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Make sexual violence in war a crime

Press statement for immediate release

11 June, 2014.

Make sexual violence in war a crime

New Zealanders are being asked to join a global movement aimed at ending sexual violence in conflict zones.

“Genocide is a war crime. Torture is a war crime. We want to make clear sexual violence is also a war crime,” said the British High Commissioner to New Zealand Mrs Vicki Treadell.

Representatives from more than 100 governments, the Heads of eight UN agencies and nearly a thousand experts are currently meeting in London to launch the first ever International Protocol on how to document and investigate sexual violence in conflict.

New Zealand is represented by Justice Minister Judith Collins.

The Summit initiative is spear-headed by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Angelina Jolie.

A global-wide peoples’ movement in support of the Summit is now underway via social media channels.

“We are looking for support from individuals and groups to help end sexual violence in areas of conflict. Rape has been used as a weapon of war repeatedly in our lifetimes on every continent and in every major conflict. It has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with power and the desire to conquer and humiliate.

“New Zealanders can show their support for the Summit by using the hashtag #TimeToAct and @end_svc in their social media communications. Numbers will count!”

Mrs Treadell said a number of prominent New Zealanders had already shown their support for the Summit’s aims via social media channels and Twitter exchanges with her (@VickiTreadell).

Wellingtonians were also being asked to join a flash-mob event at Te Papa at 1pm on Thursday (12 June ).

“The event will last for one hour and you are all invited. This is a chance for individuals to show their support.”

The event will be filmed and shown during the Summit in London. “We will also be asking people to madly send messages via social media channels during the one hour period.

“We will be part of a global relay across 140 countries that started last night in Indonesia. A social media wave is also rolling across the globe with thousands voicing their support. It is our turn at 1pm tomorrow.”

Mrs Treadell said the event at Te Papa would run rain or shine. “If it’s wet, we will move indoors but the event will go on, so come and join us and make a stand.”

• An Op-ed page piece by William Hague and Angelina Jolie is attached and contains worthwhile background material.

• First-person accounts of the impact of sexual violence can be found on Twitter @end_sve or searches under #TimeToAct.

• Further material is on https://storify.com/foreignoffice/live-blog-end-sexual-violence-in-conflict-summit and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85Ld9P BfNw&feature=youtu.be

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