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GSF @ UNGA 78- Innovative solutions for financing CRSV reparations


Events / United States of America

Date and time

Sep 22, 2023


New York, New York

Conflict-related sexual violence is a brutal, personal act of war, and a grave violation of international law that can affect anyone. In many countries, rape and other forms of sexual violence are used on a massive scale and often to advance military objectives. States have a legal obligation to provide remedy either through courts and/or government-led programmes—even when they are not directly responsible for the crimes. Yet, a lack of funding often stops this from happening.

From Ukraine to Syria, Global Survivors Fund (GSF) believes that government-led reparation programmes could be affordable through innovative financing.

This high-level UNGA 78 side event will explore both traditional and novel pathways available to ensure reparations are costed and affordable.

Bringing together survivors of conflict-related sexual violence, representatives of the United Nations and its Member States, legal experts, and civil society, the event will demonstrate that States and the international community must use all models available to them to finance reparations.

From targeted taxes on conflict-related industries or financial transactions, fines for breach of sanctions or the repurposing of perpetrators’ assets, this solution-oriented 105-minute discussion will demonstrate how reparations can be provided to survivors of conflict-related sexual violence and victims of other human rights violations.

Simultaneous interpretation will be available in Arabic, English, French and Spanish.


Welcome and introduction

  • Mr. Rupert Skilbeck - Director, REDRESS (Moderator)
  • Ms. Susan J. Kohlmann - President, New York City Bar Association, Partner, Jenner & Block LLP
  • Ms. Esther Dingemans - Executive Director, Global Survivors Fund
  • Video clip prepared by Global Survivors Fund

Opening remarks

  • Ms. Jineth Bedoya Lima - Survivor Activist, Journalist, UN Global Champion for the Fight Against Sexual Violence in Conflict, Director, No es hora de callar
  • Dr. Geeta Rao Gupta - Ambassador-at-Large, Office of Global Women’s Issues, U.S. Department of State Special Representative of the United Nations
  • USG Ms. Pramila Patten - Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict (video remarks)
  • Mr. Fabián Salvioli - UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence (video remarks)

Dialogue 1: Costing and financing

  • Ms. Grace Acan - Survivor Activist, Author, Co-founder of the Women's Advocacy Network (WAN) Uganda, Archivist, Refugee Law Project, Board Member, Global Survivors Fund
  • H.E Mohamed-Lamin Tarawalley - Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Republic of Sierra Leone
  • Mr. Brian James Williams - Chief, Financing for Peacebuilding Branch, Peacebuilding Support Office, UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs
  • Ambassador Arlene Tickner - Deputy Permanent Representative of Colombia to the United Nations
  • Ms. Diana Esther Guzmán Rodríguez - Executive Director, Dejusticia

Dialogue 2: Sanctions, countermeasures and repurposing of assets

  • Mr. Riyad Avlar - Survivor Activist, Co-founder of the Association of Detainees and The Missing in Sednaya Prison (ADMSP)
  • Ms. Iryna Mudra - Deputy Minister of Justice, Ukraine
  • Ms. Tetyana Nesterchuk - Barrister, Fountain Court Chambers
  • Ms. Yuliya M. Ziskina - Legal Counsel, Razom

Audience Q+A

Closing remarks

  • Ms. Yasmin Waljee, OBE - Partner, International Pro Bono, Hogan Lovells International LLP


Related Material

A press release with our call to decision makers is available for download.

Download the Press Release

GSF has prepared a dedicated policy brief on the affordability of reparations.

Download the Policy Brief

A concept note is available to help frame the event and the discussions taking place.

Download the Concept Note


Grace Acan

Grace Acan is an advocate for women who have survived war in northern Uganda and has been working with war affected communities since 2010. Being a survivor of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) conflict, in 2011 she co-founded the Women’s Advocacy Network, a community-based organisation that works across northern Uganda with women who survived sexual violence in conflict. More specifically, she helps to secure the financial futures of children born from forced marriages by connecting them with the families of their fathers. Grace is a graduate of Gulu University with a bachelor's degree in development studies. She has worked as a researcher on a number of projects, including at the international level, on topics related to justice, accountability, and community mobilisation. She is the author of the book, “Not yet sunset: A story of survival and perseverance in LRA captivity”.

Riyad Avlar

Riyad Avlar is a human rights defender and the co-founder for the Association of Detainees and The Missing in Sednaya prison (ADMSP). Mr. Avlar is a former detainee of 21 years in different Syrian detention centres, where he was forcibly disappeared for 15 of those years. He is a survivor of torture and conflict-related sexual violence. Mr. Avlar is also an accomplished Saz player, a theatre actor, and a nonstop advocate for human rights causes.

Jineth Bedoya Lima

Jineth Bedoya Lima is a journalist, writer, documentary filmmaker and international lecturer on issues of armed conflict, drug trafficking and gender violence. She is currently the Gender and Special Topics Editor of the newspaper EL TIEMPO.

She has published nine books on the armed conflict in Colombia. Since 2008, she has trained journalists in Colombia and Latin America on the correct way to report on gender-based violence. In 2013, she was recognised as one of the 100 most influential journalists covering war and violence in the world.

In 2009, when she made her case public, after 9 years of being kidnapped, tortured and sexually abused, she created the campaign No Es Hora De Callar (It's Not Time To Be Silent), through which she has supported over 10,000 victims of conflict-related sexual violence in Colombia.

She was part of the group of victims who participated in the Havana peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas, and their participation allowed sexual violence to be included in the agreements as a non-pardonable crime. In 2021, she succeeded in getting the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to condemn the Colombian state for the crimes she faced. After 21 years, the international court ordered historic reparations for women survivors of sexual violence and women journalists in the hemisphere.

Her work has earned her several international awards, as well as a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016 for her work defending woman and victims of sexual violence. In 2022, she was named as a Global Champion in the fight against sexual violence by the United Nations.

Esther Dingemans

Esther Dingemans is the Executive Director of the Global Survivors Fund and a leading expert on developing and implementing survivor-centred programmes addressing conflict-related sexual violence. Esther is also the Founding Director and Special Advisor of the Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation where she developed the organisation’s work on holistic care for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence, and on uniting survivors to speak out and to organise globally in the SEMA network. Before this, Esther led humanitarian programmes in conflict-related sexual violence for NGOs and UN agencies in countries around the world. Her areas of expertise include community-driven projects and survivor-centred reparations.

Diana Esther Guzmán Rodríguez

Diana Esther Guzmán Rodríguez is a Doctor of the Science of Law (JSD) from Stanford Law School. She received an M.A. in Law from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia and a Master in Socio Legal Research (JSM) degree from Stanford Law School. She is a lawyer and holds a specialty in constitutional law from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Currently, Diana is Associate Professor at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, where she teaches in the areas of legal theory and sociology of law, transitional justice, and constitutional law. She was a research coordinator in gender issues and drug policy reforms at Dejusticia and carried out research on the judiciary, victims’ rights, and legal education. Diana has been part of the board of directors at Dejusticia since 2019.

Susan J. Kohlmann

Susan J. Kohlmann has tackled some of the most significant issues the content, media, and entertainment industry has faced. Representing entertainment and media industry giants, including film studios and television networks, new technology companies, and others in media and entertainment, she deftly navigates clients at the convergence of content and technology. Susan litigates cases to clarify the reach and application of federal law to new technologies and their content distribution platforms and resolves critical issues threatening her clients’ ability to exploit their creative works and key brands.

With a keen appreciation for the tension between protecting content and the desire to distribute it widely, Susan helps clients consider possibilities, manage risk, and ensure maximum protection in taking their businesses forward. Susan guides clients in recognising which issues are worth a fight. Then she forges a litigation strategy, leaving no stone unturned to achieve success.

A litigation trailblazer, Susan secured a $100 million trademark infringement dispute win for ViacomCBS over an MTV reality show title. Susan represented Diageo in connection with its famous Bulleit whiskey brand, successfully enjoining the continued sale of Redemption whiskey following a three-week jury trial in which the jury confirmed that Diageo’s Bulleit brand was famous and that Deutsch & Sons’ Redemption bottle diluted its distinctiveness. Susan has also protected at trial and on appeal John Steinbeck’s estate’s right to control the use of the author’s iconic works.

Susan is currently serving a two-year term as President of the New York City Bar.

Under-Secretary-General Pramila Patten

Under-Secretary-General Pramila Patten was appointed as the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict on 12 April 2017.

Prior to this appointment and since 2003, Ms. Patten served as a member of the Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). She was the Chairperson of the Working Group on General Recommendation No. 30 on “Women in Conflict Prevention, Conflict and Post-Conflict situations”. She has been a member of several High-Level Panels and Projects, including the High-Level Advisory Group for the Global Study on the Implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security, and the Advisory Panel for the African Women’s Rights Observatory (AWRO) within the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). She previously was a Commissioner of the International Commission of Inquiry into the massacre in Guinea Conakry on 28 September 2009. A national of Mauritius, she has been a practicing lawyer since 1982 and a member of the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn.

Dr. Geeta Rao Gupta

Ambassador Geeta Rao Gupta is the fourth Ambassador-at-Large for the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State and the first woman of color to hold the position. She previously served as Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation and Senior Advisor to Co-impact, a global collaborative philanthropy for systems change. While at the U.N. Foundation, she founded and served as Executive Director and later as Senior Advisor of the 3D Program for Girls and Women.

Ambassador Rao Gupta has also chaired numerous boards including the Global Advisory Board of Women Lift Health, an initiative to promote women’s leadership in global health and served as a member of WHO’s Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee for Health Emergencies, the Board of UBS Optimus Foundation and the Advisory Board of Merck for Mothers. She also served as a Commissioner for the Lancet-SIGHT Commission on Health, Gender Equality and Peace.

Previously, Ambassador Rao Gupta served as Deputy Executive Director, Programmes at UNICEF and prior to that as a Senior Fellow at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Earlier, Gupta served as President of the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) for more than a decade. In the past, she also served on several boards, including the Global Partnership for Education; Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health; and the MAC AIDS Fund. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including InterAction’s Julia Taft Award for Outstanding Leadership, Harvard University’s Anne Roe Award and Washington Business Journal’s “Women Who Mean Business” Award. Ambassador Rao Gupta holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from Bangalore University and an M.Phil. and M.A. from the University of Delhi in India.

Fabián Salvioli

Fabián Salvioli (Argentina) is a human rights lawyer and professor. He has lectured in many countries and universities across the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. Mr. Salvioli has authored several books and articles on international human rights law. He was member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee between 2009 and 2016, and its President between 2015 and 2016. Mr. Salvioli served twice as member and three times as president of Ad-Hoc Arbitration Courts on Monetary Reparations, within the Friendly Settlement Mechanism of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In May 2018, he was appointed as UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurence.

Rupert Skilbeck

Rupert Skilbeck is a barrister who specialises in human rights law and international criminal law, who has directed strategic litigation around the world. Before joining REDRESS in 2018, he was the Litigation Director at the Open Society Justice Initiative, where he oversaw human rights litigation in more than 100 cases including torture, deaths in custody, discrimination, fair trial rights, corruption, national security, and international criminal law. Prior to this he worked with international and hybrid criminal tribunals in Cambodia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Sierra Leone. In 2006 he was appointed by the United Nations as the Principal Defender for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. He was also the director of Odsjek Krivicne Odbrane, the criminal defence section of the State Court in Sarajevo, and the defence advisor at the Special Court for Sierra Leone. From 1995 to 2004 he practiced primarily at the criminal bar in London and on the Midland circuit.

Tetyana Nesterchuk

Tetyana Nesterchuck is a barrister (specialist advocate) and arbitrator practicing at the Bar of England and Wales (at Fountain Court Chambers) and specialising in international commercial law. Formerly, Tetyana worked as a lecturer in Trusts, Torts, Land and Roman law at Oxford University (2005-2015) and a judicial assistant (equivalent to US law clerk) in the Supreme Court of the UK (2010-2011). In 2021, Tetyana was appointed as a UK expert to the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE). Tetyana is a draftsperson of the UK Seizure of Russian State Assets and Support for Ukraine Bill introduced in February 2023.

Arlene B. Tickner

Arlene B. Tickner assumed the role of Colombia Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in January 2023. Before her arrival to the Permanent Mission of Colombia, Dr. Tickner was a Professor of International Relations and Director of Research in the School of Political Science, Government and International Relations at the Universidad del Rosario, Bogotá, Colombia. Also, she was a professor in the Political Science Department at the Universidad de los Andes for over two decades. She has a Ph.D. in International Studies from the University of Miami and an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University. Dr. Tickner’s main areas of research include, Latin American and hemispheric security, foreign policy and the international politics of the global south. She is the co-founder (with Ole Wæver) and co-editor (with David Blaney and Inanna Hamati-Ataya) of the Routledge book series, Worlding beyond the West.

Yasmin Waljee, OBE

Yasmin Waljee is an international human rights lawyer and has advised on issues relating to compensation for victims of crime and terrorism including the July 7 bombing victims, the right to life, and regularly works on public policy issues in this area. Yasmin co-leads Hogan Lovells award-winning social enterprise and social finance practice. She is the firm’s International Pro Bono Partner.

Her appointment in 1997 as a legally qualified, full-time pro bono manager was the first of its kind in Europe. She is part of the firm’s Citizenship panel and manages the worldwide giving initiative and community investment program with members of the corporate responsibility and citizenship team. Yasmin is the Vice-Chair of Mosaic, the HRH Prince of Wales led initiative to support young Muslims and their peers growing up in deprived areas whilst breaking down the barriers and suspicions with British Society.

She sits on the Advisory Panel to the UK’s Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and is a member of the British Council’s Society Advisory Group. Yasmin received an award for the most inspirational woman of the year, Daily Mail, 2008, 50 most influential women in the law 2007; finalist Asian Woman of the Year 2005 and Woman Solicitor of the Year 2000, The Times. In 2010, Yasmin was awarded an OBE in the HM Queen’s New Year Honours list.

Mr. Brian James Williams

Mr. Williams was appointed as the Chief, Financing for Peacebuilding Branch, in the Peacebuilding Support Office, Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs starting September, 2021. He comes with 30 years of experience in international development, peacebuilding and humanitarian response. Most recently, he served as the ad interim Chief of Policy and Programming in the United Nations Development Coordination Office Headquarters. Prior to this position, he was the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Albania from 2015 to 2020. He served as the Chief of Financing for Peacebuilding Branch, from 2010 to 2015. From 2001 to 2008, he worked on the global HIV crisis, as UNAIDS Coordinator in Myanmar and in Geneva headquarters. Since 1990, Mr. Williams has lived in and worked on humanitarian assistance and peacebuilding in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, and Rwanda. Before joining the United Nations, he worked with USAID, CARE International, and the International Rescue Committee. Mr. Williams has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Harvard University and a Master of Science from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs. He is married and has two children.

Yuliya M. Ziskina

Yuliya M. Ziskina is currently Legal Counsel at Razom for Ukraine, a nonprofit organization supporting humanitarian aid to Ukraine. She is the Principal Author of the New Lines Institute report, Multilateral Asset Transfer: A Proposal for Ensuring Reparations to Ukraine, one of the first and most comprehensive legal analyses of seizing Russian state assets to benefit Ukraine. A public policy and intellectual property lawyer focused on international law, open access information policy, and ethics, she was previously a Fellow at the World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency and the U.S. Department of Justice, and a former prosecutor at the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board and King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

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