Ottawa—25 September 2013
As a global movement of civil society organizations working to end sexual violence, we applaud the introduction of "The Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict" yesterday at the United Nations General Assembly. The Declaration—signed by 113 countries—is a powerful pledge to prevent, protect against, and prosecute rape in war. This collective action of UN member states sends a powerful message to survivors of sexual violence that their healing and justice is a priority. Importantly, it sends a message to perpetrators that they can no longer get away with their crimes.
“I really appreciate this global recognition of the challenges we face as women trying to bring about change on the ground here in the Congo,” said Julienne Lusenge, Advisory Committee member for the Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict. “This first step is critically important to helping us achieve the goal of providing survivors with medical services, but also justice and the hope that the violence against women will come to an end.”
We especially thank the leadership of the Secretary of State of Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, the Right Honorable William Hague, and the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Bangura, for their leadership. We also honor the tireless work of civil society women's rights groups, whose everyday efforts on the ground continues to drive the catalyst for change.
"I urge governments to work in partnership with civil society to ensure the immediate implementation of these international commitments," said Nobel Peace laureate Jody Williams, Co-Chair of the Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict. "Words are important, but only when they result in concrete change for survivors and their communities."
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The International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict unites organizations and individuals into a powerful and coordinated effort for change. Together we will demand bold political leadership to prevent rape in conflict, to protect civilians and rape survivors, and call for justice for all—including effective prosecution of those responsible.