The ICRC is pleased to coordinate the Fifth South Asian Conference on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) with the Government of Nepal, in Kathmandu from 8-10 April. The theme of the conference is ‘Sexual Violence and Armed Conflict’.

The ICRC recognises the need for a robust legal, administrative and practical regime to eliminate and respond to sexual violence in armed conflict — a reality the ICRC has committed itself to improving through protection of vulnerable parties through law and action. The ICRC seeks to use the meet as a platform to throw the spotlight on such violence and to spark off a meaningful dialogue on addressing the needs of women and children in conflicts and post-conflict situations.

The event will bring together about 40 senior government officials, members of the armed forces and police, academics and ICRC experts from the South Asian region and from Iran. It aims to provide the participants an opportunity to share information on the steps taken by the States to promote and implement IHL and also to get updates on recent developments and challenges in IHL in South Asia.

The conference will be inaugurated by Mr. Narahari Acharya, Minister of Law and Justice, Nepal. It will feature participants from various countries, including Mr Dilli Raj Ghimire of Nepal’s National IHL Committee; Ms Sama Shrestha of UN Women, Nepal; Mr. Anura Meddegoda, lawyer from Sri Lanka; Ms. Vrinda Grover, lawyer from India; Ms. Shyamala Gomez of Fokus Women, Sri Lanka; and Dr Yubraj Sangroula, Former Attorney General of Nepal. The concluding session will feature remarks by Foreign Affairs Minister, Nepal, Mahendra Bahadur Pandey.

The conference will provide the participants — all well-accomplished professionals from various fields — opportunities to share regional expert and academic perspectives on the status of IHL vis-à-vis sexual violence and armed conflict. It will also allow them to engage in a deeper understanding of the needs and operational responses relating to such violence. Last but not least, the meet will seek to answer questions like what the relevant actors can do to minimise sexual violence against women and children in conflicts and how they can respond to their needs during and in post-conflict contexts.

Click here for the programme of the 5th South Asian Regional Conference on IHL

For more information on the ICRC’s position on sexual violence in armed conflict, please click below:

Sexual violence in armed conflicts: An invisible tragedy