EU Enlargement & Neighbourhood

Plight and rights of children born of war - EU fights for support

19/06/2018 - 12:55
News stories

"Sexual violence against women, girls, men and boys is a despicable crime, and even more so when it occurs in vulnerable situations of conflict, or as a tactic of war. It is a grave violation of human rights and international humanitarian law, and must be fought with the strongest commitment" the EU stressed on International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Photo: UN Women/Carlos Ngeleka

The effects of conflict-related sexual violence echo across generations, through trauma, stigma, poverty, poor health and unwanted pregnancy. The children whose existence emanates from that violence have been labelled “bad blood” or “children of the enemy”, and alienated from their mother’s social group. Children conceived through rape in wartime often struggle with issues of identity and belonging for decades after the end of war. They are rarely accepted by society, and unsafe abortion remains a leading cause of maternal mortality in conflict-affected settings.

In a joint statement, High Representative Federica Mogherini, and Commissioners Johannes Hahn, Neven Mimica, Christos Stylianides, Věra Jourová, emphasised that children born following wartime rape and their mothers need to be protected and granted rights, as they often face exclusion and stigmatisation from their own communities and families. "We should never forget those victims of war and stand in full support with them", they stated.

The EU is working hand in hand with its Member States, international partners, and civil society to enshrine the respect of fundamental human rights in peacebuilding efforts worldwide.

In a global approach, the policy tools of the EU aim at eliminating all forms of conflict-related sexual violence, as part of the broader women, peace and security agenda and as a key aspect of conflict prevention, sustaining peace and sustainable development.

"We are fully determined to continue taking concrete actions to prevent and eliminate sexual and gender-based violence, within and outside our borders, in times of peace or conflict," the EU added.


Photo: UN Women/Carlos Ngeleka