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MENG, WALTZ, FRANKEL AND HOULAHAN INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION AFFIRMING THE ROLE OF THE U.S. IN ELIMINATING SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN CONFLICT

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Washington, June 29, 2022 | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, and Reps. Michael Waltz (R-FL), Lois Frankel (D-FL) and Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) announced today that they introduced a bipartisan resolution affirming the role of the United States in eliminating sexual violence in conflict.

The resolution aims to call attention to the need to strengthen legal reforms and justice for all survivors of conflict-related sexual violence. It also seeks to recognize the need for all peace agreements to address conflict-related sexual violence and calls on the United States to ensure mechanisms to hold perpetrators of sexual violence accountable are included in peacebuilding resolutions, and that women participate fully in such peace processes in accordance with the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017. Additionally, the resolution would uplift and recognize the survivors of conflict-related sexual violence, and those working to support them, to ensure they are not forgotten.

Every year on June 19th, the international community marks the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict to raise awareness of the need to put an end to conflict-related sexual violence, to honor the victims and survivors, and to pay tribute to all those who have devoted their lives to standing up for the eradication of these crimes.

“We have long known that sexual violence has been used as a weapon of war during international crises,” said Rep. Meng. “Today, we have the resources and tools to prevent these unspeakable crimes from being committed, and to ensure that the perpetrators are held accountable. This resolution affirms the important role the United States plays in addressing conflict-related sexual violence, namely through our efforts to promote women’s participation in economic, civic, and security decision-making and peace processes. Eliminating sexual violence in conflict is a nonpartisan issue and I look forward to continuing to work across the aisle to find commonsense solutions to this crisis.”

“Fostering societies in which women feel safe from any form of violence is not only a human rights priority, but also a national security priority,” said Rep. Waltz. “The U.S. has a duty as a global leader to help protect vulnerable women and sexual assault survivors in conflict zones while working to hold perpetrators of these terrible crimes accountable.”

“Rape and other forms of sexual violence against women is an abhorrent war crime that continues to go unpunished,” said Rep. Frankel. “We have seen it in conflicts in Colombia, Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan and now in Ukraine. Perpetrators must be held accountable, and survivors must be protected.”

“The devastating truth is that where there is conflict, there is also sexual violence—and as a leader on the global stage, the United States has a responsibility to work towards eradicating this reprehensible reality for far too many women and girls,” said Rep. Houlahan. “We must use all available tools and levers to protect those most vulnerable in conflict, and I’m proud to join my colleagues in a bipartisan manner to reaffirm our commitment to ending sexual violence in conflict as not only a moral responsibility but also as a matter of national security.”

“The Women's Refugee Commission congratulates Representatives Grace Meng, Michael Waltz, Lois Frankel, and Chrissy Houlahan for introducing this bipartisan resolution affirming the role of the U.S. in eliminating sexual violence in conflict,” said Gayatri Patel, Vice President, Advocacy and External Relations for the Women's Refugee Commission. “It is particularly critical at this time, when we are witnessing ongoing sexual and gender-based violence against women, girls, and other marginalized people in conflicts from Ukraine to Ethiopia, from Syria to Myanmar and beyond. The United States should be unequivocal in calling out any form of gender-based violence in crisis settings and standing up for survivors’ rights and needs.”

“As a child-focused organization, World Vision has seen firsthand how violence can undermine every other investment in children,” said Lisa Bos, Senior Director of Government Relations at World Vision. “As women and children are increasingly living in conflict settings, their exposure to trauma including sexual violence has also increased. As Christians, we are compelled to act when the dignity and value of women and girls are violated. We applaud the introduction of this resolution to not only call attention to this issue and the need to prevent conflict-related sexual violence, but also to push for greater support to uphold the rights of women and girls who have been victims.” 

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