Throughout the world, the use of sexual violence in war is one of the great injustices of our lifetime. It is hard to document, let alone investigate. Perpetrators do not discriminate, because it’s not about sex, but violence, terror, power and control. When rape is committed during conflict, it has often been seen as an inevitable part of war, and so it has been allowed to go unpunished.
But even war has rules. So just as the world could agree that land mines have no place on the battlefield, the world must agree to end sexual violence in conflict.
In London between June 10-13, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and UN special envoy Angelina Jolie will co-host the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. Representatives of governments, civil society, the military and the judiciary will all take part. So too will the public. Events will also take place around the world, including in Rangoon.
It will be a summit like no other, because sexual violence is a crime like no other. Women and men are made to suffer its horrors in conflicts around the world, and shocking as it may seem, many victims are very young girls and boys. Sexual violence carries a corrosive after-effect that lasts a lifetime: an unjust and destructive shame for the victims and their families.
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