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Georgetown Experts Join Summit on Sexual Violence in War Zones

June 16, 2014 – Representatives from Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC), the School of Foreign Service (SFS) and the Law Center took part in last week’s Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, which took place in London.

Joining a delegation representing Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), Dr. Ranit Mishori (M’02), associate professor of family medicine and director of global health initiatives in GUMC’s department of family medicine, participated in a session at the June 10-13 summit.

The conference made headlines around the world in part due to high-profile attendees and hosts, including actress Angelina Jolie, a United Nations special envoy, British Foreign Secretary William Hague and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Securing Medical Evidence

Mishori’s panel focused on the critical role of technology in securing forensic medical evidence in conflict situations to increase accountability for sexual violence.

The Georgetown alumna was one of more than 30 representatives from PHR from around the globe, including doctors, judges, magistrates, police officials and advocates from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, Kenya and other areas.

‘Horrible Cases’

Mishori presented the clinical perspective of collection and documentation of forensic medical evidence, and then moderated a panel featuring three of her PHR colleagues.

She says participating in the summit exposed her to the latest thinking and initiatives involved in studying, reporting, documenting and prosecuting sex crimes in areas of conflict.

“Without the proper collection of evidence, gathering of data and accurate documentation, it is extremely difficult to bring some of these horrible cases to justice,” Mishori says. “Mobile-Health technology can be harnessed to improve accountability for sexual violence, and to end impunity for the perpetrators.”

Mishori has worked in the Congo as part of a PHR program to train teams how to document sexual violence cases.

SFS, Law Participants

Melanne Verveer (I’66, G’69), executive director for Georgetown’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS) in SFS, also attended the summit. She previously served as President Obama’s first-ever director of the State Department’s Office for Global Women’s Issues.

Mayesha Alam, assistant director of GIWPS, and Jane Stromseth, a Law Center professor, also attended the summit.

Stromseth teaches and writes in the fields of constitutional law, international law, human rights, international security and post-conflict reconstruction.

The law professor is co-author of Can Might Make Rights? Building the Rule of Law After Military Interventions (Cambridge University Press, 2006), among other publications.