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Conflict-Related Sexual Violence

Raising Awareness
Panel Discussion

Friday, 24 March 2023 from 14.30hrs to 16.30hrs (CET)

Istituto Maria SS Bambina, Via Paolo VI 21

Via Paolo VI, 21 - 00193 Rome

“Sexual violence against women … [is] unfortunately, a general and widespread reality everywhere and also used as a weapon of war. Let us not tire of saying no to war, no to violence, yes to dialogue and yes to peace.” (Pope Francis, Angelus Prayer, 27 November 2022)


This panel discussion will raise awareness of sexual violence as a weapon of war in conflicts around the world. It will highlight the need for a stronger global response to this horrific crime, and the crucial role played by religious networks in supporting survivors and tackling the stigma attached to victims and their families.

Testimonies from the ground will highlight the work carried out in conflict zones by the network of religious men and women supporting survivors, the vast majority of whom are women and girls. The panel discussion will also explore the role of the media in raising awareness.

Ten years on from the ground-breaking global summit on the issue in the UK in 2014, conflict-related sexual violence continues to shatter lives and scar communities. While it is prohibited under international law, impunity persists and we see today tragic examples from Ukraine to the DRC.


Journalists and media operators who wish to participate must apply, no less than 24 hours before the event, through the Holy See Press Office online accreditation System available at: press.vatican.va/accreditamenti

For further information about the event or interview requests, please contact Dott.ssa Simona Prete, Senior Policy and Communications Officer, British Embassy to the Holy See (email: Simona.Prete@fcdo.gov.uk ; Whatsapp 335 7516848)





Registration, introduction, welcome and opening remarks 



















Introduction to panel discussion, Sister Bernadette Reis, fsp, Editorial Direction Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See, Moderator


Welcome address: Christopher Trott, British Ambassador to the Holy See



Opening remarks: Dott. Paolo Ruffini, Prefect, Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See



Keynote address: Nyota Mapendo, a gender-based violence survivor who has been receiving education and mental health support from the Jesuit Refugee Service(live-connected from the DRC)



1. Testimonies from the ground








The Ukrainian perspective – Natalia Holynska, Caritas Ukraine       



Dr Barbara Paleczny, SSND, Coordinator for Justice Peace and the Integrity of Creation and member of Solidarity with South Sudan



Father Bernard Ugeux M.Afr PhD, Missionaries of Africa, Bukavu, DRC








Dr Andrea Atzori, Head of International Relations, Doctors for Africa CUAMM


2. Conflict-related sexual violence and the media















  16:30 – 17.30




The role of the media in raising awareness – Elisabetta Piqué, Italy and Vatican Correspondent, La Nación



Q&A and closing remarks





Closing remarks, Maria Lía Zervino, President, the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations






The symposium will be held in English and French.
Simultaneous interpretation will be provided in the two languages