Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Stop Rape Now! UNDP official speaks out

On July 17th, Kathleen Cravero, Director of the UN Development Program's Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery spoke to the Women's Foreign Policy Group. An excerpt from Ms. Cravero's remarks is below:

The first-recorded international war crimes trial – for “conduct unbecoming a knight” – took place in 1474. The charge included rape, and the penalty was death. Yet it was just last month–over 600 years later – that the United Nations Security Council explicitly recognized war-time rape as a security issue that warrants a security response.

Thus we are meeting at a historically optimistic moment. A moment when mass rape has, at last, graduated from a humanitarian issue to a foreign policy priority. To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “the arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice”. And that’s what I would like to outline today: how the international community in general – and women in particular – have helped bend history. How we have navigated the long arc from advocacy to action, and where it leads us now. Because now more than ever – with women increasingly the targets of war – it is essential to take stock of the milestones and roadblocks we’ve faced, and to chart a course for the future.

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