Leymah Gbowee Raps On Sexual Violence At Int’l Forum

By Melissa Chea-Annan

Nobel Peace laureate, Leymah Gbowee, says ‘Sexual Violence’ is no longer a violence of war but rather a toy for those who are involved into such act.

The Nobel Peace laureate who spoke in an interview with Aljazeera on Wednesday, after the opening session of the ‘Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict’ in London, pointed out that Liberia still has a serious problem with ‘Sexual Violence’ and it will continue for a longer time as long as the justice system is not strengthened.

Madam Gbowee said that it is important that Governments around the world take action and ensure equal justice to bring perpetrators of sexual violence to justice.

She recalled that sexual violence in conflict destroys lives and damages communities, and so the Government needs to put measures into place to prevent the act. She reiterated that sexual violence will continue to show itself as long as there is unequal justice.

The Foreign Secretary and Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, are co-chairing the Global Summit to ‘End Sexual Violence in Conflict at ExCel London’.

This is the largest gathering ever brought together on the subject, with a view to creating irreversible momentum against sexual violence in conflict and practical action that impacts those on the ground.

The actress and UN special envoy Angelina Jolie said a four-day summit on ending sexual violence during war must send a message that there is no disgrace in being a victim.

The American actress said, “We need to shatter that culture of impunity and make justice the norm, not the exception, for these crimes.”

She said she wanted to dedicate the conference to a rape victim she recently interviewed in Bosnia, who felt so humiliated by what had happened to her that she could not even tell her own son.

“She felt that having had no justice for her particular crime, in her particular situation, and having seen the actual man who raped her on the streets free, she really felt abandoned by the world,” Ms Jolie said. “This day is for her.”

Ms Jolie was speaking alongside British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who is co-hosting the London summit with her.

At the opening session, Mr. Hague said, “From the abolition of slavery to the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty, we have shown that the international community can tackle vast global problems in a way that was once considered to be impossible”.

According to him, there is power in numbers, and if they unite behind this cause, they can create an unstoppable momentum and consign this vile abuse to history.

Mr. Hague is expected to also host a security meeting today. The meeting will focus on Boko Haram, a militant Islamist group in Nigeria and ministers from Nigeria and neighboring countries are expected to attend.

Suspected Boko Haram militants abducted at least 20 women in northern Nigeria last week. More than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped by the same group on 14 April.

Mr. Hague said rape was one of the “greatest massive crimes” of modern times.

He called on the more than 140 nations at the summit to write action against sexual violence into their army training.

The London Summit aims to launch a new international protocol for documenting and investigating sexual violence in conflict, and encourage countries to strengthen domestic laws to enable prosecutions.

The Summit will urge countries to train all soldiers and peacekeepers to prevent sexual violence, increase funding to support survivors of sexual violence and change attitudes towards rape in conflict.