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Campaign logoUN Secretary-General's campaign:
United to end the violence against women
. Ban Ki-moon
"Break the silence. When you witness violence against women and girls, do not sit back. Act."
Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary-General

Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
There is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable.


Orange Day









Orange Day in China organized by UN Women
and Titan Media Photos: Wu Xiaohan, Titan Media

April 2014

End conflict-related sexual violence against women and girls

In July 2012 the Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign proclaimed every 25th of the month as Orange Day. Initiated and led by the UNiTE campaign’s Global Youth Network, worldwide activities implemented on this day by UN country offices and civil society organizations strive to highlight issues relevant to preventing and ending violence against women and girls, not only once a year, on 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), but every month.

In 2013, the UNiTE campaign focused its Orange Days on highlighting recommendations of the agreed conclusions of the 57th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW57), focused on the theme of the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. Orange Day highlighted issues including safe schools, safe work places and cyber space as a safe space for women and girls. Activities culminated in a call to ‘Orange the World in 16 Days’ from November 25 and throughout the 16 Days of Activism. The Call resulted in ‘orange activities’ in over 50 countries and over 76 million people being reached through social media.

In 2014, Orange Day continues to spark actions around the world on specific themes and issues towards ending all forms of violence against women and girls. This month, UNiTE #OrangeDay will focus on an issue affecting millions of women and girls: conflict-related sexual violence.


Sexual violence during and in the aftermath of conflict affects millions of people, primarily women and girls. It is used as a deliberate military tactic with the aim of damaging individuals and tearing apart families and communities. Women and girls face sexual violence at the hands of state and non-state actors including rape, sexual slavery, sexual mutilation and/or forced impregnation. It may take place in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), at checkpoints, detention facilities, or in the home.

Conflict situations are often characterized by lawlessness, and state institutions may function poorly, if at all. Perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict settings are often allowed to act with impunity, leaving survivors with little chance of accessing justice, reparations, or the care and services they need. When the conflict is over, women and girls who have faced sexual violence are likely to suffer from psychological and physical effects, and may also face social stigma and rejection from their families and communities. Sexual violence in conflict is frequently under-reported due to the risks faced by survivors or witnesses who come forward. In many contexts, limited availability of services complicates collection of evidence and compounds negative health impacts. In the aftermath of conflict, sexual violence may also continue to be perpetrated with impunity.


Recent years have seen an increase in commitment and momentum against conflict-related sexual violence, and a number of global initiatives aimed at its elimination.


There are a number of internationally agreed norms and standards which relate to women, peace and security, resulting from long term work on this issue by key actors within the UN System and Civil Society. In recent years the UN Security Council has passed a number of resolutions related to women, peace and security, including 1325, 1820, 1888, 1889, 1960, 2106 and 2122. These resolutions collectively aim to address sexual violence in conflict, the issue of impunity, and establish the importance of the full participation of women and the inclusion of gender perspectives in peace negotiations, humanitarian planning, peacekeeping operations, post-conflict peace-building and governance. Learn more.


One of the key actors in efforts by the UN System to prevent and end sexual violence and conflict is UN Action. UN Action unites the work of 13 UN entities with the goal of ending sexual violence during and in the wake of conflict. UN Action’s advocacy efforts have taken this message to the general public under the campaign banner: “Get Cross! Stop Rape Now”. The aim has been to build a vocal, visible constituency for an issue that has been called “history’s greatest silence”. “Get Cross” refers to the need to galvanize global outrage. It also explains the significance of the campaign’s distinctive crossed-arm tag gesture and is shorthand for the “five key asks” of the campaign:

What is your country doing to enhance security for women affected by war?
C ontributing troops or police – including women – to peacekeeping missions?
R esource-mobilization to fund services for survivors?
O versight and training of the security sector in rape prevention and response?
S upporting legal measures to end impunity?
S ponsoring women’s full participation in peace talks?

For more information, visit the UN Action Facebook page and follow UN Action on Twitter.


The UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women (the Trust Fund) is a leading global grant-making mechanism dedicated to addressing violence against women and girls in all its forms. It supports effective initiatives that demonstrate that violence against women and girls can be systematically addressed, reduced and, with persistence, eliminated. The Trust Fund has a three-year Thematic Window on violence in conflict, post-conflict and transitional contexts, through which it is generating knowledge on preventing and responding to violence against women and girls in these settings. 15 per cent of Trust Fund grantees are currently implementing programmes that address violence in conflict and post-conflict-related contexts in countries including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cambodia and Kenya.


Each year the Secretary-General of the United Nations submits a report on conflict-related sexual violence for the information of members of the Security Council, which details the implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions; 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1960 (2010) and 2106 (2013). The report presents information on parties to conflict credibly suspected of committing or being responsible for committing conflict-related sexual violence. The report is produced from information gathered through extensive consultations with the 13 members of UN Action, United Nations Field Operations and Country Teams, concerned Member States and non-governmental organizations.

On April 25, the UN Security Council will formally discuss the report which covers the period from January to December 2013 (S/2014/181) in an Open Debate under the Presidency of Nigeria. The debate will provide an important moment for Member States to reaffirm their political commitment to the issue, build momentum for implementing existing commitments and focus on addressing the root causes of conflict-related sexual violence.


This Orange Day, the UNiTE campaign will focus on conflict-related sexual violence against women and girls to highlight this issue as the UN Security Council meets to discuss this topic.

What can you do?

  • Spread the X: Participate in UN Action’s ‘Get Cross’ action. Take a picture of yourself wearing orange with your arms crossed. Post it on your Facebook page. Tell people why you are doing it. Upload it on the UN Action site:  http://www.stoprapenow.org/get-cross/   
  • Share the UN Secretary-General’s report on conflict-related sexual violence and its key messages with your friends and networks: http://ow.ly/vRwC5
  • Send a letter: write to your elected official to ask them to intensify efforts to end sexual violence against women and girls in situations of armed conflict and other crises. Download a sample letter from: http://www.stoprapenow.org/take-action/  


On 25April, #OrangeDay, wear orange & get cross! Show ur support to end #sexualviolence in conflict. http://ow.ly/vOInc via @SayNO_UNiTE

Today is #UNiTE #OrangeDay! Regional & national action needed to prevent #sexualviolence in conflict. http://ow.ly/vOInc v @SayNO_UNiTE

Survivors of #VAW in conflict must get psychosocial, legal, livelihood & health services. http://ow.ly/vOInc via @SayNO_UNiTE #OrangeDay

On #OrangeDay #UNiTE & wear orange & share the #UNSG ’s report on conflicted-related #sexualviolence. http://ow.ly/vOInc via @SayNO_UNiTE

This #OrangeDay – 25 April, write to your elected official & ask them to intensify efforts to end #VAW in #conflict. http://www.stoprapenow.org/take-action/ via @SayNO_UNiTE

Today – 25 April – is #UNiTE campaign’s #OrangeDay. It’s time to end conflict-related sexual violence against women and girls. Participate in the Get Cross action to show your support.  Wear orange, take a picture of yourself with crossed arms and upload it here: http://www.stoprapenow.org/get-cross/

This month, #OrangeDay highlights conflict-related sexual violence against women and girls. Today the UN Secretary-General’s report on conflict-related sexual violence will be discussed at the Security Council. Read and share the report. http://ow.ly/vRwC5

On #OrangeDay, 25 April, the #UNiTE campaign is focusing on conflict-related sexual violence. The UN Secretary-General’s report on conflict-related sexual violence draws attention to the need for international attention to translate into action at the regional and national levels, to improve services for survivors, increase access to justice for survivors, end impunity for perpetrators and increase monitoring and reporting of the issue. Find out more. http://ow.ly/vRwC5