Reparations for wartime sexual violence

The use of sexual violence in wars not only leaves individuals with lifelong scars, but also spreads diseases, destroys family ties and harms societies as a whole over generations These consequences are further exacerbated by poverty and by stigma.

In many countries, survivors of wartime rape cannot rebuild their life and contribute fully to society because of the lack of justice and recognition of the crime they suffered from.

This is where reparations play a key role: by aiming to repair the harm caused by gross human rights violations, reparations are the core of survivors’ demands to get back a life of dignity, respect and equality.

Together with the Global Survivor Network, partners and international institutions, we are creating an innovative mechanism which responds to the needs of survivors and lays the foundations for a renewed commitment of the international community to end rape as a weapon of war.

We envision the International Reparations Initiative as a very direct way to make reparative justice a reality and change the lives of individuals, families and communities worldwide. Reparations are instrumental in supporting victims and communities to rebuild their lives and provide reparative justice.

Making reparations a reality

“Reparations” is a collective term encompassing the recognition of, and compensation for, the harm caused by gross human rights violations. According to international law, when someone is a victim of a serious crime such as rape, they are entitled to receive reparations to compensate for the harms suffered.

The international community acknowledges that reparations are an important tool to overcome the social stigma that survivors of sexual violence often face.

However, reparations are not universally awarded and implemented. In many countries where sexual violence has been used, victims don’t have access to courts and are excluded from justice and reparations processes.