A True African Renaissance Includes a Plan to Stop Gender Violence in Conflict
Ottawa—23 May 2013
Building an action plan to end sexual violence in conflict is a powerful way for the African Union to celebrate its 50th anniversary at its historic summit this week, the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict said today.
“Protecting women from gender violence in conflict should be at the top of the AU agenda,” said Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee, Co-Chair of the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict. “We have many achievements to celebrate, but future prosperity hinges on African women living lives free from violence and participating fully in the peace process.”
The African Union (AU) Summit agenda includes a discussion of peace and security in five countries—the Democratic Republic of Congo,Somalia, Sudan and Central African Republic—all countries where rape and gender violence are widespread. AU Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has highlighted the need to address this issue. In a statement marking International Women’s Day 2012 she said, “Now is the time to dedicate ourselves to the plight of women in conflict situations, where sexual violence has often become a tool of war aimed at humiliating the enemy by destroying their dignity.” The Campaign is encouraged by her leadership, and asks Dlamini-Zuma to follow through with a targeted action plan that includes resource allocation and accountability measures.
Heads of state gathering for the Summit on May 26-27 include Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has charged both Al-Bashir and Kenyatta with crimes against humanity, including orchestrating sexual violence. Neither has been held to account for their alleged crimes. The Campaign calls on the AU to press Al-Bashir and Kenyatta to co-operate fully with the ICC, to respect the rule of law and to promote the human rights of women and girls who have experienced sexual violence but have yet to see justice.
During the AU Summit, the Campaign will use social media to encourage stakeholders and activists to provide suggestions for an action plan, asking the question: “As the AU celebrates 50 years, what urgent steps should it take to stop rape in conflict, protect survivors, and prosecute perpetrators?”
In Belfast, Kathryn Semogas, Campaign Coordinator: +1-613-569-8400 ext. 122
The International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict is led by the Nobel Peace Laureates of the Nobel Women’s Initiative and an Advisory Committee comprised of 25 organizations working at the international, regional and community levels to stop rape. Since its launch in May 2012, more than 700 organizations from around the world have joined. The Campaign demands urgent and bold political leadership to prevent rape in conflict, to protect civilians and rape survivors, and calls for justice for all—including effective prosecution of those responsible.