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.

    You May Like

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Forced Anal Testing Case to Appear Before Kenya Court

    Men challenge use of anal examinations to ‘prove homosexuality’; practice accomplishes nothing except to humiliate those subjected to them, according to Human Rights Watch

    This forum has been closed.
    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.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora