Foreign Secretary William Hague and Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, are co-chairing the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict on 10-13 June 2014 at ExCel London.
This is the largest gathering ever brought together on the subject with over 100 NGO’s and international partners taking part alongside 48 Foreign Ministers and over 600 government delegates from 113 countries.
“I have heard it asked this week, why this issue, why now?” said Angelina during the Summit’s second day. "Why, in a world of so many problems, are we all focussing on this one? Why does it matter?
“Anyone who has met survivors and heard their stories knows that answer: We are here for the nine-year old girl in Uganda, kidnapped and forced into sexual slavery. We are here for the man in Bosnia, years after rape still stigmatised, unable to earn enough money to buy bread for his family. We are here for all the forgotten, hidden survivors who have been made to feel ashamed, or been abandoned, and for the children of rape.
“We want the whole world to hear their stories, and understand that this injustice cannot be tolerated, and that sorrow and compassion are not enough.
“As one woman told me yesterday – we’ve had enough of words. We want action.
“Many brave men and women have been fighting to protect victims of warzone rape for years, and many are with us today. But we as an international community have never done enough to stop this abuse.
“And we do survivors a disservice when they know we are aware but do nothing to hold perpetrators accountable.
“Our outrage does not help the woman who walks into her attacker on the street – free as a bird, free to abuse others, because of this global culture of impunity.
“And today, we have an opportunity to begin to change that.
“My plea to you today, is to see both the individuals who have suffered, and the bigger picture: To think what we would each be prepared to do, as individuals, to prevent those we love from suffering – and apply that protective instinct to the world’s most vulnerable people. And to remember, looking at the sweep of history, that we do have the power to eradicate injustice, with political will and determination.
“These crimes of sexual violence are bigger than any one conflict or national interest.
“And for all the things we struggle to agree upon as nations, the abhorrence of rape cannot be one of them.
“So I ask all the governments here today, to move from condemnation to action: To be ready to change and improve your laws so they offer proper protections; To write the prevention of sexual violence into the training of your militaries and police forces; To support and implement the new International Protocol, to drive up the number of prosecutions; And to fund the UN efforts and NGO projects that work with survivors to heal them emotionally and help them, help them to gain support and justice.
“Warzone rape is a preventable crime. So our response must never again be that these things simply happen. It can never be, that peace is more important than justice – or that money is in short supply – or that there are other priorities.
“I have heard some people say that we have set ourselves an impossible task. But the greater the problem the greater our determination should be.
“Look around you, look at how many of us are here, at all the countries represented, and think of what we could accomplish together. Think of what difference we will make if we apply all the lessons learned at this summit, and bring to bear all your influence and expertise. Think of what that would mean for millions of people.
“I am hopeful that we can unite on this issue – and I thank all the governments that have taken a stand by supporting our declaration and coming to London.
“This Summit is a model for a new way of working together. And this single issue is now a centre point.
“It is just the beginning. There are many crimes, abuses in all forms, that we must confront together.
“But let us begin here – and let us expand from here.”