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 South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid