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The worst weapon of war

Allison Johnson - Avaaz

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May 13, 2014

Dear friends,




Sexual violence is exploding in war zones and no one has been able to stop it -- until now. In days, world leaders will meet to devise a plan, but without massive public pressure this moment could die in the meeting room. That’s why the summit have invited Avaaz to show our leaders the world is watching -- sign now to stop the war zone rape epidemic:




13 year old Marie was at home with her mother when armed men stormed their village. She tried to run away, but was caught, taken into the bush and repeatedly raped for 8 endless months. Sexual violence has exploded around the world, and no one has been able to stop it -- until now. 


British Foreign Minister William Hague and Angelina Jolie have invited world leaders to a global summit to end rape as a weapon of war. We know what needs to happen -- soldiers need to be trained, survivors supported and perpetrators brought to justice. It’s a once in a generation opportunity, but without massive public pressure, our leaders could let this moment die in the meeting room. That’s why the hosts of the summit have asked the Avaaz community for help. 


We can help bring justice for survivors like Marie and scare off potential perpetrators from raping innocent girls. Sign now and share with your friends -- when we reach 1 million signers, Britain’s Foreign Minister William Hague will present the petition to other leaders at the summit:


In Bosnia, 30,000 women were raped during the war, but only 30 have been brought to justice for their part in this reign of terror. And there are similarly shocking statistics from Congo, South Sudan and almost every other war. But this global summit -- hosted by British Foreign Minister William Hague and actress and UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie -- could change this brutal legacy of violence forever.


Bringing perpetrators to justice is never easy. Survivors are often too traumatised to speak out, or too far from help. Governments in conflict zones are often not in control of their armies, and many soldiers and militias use rape as a deliberate weapon to terrorise the population. But this people-powered plan to shine a light on the actions of governments could be a game-changer, forcing real action to end the silence and impunity that frees armed men to rape at will. 


This is the best chance we’ve ever had to stop rape during conflict. But to work, every leader there needs to know that the world is watching -- and expects a real, concrete plan to be set into action right away. If 1 million of us sign, Hague will present our petition to his fellow participants -- and our community we will hold them to account by checking what progress they have made one year from now. Add your name now.


In campaign after campaign, our community has literally moved mountains and changed the course of history. But as wars wage, we can't be in villages and cities under siege to protect the women from these horrendous attacks. But we can come together in a massive push to make sure our governments act -- and promise to hold the vile perpetrators of these horrific crimes to account. 


With hope and determination,


Allison, Sam, Richard, Christoph, Alaphia, Sayeeda, Patri, Luis and the rest of the Avaaz team.


More information:


Jolie to seek end to sexual violence as war weapon at London summit (The Guardian)


Angelina Jolie and William Hague's mission on ending war zone rape just got real (The Telegraph)


Congo: We did whatever we wanted, says soldier who raped 53 women (The Guardian)


UN urges greater action to combat sexual violence in 21 conflict countries (UN News)


How  did rape become a weapon of war? (BBC)