Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict: Closing remarks by UN Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees
For me, as I suspect for many of you, this Summit has been an emotional experience.
We have all come together, based on a common desire to end warzone sexual violence, and mapped out every area of action we need to take.
There is no doubt, after these four days, that we know what to do:
We need to entrench the international protocol, so that we begin to deter these crimes and end impunity.
We need to put survivors in the forefront of our efforts – not as victims, but as inspiring and resilient people who can guide us to the right choices and decisions.
We need to pool our expertise and close the gaps in our laws and capabilities.
I thank everyone who has played a part and shared their wisdom, from Presidents to practitioners in the field.
But our work is just beginning.
The test we now face is whether we can make a difference on the ground.
And we need to act urgently.
There are thousands of people living in the shadow of sexual violence at this very moment.
There are conflicts where rape is openly incited.
Young lives are being ruined by sexual violence in in Syria, South Sudan and Central African Republic, as we gather here, as we speak.
For people in those countries, the actions we have promised cannot come soon enough.
For them, shattering impunity must begin now.
I hope that all of us, having met survivors here, will understand the true urgency of this situation.
We can never again plead ignorance – we know what is at stake – and we must work to end impunity in those conflicts now.
For this to happen, warzone rape must remain at the top of the international agenda – at the Security Council, in regional bodies, and in the foreign policy of each of the countries gathered here today.
Whether or not that happens is down to us.
Now that we have taken up our responsibility, we must never put it down again.
I have been inspired by the number of male leaders who have shown that they are now proud to champion this cause.
My message to you, is please do not go silent.
Raise your voices, and use your influence to inspire the next generation of men to value and honour women.
I leave this Summit inspired, and full of resolve for the future.
We will not succeed in eradicating warzone rape overnight.
But if we bring together all of our efforts;
If we can share what we have learned and inspire others to join us;
If we can keep in the front of our minds each of the survivors that we have met here;
And think of all the activists and doctors who are returning not to comfortable offices but to the frontlines of this struggle;
Then I know that we will find the strength to stay the course for the future – and that we can and will end impunity.
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