News / Europe

    Kerry Joins Call to End Sexual Violence

    (L-R) U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague and actress and campaigner Angelina Jolie pose at a summit to end sexual violence in conflict, at the Excel center in London, June 13, 2014.
    (L-R) U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague and actress and campaigner Angelina Jolie pose at a summit to end sexual violence in conflict, at the Excel center in London, June 13, 2014.
    VOA News
    Calling for an unblushing, unwavering campaign to confront and eradicate sexual violence, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told an international audience that America and the global community "will not tolerate rape as a tactic of war and intimidation."
     
    Kerry gave the closing speech Friday in London at a global summit aimed at halting sexual violence as a tool of war. The four-day summit brought together hundreds of experts, survivors, lawmakers, activists and faith leaders, culminating with a protocol signed by at least 113 countries.
     
    The international protocol sets standards for documenting and investigating sexual assaults in conflict zones, improving the prospects for criminal convictions. The conference, according to a British government website, also urged individual governments to strengthen and enforce domestic laws against sexual violence and to train military and peacekeepers to protect people.  
     
    "When people ask whether or not we could actually outlaw sexual violence in warfare, let me tell you the answer is a resounding yes, yes we can achieve this goal,'' Kerry said.
     
    The summit, striving to change attitudes that sexual violence is an acceptable part of war, also encouraged more support for victims of sexual assault and for individuals and organizations that work on their behalf. The United Kingdom’s government pledged more than £140 million, or $237 million, to that cause.
     

    Not just a women's issue

    Actress Angelina Jolie, a United Nations special envoy and conference co-host with British Foreign Minister William Hague, said at a concluding news conference with Hague and Kerry that she found it "heartening to see so many male leaders … here to confront taboos."
     
    Sexual violence, she said, "is not just a women’s issue, not just a humanitarian issue."
     
    Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict
     
    • Includes 113 countries and more than 100 organizations
    • Aims to launch a new protocol to document and investigate sexual violence in conflict zones to improve conviction rates
    • Calls for soldiers and peacekeepers to be trained in preventing sexual violence
    • Calls for countries to provide funds for support for survivors of sexual violence
    • Aims to debunk attitude that rape in war is inevitable or a lesser crime
       
    Source: British Government
     
    "We've tolerated and we still do tolerate violence and discrimination against women in many forms in all quarters of the world and women still do not occupy their rightful place in the economics and diplomacy and government of many nations," Hague said during the conference.

    "I'm saddened that women's groups still have to ask to be included at the negotiating table as if it were a concession to be granted, or a right to be begrudgingly accorded when in fact it is the only route to better decisions, and to stronger and safer societies," he said.
     
    The summit brought testimony from victims of sexual violence and medical and other experts who treat it. The gathering drew people from the front lines, as well as celebrities such actor Brad Pitt, Jolie’s partner. Fashion designer Stella McCarthy announced the launch of “Draw Me to Safety,” an art project for young victims of violence. It's affiliated with the London-based nonprofit War Child.   
     
    Jolie became active in humanitarian issues in 2001 as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, visiting Sierra Leone. An estimated 60,000 women had been raped during its civil war from 1991 to 2002.
     
    Hague got involved in Jolie's campaign against sexual violence in war zones, Reuters reported, after viewing “In the Land of Blood and Honey,” her 2011 directorial debut. It was set during the 1992-95 Bosnian war in which more than 100,000 people were killed and an estimated 20,000 women believed raped.

    Males victimized, too

    The summit also considered the impact of sexual violence on men and boys, the French news agency AFP reported. Hague and Jolie have visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Bosnia to raise awareness of the issue.
     
    Asked during the news conference whether she might do more artistic work on the summit’s themes, Jolie said she would continue to meet with survivors and bring attention to sexual violence "in any way as an artist."
     
    Kerry, at the news conference, denounced rape "as a tactic of oppression and intimidation."
     
    "Ending the cycle of violence is not just a personal priority," said Kerry, who has two daughters, but it also is a priority of the United States and its allies.
     
    "Thousands of years after rape was written into the lexicon of warfare," he said, "we know that it is time to write it out and to banish sexual violence to the dark ages and the history books where it belongs."

    Some information for this report was provided by Reuters and AFP news services.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Daz from: NZ
    June 16, 2014 1:03 AM
    Ah, rape should never be tolerated no matter what the circumstances.

    This is agenda driven. It's another way of pointing out how "evil" those brown people are and it's another excuse to keep funding and maintaining this foreign policy that benefits a few.

    Think about it, the "war on terror" is a war on a tactic of war - this is the exact same thing "war on rape"... when will that war be won? When will the war on terror ever be won? NEVER it's endless, it's a war waged on a tactic of war... insanity.

    This is just opinion changing drivel, giving stupid people another reason to other countries, it insinuates that they are just a bunch of rapists... "At least we don't rape people during war, that's just wrong"... War is hell, you can't nit pick what tactics another country will impose on you.

    Does this mean that in future we will have the US using rape as a reason to intervene in other countries affairs?... wouldn't put it passed em.

    by: Steve from: Berkeley California
    June 13, 2014 2:29 PM
    Blow dried hair aside Mr. Kerry is two faced like Janus. How about telling us we won't tolerate sexual crimes here in the US where they are rampant. Under the guise of free speech every manner of sexual bestiality has a pedestal and A rapist who destroy's someone's life gets a short jail sentences if caught and convicted. It's easy to go abroad and criticize other countries but much harder to fix your own.

    by: ro
    June 13, 2014 2:29 PM
    mr. kerry. "rape will not be tolerated, stop. period. ever."

    no "as." it is not acceptable ever.

    by: Monika Wahi from: Boston, MA
    June 13, 2014 2:19 PM
    I agree, but charity starts at home. The high rate of rape of US Army soldiers and veterans who are female by male ones is disgusting. We need to fix that NOW, we can, and we should!

    by: Pat from: San Diego
    June 13, 2014 2:19 PM
    Do you suppose he will make a hashtag to scare the bad guys?

    by: Pasquinel from: Canada
    June 13, 2014 2:18 PM
    How do you spell morons?....Obama administration. Congrats USA you finally picked someone worse than Carter. Like you think the is civilized? Just have a good look at your own country that rapes and kills the helpless. You kicked God out and quess who took over...it's the other one you don't believe in aka devil. Voa probably won't print this as it hits too close to home. but give it some thought.

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