News / USA

US, Britain to Step Up Efforts to Curb Sexual Violence in Conflicts

US, Britain To Step Up Efforts to Curb Sexual Violence In Conflictsi
X
February 26, 2014 5:37 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his British counterpart, William Hague, are adding their weight to the international effort to stop sexual violence in armed conflicts. Rape has been used worldwide as a tool to subdue and demoralize individuals and tear apart communities. Although most of the victims are women, men and boys also have been targeted. Kerry and Hague on Tuesday participated in a discussion in Washington about measures to curb this type of crime. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Zlatica Hoke
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his British counterpart, William Hague, are adding their weight to the international effort to stop sexual violence in armed conflicts. Rape has been used worldwide as a tool to subdue and demoralize individuals and tear apart communities. Although most of the victims are women, men and boys also have been targeted. Kerry and Hague on Tuesday participated in a discussion in Washington about measures to curb this type of crime.
 
Armed forces use sexual violence as the spoils of war for their soldiers or to terrorize populations they want to subdue or force to flee their homes. Kerry said that this kind of violence has too long gone unpunished, and the United States wants to change that. 
 
"No one, and I mean no one, at the highest level of military or governance who has presided over or engaged in or knew of or conducted these kinds of attacks is ever going to receive a visa to travel into the United States of America from this day forward," said Kerry.
 
Kerry said every U.S. embassy and foreign mission will be alerted to this decision. 
 
"There has to be a price attached,” said Kerry.
 
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that in recent years, sexual violence in conflicts in Bosnia, Darfur, Liberia, Guatemala and many other places have been amply documented, and the subject can no longer be ignored.
 
"It's a moral responsibility, but it's also about preventing conflict, about helping communities to work together after conflict that is a fundamental part of conflict prevention as well as a crucial moral cause of our time," said Hague.
 
Hague said what has been missing in the international combat against this type of violence is the major governments throwing their weight behind it. He said Britain's participation will make a difference because the country has one of the world's biggest diplomatic networks.
 
United Nations Special Representative Zainab Hawa Bangura stressed the importance of male participation in combating a crime that affects women the most. She said the United Nations has put in place resolutions against sexual violence. 
 
"The challenge is actually… How do we make sure at the national level that the governments takes ownership and responsibility and implement the decisions that we have agreed at the United Nations?" said Bangura.
 
Bangura said that having 140 countries sign a resolution against sexual violence has made a difference.  She said an obligation to prevent sexual violence is now part of every negotiation for a peace agreement. 
 
Cathy Russell, ambassador at large for global women's issues, said mobile courts used in the Democratic Republic of Congo have proved to be faster and more effective than international courts in punishing those responsible for wartime sexual violence.
 
"We have judges, Congolese prosecutors, judges who go out and who travel around and they hear the cases in the communities. It takes two weeks to be heard and justice is meted out immediately," said Russell.
 
Russell said it is very important for victims to see justice happen in front of them. 
 
Kerry and Hague stressed that the best way to curb the crime is to punish the perpetrators.  Britain will host a major international conference on sexual violence in conflict in London in June.

You May Like

Photogallery US to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Expanded Ebola Effort

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Obama is to announce troop deployment, other details of US plans to fight Ebola outbreak More

China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid