The UK Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, visited Bosnia and Herzegovina this week and spoke to survivors of conflict-related rape as part of a campaign against sexual violence in BiH, calling for further action on ensuring rights and needs of survivors and children born of sexual violence in conflict are fully recognized.
But, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon's ties with Bosnia and Herzegovina are decades-long. His first visit took place during War in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Speaking to N1's Ika Ferrer Gotic, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon also shared his own personal story.
“I remember returning from Bosnia, while on my third visit, I sat down with my father in my parental home to share my experiences of what I've heard and saw, and it's the first that my father, who lived through the partition of the Indian subcontinent, who lost everything by the line being drawn on the map. That happened in 1947, it took him until that occasion in the early nineties to talk about his own experience to his own children.” – said Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon and continued: “That was the first time I saw my father in tears.”
Lord Ahmad launched the Call to Action to Ensure the Rights and Wellbeing of Children Born of Sexual Violence in Conflict on November 22 – “a first step in galvanizing international action to improve the situation for tens of thousands of children who miss out on education and health services due to restrictions on registration at birth and are marginalized and stigmatized by their families and communities.”
The initiative has already been endorsed by Norway, South Sudan, the United States, Mexico, the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on Sexual Violence in Conflict and the SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict.
The press release said that the UK will work with those endorsing the initiative to “develop the pillars for action and individual commitments” and will also publish a handbook providing expert advice so affected countries can ensure their laws, policies and practices meet the needs of children born of sexual violence in conflict and their mothers.
The UK has actively been supporting community-led action against sexual violence in BiH for years, the statement said, adding that the country has focused on “fighting against impunity for conflicted-related sexual violence by working with judges and prosecutors on improving prosecution methods, and increasing access to justice for survivors, including improving health, legal and psychosocial status of survivors.”