The foreign ministers of the G8 countries came together to endorse a declaration on preventing a prosecuting sexual violence in conflict zones. This commitment by international leaders is unprecedented and represents a key development in efforts to end wartime rape.
Together, the world’s eight wealthiest countries recognized the need to address gender violence in conflict and pledged to include women in any negotiation or ceasefire supported by a G8 state. They also agreed in a landmark move to reject amnesties for rape in all future peace agreements. The declaration was accompanied by a promise of nearly $36 million to support the initiative.
The six-point Declaration on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict was announced in London by British Foreign Secretary William J. Hague, UN Special Rapporteur on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Hawa Bangura, and UN Special Envoy for the High Commissioner for Refugees Angelina Jolie. The declaration makes practical provisions for judicial support to increase prosecutions of perpetrators, improvements to training for military and police personnel, and the creation of an international protocol for the investigation of sexual violence in conflict zones. The announcement follows a visit by Hague and Jolie to the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the Campaign’s focus countries, where amnesty for rape has been a major issue in the ongoing peace process. Hague has spearheaded this initiative and made it a priority for the United Kingdom's presidency of the G8. Funding from the United States ($10 million), Canada ($5 million), and the United Kingdom (£10 million) has already been announced.
In an article published this week, Nobel Peace Laureates and Campaign Co-Chairs Leymah Gbowee and Jody Williams deemed the landmark talks the start of a “new era” and urged the G8 Foreign Ministers to take a strong stance on the issue. The Campaign welcomes this answer to its call for urgent political action! The G8 countries have committed themselves to seeking out and confronting conflict-related sexual violence around the world, and the Campaign looks forward to working with them towards this shared goal.
Women Breaking Down the G8 Iron Door, Al-Jazeera English, 10 April 2013.
Angelina Jolie and William Hague in Congo on Anti-Rape Campaign [VIDEO], Guardian, 26 March 2013.