World leaders face pressure to act against sexual violence at UK summit
an article by Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith; Editing by Sophie Hares, Thomson Reuters Foundation (abridged)
The kidnapping of 200 Nigerian girls and several recent horrific
murders of women is expected to raise pressure on the world
community to take concrete action to punish those responsible for
sexual violence at a global summit in London this week.
A woman walks past a soldier in the village of Kadji, Mali, March 1, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney
click on photo to enlarge
Invited by Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie and British Foreign
Secretary William Hague, government ministers, military and judicial
leaders and aid workers from about 150 nations will join the first
global summit to end sexual violence in conflict.
The June 10-13 summit follows a run of shocking cases of violence
against women including the kidnap of schoolgirls by Islamist Boko
Haram, the stoning to death of a pregnant woman in Pakistan in a
so-called "honour killing", and the gang-rape and murder of two
Indian teenagers who were hanged from a tree.
Hague said too often those who committed these crimes never
faced justice and the summit would agree the first international
protocol on how to document and investigate sexual violence in
conflicts. "Often it is the lack of evidence that means that these
things go unpunished," Hague told Sky television on Sunday. "Now
this will lead to prosecutions. None of this will be achieved
overnight but this is a problem which has been getting worse in
recent decades and is utterly unacceptable in the 21st century."
Oscar-winner Jolie's involvement in humanitarian issues dates back
to 2001 when she travelled to Sierra Leone as a UNHCR Goodwill
Ambassador and was horrified to see the impact of years of civil war
when an estimated 60,000 women were raped. The unlikely pair
have travelled together to witness the legacy of sexual violence in
war and the work to help victims. Earlier this year they went to
Bosnia where more than 100,000 people, most of them civilians,
were killed in the 1992-95 war when an estimated 20,000 women
were believed raped.
Figures from UNICEF estimate an average of 36 women and girls are
raped daily in the Democratic Republic of Congo where up to
200,000 women have suffered sexual violence since 1998.
Alice Allan, head of advocacy at CARE International, said the world
had been horrified by several recent cases of violence on women
which would raise the bar at the summit.
"Violence against women is not new but social media has helped
bring these cases to the fore and helped galvanise governments to
commit to taking action," Allan told Reuters. "These cases have
been horrific but hopefully it will lead to greater action this week
and public commitments from governments to which they will be
held accountable" . . .
(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)
Question(s) related to this article:
Protecting women and girls against violence, Is progress being made?
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The 47 CPNN articles devoted to this theme suggest that indeed progress is being made.