Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict

As delivered by Chargé d’Affaires Gary Robbins
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
June 19, 2014

The United States joins the United Kingdom and others in our longstanding commitment to support the prevention of, and accountability for, sexual violence in conflict.  We are an active partner in the United Kingdom’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative, announced by Foreign Secretary William Hague in May 2012, at the G8 Foreign Ministers meeting.

At last week’s Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, Secretary Kerry stated that “acts of sexual violence demean our collective humanity and are a stain on the conscience of the world.”  We stand firmly with others in calling on all participating States to adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual violence against women and men, to end impunity for such violence, and to strengthen accountability.

Mr. Chair, the United States has consistently voiced its commitment to prevent and respond to sexual violence in conflict and has taken several steps to address this priority.  We are launching an Accountability Initiative to support the development of specialized mechanisms that will improve access to justice for survivors of gender based violence and bring perpetrators to justice.  In addition, the United States is committing additional funding to initiatives that signal our resolve to support the urgent security needs of individual survivors of gender based violence and to partnerships that document the magnitude, nature, and impact of sexual violence against children.  We are also challenging other governments to restrict travel by those responsible for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and other serious violations of human rights, including those involving sexual violence.  These actions represent only a few examples of the steps the United States is taking to combat this unacceptable conduct.

The United States will continue to be a key supporter of the global effort to prevent sexual violence in conflict and will continue to translate its commitment into action.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.