Thursday 21 October 2021 - 7:40:21 pm

UAE joins global effort to combat sexual violence in conflict zones

LONDON, 12th June, 2014 (WAM)--The third day of the Global Summit on Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict, hosted by the UK Government, concluded today in London. Reem Al Hashimy, U.A.E. Minister of State headed the U.A.E. s delegation to the conference.

More than 1,200 international delegates, including heads of state, heads of government and senior ministers have flown into London for the landmark Global Summit on Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict, which runs from 10 to 13 June. Representatives of civil society, NGOs, the military, the judiciary, the private sector and a host of U.N. agencies are also taking part.

The Summit is the largest gathering ever held on this issue, and is being co-chaired by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

The four-day summit aims to turn pledges into practical action on the ground to protect women, girls, men and boys from sexual attacks, to discuss how to improve and standardise the investigation of large scale sexual violence in wartime, and to bring an end to a culture of impunity that has severely limited prosecutions up to now.

Welcoming this summit, Al Hashimy said, "The occurrence of rape and other forms of sexual violence in conflict is a crime that affects people in the most horrific and enduring manner. The UAE hopes that all governments will unite behind the goals of this initiative and speak with one voice to express our contempt for these crimes and our common determination to hold the perpetrators accountable." The global Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative, which was launched by William Hague and Angelina Jolie in 2012. The U.A.E. s Foreign Minister, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is a Global Champion of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative. The U.A.E. is also one of the 148 countries to have signed a "Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict", which commits those endorsing the declaration to taking action on ending sexual violence in conflict.

Another key aim of the conference is more support for victims of sexual assault to tackle the short and long-term legacy of conflicts and violence in countries such as Bosnia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia.

The U.A.E. recently committed $1.5 million, jointly with the United Kingdom, to support the Government of Somalia s efforts to combat sexual violence in conflict.

Speaking at the conference, where she co-chaired a ministerial session focused on Somalia with William Hague, Al Hashimy commended the Federal Government of Somalia for making significant efforts to tackle sexual violence. "We are impressed with the commitment shown by the Government of Somalia to eradicate this heinous crime, and we look forward to working closely with them and other partners to support the implementation of the action plan on ending sexual violence in conflict that was just presented by the Government of Somalia at this conference." Al Hashimy also announced that the U.A.E. will commit an additional $1million to support the work of the U.N. on strengthening the capacity of affected countries to address this issue. She noted, however, that efforts to address sexual violence in conflict must be part of a comprehensive strategy to empower women and girls to participate fully in all aspects of society.

"The U.A.E. is proud to be part of this effort and we will continue to support international efforts aimed at providing support for survivors, improving evidence gathering and ensuring accountability for the perpetrators", the Minister said.