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President Bio leads UN resolution for survivors of sexual violence

27 September 2021 at 21:09 | 579 views

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His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio (second from left) has successfully moved for a UN resolution on sexual violence survivors, a historic feat that marks the first time in the history of the United Nations General Assembly, UNGA, to have sexual violence survivors on the agenda.

When on 15 April 2021 President Bio agreed to become the lead facilitator of the resolution for survivors of sexual violence at the 76th UNGA in 2021, supported by Questlove (Ahmir Thompson) and Black Thought (Tarik Trotter) of The Roots, Rise seized the opportunity to directly pitch to him for Sierra Leone to become the lead sponsor.

“I cannot be a silent witness to this crime. The silence of men is deafening. Our commitment [to survivors] is absolute,” said the President, when he agreed to partner with Rise, a United States based national nonprofit, founded by Amanda Nguyen, a survivor of sexual violence who penned her own civil rights into existence and unanimously passed the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights, after her own rape.

“On September 15 the General Committee of the United Nations General Assembly unanimously recommended Sierra Leone’s proposed agenda item. On September 17, 193 Member States unanimously approved Sierra Leone’s agenda item. This historical move marks the first time in UNGA history that sexual violence survivors are on the agenda. This is an enormous win for millions of survivors around the world and a big win for Sierra Leone,” said Amanda.

She further added that that structural power for Sierra Leone meant that the small West Africa nation would control the UNGA sexual violence survivor agenda item, and that all other countries must ask Sierra Leone for permission, moving forward if they wanted to introduce a resolution under that agenda item.

It could be recalled that on 18 May 2021, in his State Opening of Parliament address, His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio announced that Sierra Leone would lead an effort at this year’s UNGA for rape survivors.

Since May the Sierra Leone Mission had met over Zoom on a weekly basis with Rise to develop a political and communications strategy to introduce the UN Resolution at the 76th UNGA.

During New York Fashion Week, Rise made headlines by producing NYFW’s Survivor Fashion Show at the Museum of Modern Art. The show showcased Sierra Leone’s leadership on the UNGA Resolution. The New York Times published on their Sunday edition. Harper’s Bazaar published on their front page. People Magazine considered it one of the top moments of New York Fashion Week. The show galvanised support and 6 Ambassadors committed their country’s support at the show.

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