113 Countries Pledge to act Against Sexual Violence, Rape in War

A total of 113 countries on Wednesday in New York endorsed a historic new document entitled: ‘Declaration of Commitment to end Sexual Violence in Conflict.’

PANA in New York reported that the the Declaration, launched on the sidelines of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly, contained a set of practical and political commitments to end the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war.

Leaders and representatives of UN member states at the signing ceremony welcomed the document and pledged their support to survivors and the civil society groups which advocate on their behalf.

PANA learned that UN member states, who are yet to sign, will be able to add their endorsement to the Declaration, which is open until 4 October.

Speaking at the event, Ms. Zainab Bangura, UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, said: ‘Your presence here today sends a message to vulnerable people everywhere around the globe, that the international community will not stand by as their bodies are used as battlefields for political and military advantage.’

She noted that the days when sexual violence in conflict was dismissed as an unfortunate byproduct of war was gone.

‘Now that we have changed attitudes, we must also prevent actions to prevent and eradicate these crimes.’

She also called on all UN member states, regional organisations and NGOs to support the document and promote actions to check sexual violence and other abuses on women and children.

In 2014, the United Kingdom will host a major conference to increase international momentum on action against sexual violence.

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