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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs