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Video message by Dr. Doina Bologa, UNFPA Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Country Director for Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Director for Kosovo and Senior Emergency Coordinator for Greece on 20th Anniversary of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Inter-religious Council, on the occasion of June 19, International Day of Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict

It is my great pleasure and honor to congratulate Inter-religious Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its leaders on their 20th anniversary, and thank them for their service to the country and its peoples. Message of peace, tolerance and understanding is universal, but Inter-religious council made it a real one in this country. Inter-religious Council’s impressive, dedicated and stead-fast commitment to social transformation is most commendable and its most impressive quality is that it ensures that value-change towards peace and understanding happens gradually, sustainably and firmly at the local level, where it matters the most.

UN Population Fund is active globally in support and promotion of peacebuilding efforts undertaken by faith-based organizations, in our joint quest to create a conducive socio‐cultural environment that impacts behaviour, attitudes and practices that ultimately promote and mobilize key communities towards achieving last peace, stability and social harmony Inter-religious Council and UNFPA share one trait in common – we both build and integrate various partnerships formed at all levels of the country to impact on socio‐cultural dynamics, policies and programmes which improve lives of citizens and advance rights of everyone, regardless of their ethnic, religious, cultural or any other backgrounds.

When UNFPA and Inter-religious Council partnered to support survivors of conflict-related sexual violence, we started from a premise that wounds inflicted on them don’t heal on their own, don’t diminish with the passing of time. Ignoring will not help, and suffering in silence only exacerbates the problem.

We are grateful to the British government which recognized this need and provided support to our joint, groundbreaking efforts to prevent and tackle stigmatization of survivors, in line with principles for Global action to prevent and tackle stigmatization of survivors.
We must all show to survivors that we are there for them, care for them and that we don’t judge them.

Stigmatization of survivors is one of the main obstacles for their reintegration in society, and it is our obligation to alleviate it as much as possible.  UNFPA remains committed to this issue and we will continue developing innovative, comprehensive and sustainable solutions to address it.