Thursday, 11 April 2013

G8 Ministers must tackle sexual violence against children in war

Foreign ministers from the G8 countries are being urged to address the ‘forgotten’ child victims of rape and sexual violence in conflict, as they gather for a summit in London today.
The UK’s Foreign Secretary William Hague is meeting his counterparts from the US Russia, Japan, Canada, France, Germany and Italy to discuss how to address the issue globally.
As the two-day summit gets under way, aid agency World Vision is warning that ending sexual violence in war requires concerted efforts to protect those most vulnerable – particularly children.
Erica Hall, Senior Child Rights Advisor for World Vision UK, said: “Children represent around half the reported victims of sexual violence in wartime – sometimes more.
“Yet these children are often overlooked in emergency responses and don’t get the support they need to rebuild their lives.
“It’s a heartbreaking reality for so many, a reality which William Hague and G8 Foreign Ministers have a historic chance to change. We urge these governments to direct funding into the right places to protect these forgotten children and to prevent needless rapes from happening in future.”
The British Government has pledged to seek “concrete commitments to begin to address the culture of impunity for those who use rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war.”
Such violence has been documented in 50 countries over the past 20 years and is currently taking place in conflicts from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Afghanistan to Myanmar, Syria and Mali.
Sexual violence is committed by soldiers, community members, and even family members who take advantage of the breakdown of society in times of conflict.
Measures proposed by the Foreign Office will include support for a new international protocol on the investigation and documentation of sexual violence in conflict and practical assistance in countries affected by this problem. The meetings this week are a crucial starting point, but merely the beginning.


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