September 22, 2022
SEMA member Jaqueline Mutere’s Speech at the 77th United Nations General Assembly
On 22 September 2022, the Global Survivors Fund and its partners organised a high-level side event to the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly on ‘Co-creating Reparations with Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: Lessons Learned and Emerging Best Practice’.
Several members of the SEMA Network participated in this event. Among them was Jaqueline Mutere, SEMA member from Kenya. Read her speech below.
Good Morning. I’m Jaqueline Mutere from Kenya and I am here today on behalf of survivors from Kenya, and the SEMA global network of Survivors and I speak for the children born of rape.
It’s an honor to stand before you sharing the story of many around the globe, the story of sexual violence in war and in conflict.
For too long, we gather in these spaces to give visibility to these GROSS HUMAN RIGHTs violations. I’m standing here, 14 years after the fact, still seeking reparations.
While we have heard a lot of well-intentioned speeches we still see a lack of political will to have restored dignified lives.
For too long we have heard the “Never Again” narrative floated easily like currency, yet unable to see tangible results in the lives of those affected. There exists many national and global conventions, Declarations, processes, Recommendations and even “Concluding Remarks” from the UN and other bodies of which our nations are signatories and beholden, yet the abuse persists, yet the pain persists.
The nations move on and we are left behind to “lick our wounds”.
For example, in Kenya in 2015, a Restorative Justice Fund was established by Presidential decree but to date there is no action, despite our appeals and petitions. The children that were born during that violent period are 14 YEARS OLD THIS YEAR!! Lives have been lost through depression and yet more live in hopelessness everywhere: in DRC, Uganda, South Sudan, Iraq, Myanmar, Ivory Coast, [in Nigeria] with Boko Haram…..just to mention a few.
Reconstruction after war or conflict needs the input of all affected by that war or conflict, on the same table, looking for solutions together – that is co-creating. This approach fosters peace and goodwill for all. It is an upgrade of the survivor-centred approach, going beyond mere inclusion to envisioning and building together.
Reparations are part of the reconstruction, and they are affordable and achievable.
We say this because there is a gross demand on governments financially to implement them but there are many opportunities in which this can be achieved and made achievable through government structures.
What governments want and what survivors need is a gap; but it can be closed by co-creating interventions that are practical, workable and affordable. Technical support for interventions are available through the Global Survivors Fund that has experts with years of experience.
An outcome of the survivors’ capacity with the support of GSF is the Kinshasa Declaration that we survivors have drafted and which states unapologetically that “IT IS TIME”. It is now time to stop stories; it is time for reparations and co-creation!
We will be presenting this Declaration at the UK PSVI conference in November. And repeating the call of the SEMA Global Network of survivors saying, “Nothing about Us without Us”! It is a call to centralise reparations around the survivors’ needs and ideas, from conception to implementation to delivery. Let me repeat that: it is a call to centralise reparations around the survivors’ needs and ideas, from conception to implementation to delivery.
Do it. Do it not just for us but with us! Do it with dignity, for humanity!
I speak, that you may acknowledge and recognise survivors needs globally
I speak, to remove the STIGMA that sexual violence brings.
I speak as an amplified voice for both the grown and the young survivors
I speak for the dignity of the children born of rape
I speak, that future governments and generations will truly uphold the “Never Again” narrative. Let it not be just public speaking but cost it – what “Never Again” means and embrace it.
I speak, that justice through reparations and co-creation may be achieved
I speak so that Survivors may live in dignity!
THAT is why I speak,
So… as we are gathered here again today, leaving no-one behind again, I urge you:
COME. Let us co-create.
You can watch the recording of the side event here.