeking public-private services. Access to services has been limited due to lockdown, quarantine, movement restrictions, rushes in hospitals and clinics, etc. due to the pandemic. That results in reducing the opportunities in receiving services in case of violence.

In addition to conflict-related violence, various aspects of violence against women across the country came into the discussion. In the current situation of Bangladesh, the increasing number of domestic violence, rape, disappearance, abduction, rape, gang rape, etc. has been challenging to the overall security and peace situation in the country. Speakers at the seminar called for prioritizing the rights of victims of sexual violence in any humanitarian response as well as COVID-19 pandemic.

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