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 Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More