UN representative Zainab Bangura, British Foreign Secretary William Hague and actress Angelina Jolie spoke on initiative to prevent sexual violence.
The G8 has announced that it will be contributing almost £23 million to combat sexual violence in conflict and violence against women and girls.
The British Foreign Minister, William Hague, speaking at the G8 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in London on March 11, said that his own government would be donating £10 million, nearly half of the G8 total.
£5 million of this will come from the Foreign Office, whereas the other £5 million will come from the Department of International Development.
As well as the financial support in combating sexual violence in conflict zones, the G8 Foreign Ministers endorsed the Declaration on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, which confirms that rape and sexual violence are in breach of the Geneva Convention, and gives G8 states the responsibility to search for, and prosecute, anyone regarded as a perpetrator of any such crimes.
The G8 has an important role in advancing the implementation of the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security and Children and Armed Conflict, including by tackling conflict-related sexual violence and advancing the participation of women in peace building and transition processes, as Ministers acknowledged in Washington in April 2012.
The Declaration comes a year after it was first placed on the table by Hague, and at the London meeting he repeatedly emphasised the importance of the step that the G8 was taking in concentrating on sexual violence in conflict zones, and his own passion for the cause, citing it as “the slave trade of our generation.”
“This is one of the greatest and most persistent injustices in the world,” Hague said.
The Foreign Secretary was joined by Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening, who highlighted that some of the money will go towards providing support for victims of sexual violence in countries torn apart by conflict, such as Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The G8 were joined by representatives from the United Nations in Zainab Bangura, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative on sexual violence in conflict, and Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie, who is the Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Jolie called for the world to act on the issue of sexual violence in conflict, saying, “Wartime rape is not inevitable…this violence can be prevented, and it must be confronted.”
Bangura said it was important to use “an opportunity like at no time before in history to break the back of this age-old evil. Sexual violence in conflict is not inevitable; to eradicate it is not a ‘mission impossible’. May this be a decisive moment; our moment to put an end to this crime which is a blight on our collective humanity.”