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Samura, Zainab Bangura on Global Summit on sexual violence

Samura, Zainab Bangura on Global Summit on sexual violence

Sierra Leone’s Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation minister has said the global summit in London on sexual violence and rape was a major success.

Dr. Samura Kamara was among ministers and representatives from about 117 countries in the world and it was attended by some of the world’s most renowned political figures and social commentators including the British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who co-hosted the summit alongside film star Angelina Jolie and the UN’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict Sierra Leonean born Zainab Hawa Bangura, among others.

The Global Summit to end sexual violence in conflict opened on Wednesday this week and also attracted scores of UN and aid agencies, civil society organisations, survivors and nearly 2,000 delegates from around the world.

The Foreign Minister said Sierra Leone was a reference point in the summit and was proud to be part of the global summit.

The British Foreign Secretary said: “for decades – if not centuries – there has been a near-total absence of justice for survivors of rape and sexual violence in conflict. We hope this protocol will be part of a new global effort to shatter this culture of impunity, helping survivors and deterring people from committing these crimes in the first place.”

Zainab Bangura, the UN’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, said conflict-related rape was no longer considered “a marginal issue, an inevitable by-product of war or mere collateral damage. It can no longer be amnestied or pardoned as the price of peace. It cannot be dismissed … as a private matter. And the countless women, girls, men and boys affected can no longer be deemed second-class victims of a second-class crime.”

Bangura made reference to her country where such practices were common in the civil war of Sierra Leone adding that “the scars that remain beneath the surface of society make peace less possible. The summit therefore was to write the last chapter in the history of wartime rape and to close the books once and for all on humanity’s tolerance for such inhumanity.”

To survivors, she said: “Your voices are being heard. Wartime rape is now among the greatest global security priorities of our time.” To perpetrators: “We will pursue with every means at our disposal. There will no hiding place and no safe haven. Sooner or later, we will get you … This is not mission impossible.”

Sierra Leone’s Minister of Defence Paolo Conteh, was also in attendance at the global summit.

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