Friday, March 29, 2019

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa and Family "Stand Speak Rise Up!"

Photo: Stand Speak Rise Up
The much anticipated "Stand Speak Rise Up!" conference took place in Luxembourg this week. The international conference committed to ending sexual violence in fragile environments was initiated by the Grand Duchess together with the Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation and We are NOT Weapons of War (WWoW), supported by the Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society and the Luxembourg Government.
Photo: Stand Speak Rise Up
The aim of the conference was to raise awareness of sexual violence in conflict zones, particularly rape as a weapon of war. Sadly both have experienced in upsurge in today's conflicts yet are rarely talked about. While sexual violence is a deep-rooted global phenomenon affecting every human being, women are oftentimes the most vulnerable. Fragile environments, such as war and guerilla zones, displaced communities, detention centres, isolated rural villages and areas ravaged by natural disasters, are fertile grounds for these heinous crimes that have become part of military strategy and a weapon of war.
Photo: Cour grand-ducale / Sophie Margue
Already on Saturday, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa celebrated her birthday with a party together with 50 survivors of sexual violence in conflict zones who had already travelled to the Grand Duchy for the conference that took place on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Photo: Cour grand-ducale / Claude Piscitelli
On Monday, the Grand Duke welcomed two of the conference's attendees, Atifete Jahjaga, former President of Kosovo, and Pramila Patten, United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, for audiences at the palais.
Photo: Stand Speak Rise Up
The actual conference took place on Tuesday and Wednesday with a concert at the Philharmonie rounding off the event. It was great to see so many family members coming out to support such an important cause. Among those who attended the various events related to the conference were, of course, Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duke Jean, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, Prince Félix and Princess Claire, Princess Alexandra, as well as Archduchess Marie-Astrid and Princess Anunciata and Princess Charlotte (daughter of Guillaume and Sibilla).

Pictures of the conference are available on Flickr as well as at the cour here and here. RTL has several news reports about the events, here and here for example, as well as a lengthy interview with the Grand Duchess.

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