Jiyan Foundation Adopts Guidelines on Ethical Engagement with Survivors of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

NEW YORK (November 24, 2021) — Today Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights announced the adoption of the Coalition for Just Reparations’ (C4JR) Guidelines on Ethical Engagement with Survivors of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence to govern engagement with survivors when faced with media requests and responsible use of survivor experiences.

Ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25th, Jiyan will also engage in 16 days of activism promoted by UN Women to promote and raise awareness of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and call for other human rights and civil society organizations around the world to join Jiyan in adopting the guidelines.

As we look to fulfill the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – Good Health and Well-being, Gender Equality, Peace Justice and Strong Institutions, and Partnerships for the Goals – Jiyan emphasizes the necessity of international organizations, private enterprises, and governments to responsibly address GBV by putting the well-being and mental health of survivors first.

“Creating ethical, safe environments for survivors to have a say on what matters to them is raison d’etre and an utmost priority for Jiyan Foundation in realizing these goals,” said Jiyan Foundation’s Head of Rights and Justice Bojan Gavrilovic. “We encourage all institutions to join Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights in endorsing and adopting C4JR’s Guidelines on Ethical Engagement with Survivors of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and joining these 16 days of activism.”


The idea of an internal document providing guidance for C4JR members and activists on interacting with survivors and facilitating media requests in an ethical manner emerged during the consultations that led to establishing the C4JR. The first step was made by bringing members and experts together in an online workshop on ethical interaction with survivors on June 8-9, 2020, where attendees discussed humanitarian and journalistic ethics within the context of C4JR’s work. Ms Güley Bor, an international lawyer and researcher, facilitated the discussion among the NGOs and produced initial draft of the Guidelines. More specifically, the following topics have been discussed: Informed consent and the principle of Do-No-Harm, ethical engagement with media and protecting interests of survivors, trauma-informed communication with survivors, and briefing survivors for public events.

Presentations and discussions held at the workshop as well as ethical principles and available guidelines on reporting and documenting SGBV[1] served as a basis for the first draft of the guidelines which were translated into Arabic and distributed among C4JR members for further comments. The second draft has been discussed during an internal workshop on January 20, 2021, where comments and suggestions of the Yazidi Survivors Network on the initial draft have been considered as well. The advanced version has been adopted at the C4JR general meeting held on March 17, 2021.

[1] WHO (2007). WHO Ethical and safety recommendations for researching, documenting, and monitoring sexual violence in emergencies, https://www.who.int/gender/documents/OMS_Ethics&Safety10Aug07.pdf; Dart Centre (2011). Reporting on Sexual Violence, https://dartcenter.org/content/reporting-on-sexual-violence; Global Protection Cluster (2013). Media Guidelines for Reporting on Gender-Based Violence in Humanitarian Contexts, https://www.refworld.org/pdfid/5c3701d27.pdf; International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) (2014). IFJ Guidelines for Reporting on Violence Against Women, https://www.ifj.org/fileadmin/images/Gender/Gender_documents/IFJ_Guidelines_for_Reporting_on_Violence_Against_Women_EN.pdf; UNFPA (2020). Reporting on Gender-Based Violence in Humanitarian Settings, https://www.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/pub-pdf/Journalists_Handbook_-_March_8_-_English.pdf; Institute for International Criminal Investigations, Nadia’s Initiative and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. (2020). Draft Global Code of Conduct for Investigating and Documenting Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (“Murad Code”), https://www.muradcode.com/draft-murad-code.