Between Obama, Iran and Syria, there's been a lot of news out of the United Nations General Assembly this week, so you'd be forgiven if you missed this bit: 119 countries have signed on to a declaration to end sexual violence in conflict. That's more than half of the UN member states, and includes conflict afflicted countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, the Republic of Congo and South Sudan, as well as large donor nations like the U.S., U.K., France and Germany.
The declaration, spearheaded by the U.K.'s Foreign Secretary William Hague, calls for added funding for sexual violence prevention and response efforts, improved medical and psychological care for survivors, increased regional coordination to prevent and respond to rape in war, enhanced support for conflict-affected states, among other measures.
Though, sadly, no declaration could possibly end all instances of rape being used as a weapon of war, the declaration is an important step and any effort to raise awareness and investment in prevention programs is a win for women worldwide, especially in light of the horrific stories we've heard recently from Syria, Egypt, and the Congo. "When the history books are written, they will say that this is the date, time, and place when countries came together to stop this crime," said Zainab Bangura, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.
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