Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence in Conflict
Office of the Spokesperson
June 13, 2014
The United States has a longstanding commitment to support the prevention of, and accountability for, sexual violence in conflict. We have been a key partner in the United Kingdom's Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI), announced by Foreign Secretary William Hague in April 2012 at the G8 Foreign Ministers meeting. The Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, June 10-13, 2014, is part of the PSVI and is dedicated to building momentum around this issue and marshalling action and commitments from governments. Secretary of State John Kerry will deliver a keynote address on June 13, 2014 at the closing plenary of this Summit in which he will highlight U.S. commitments to prevent and respond to sexual violence in conflict, which include:
- Launching an Accountability Initiative to support the development of specialized justice sector mechanisms that will improve access to justice for survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) and bring perpetrators to justice in partner countries ravaged by war, violence, and insecurity.
- Building on the Safe from the Start initial commitment of $10 million announced by Secretary Kerry in September 2013 for international organization partners, the release of a new funding opportunity available to NGOs to develop innovative programming to prevent and respond to GBV in refugee emergencies. Safe from the Start is a joint State-USAID effort that focuses on addressing GBV from the earliest stages of a humanitarian response. Please visit http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2013/09/214552.htm for more information
- Committing an additional $2.5 million to expand our partnerships with countries undertaking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Violence Against Children Surveys along with Together for Girls. Together for Girls helps countries undertake comprehensive surveys to document the magnitude, nature, and impact of physical, emotional and sexual violence against children, with a focus on girls. The surveys inform country-led, evidence-based coordinated policy and program actions. Please visit http://www.togetherforgirls.org/ for more information.
- Doubling our commitment to the GBV Emergency Response and Protection Initiative to $1 million, signaling our resolve to support the urgent security needs of individual survivors of GBV, including harmful traditional practices, due to their gender or gender identity. The Initiative also supports training to implement GBV laws and targeted support to address cultural attitudes and norms around GBV.
- Continuing to prioritize advancing the status of women and girls in all aspects of our diplomatic work, in every embassy and every bureau, by every diplomat and officer on every level, as Secretary Kerry will instruct through the issuance of expanded gender guidance.
- Issuing a "challenge" by the Department to 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. The Secretary issued guidance in February 2014 which specifies that the entry into the United States of perpetrators – including government officials, at any level, acting in their official capacity – of widespread or systematic violence, war crimes, crimes against humanity, or other serious violations of human rights is suspended. Acts that fall within this visa restriction can include rape, sexual assault, sexual slavery, sexual abuse, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, forced abortion, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity when they occur in certain circumstances, such as when the acts are widespread or systematic, occur during an armed conflict, or are committed using governmental authority.
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