President Joe Biden has announced new steps to combat sexual violence in conflict zones around the world. In a statement released on the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, President Biden acknowledged that this scourge continues to be widespread throughout the world, from Ukraine to Ethiopia, to Haiti, to Sudan, and beyond. He reiterated the United States’ commitment to doing all it can to end this blatant abuse of human rights, and announced that his Administration would be issuing historic sanctions targeting actors who perpetrate this abuse.

“Ending gender-based violence, wherever it occurs, and supporting survivors has been a high priority for me – as a Senator, Vice President, and since day one of my Administration,” Biden said in a statement provided to PoliticusUSA.

This marks the first time that a dedicated focus on conflict-related sexual violence has led to the imposition of U.S. sanctions.

In November 2020, President Biden issued a Presidential Memorandum to reinforce and strengthen the government’s use of financial, diplomatic, and legal tools to address conflict-related sexual violence. The sanctions issued today build off of this Memorandum and designate two political and military targets from South Sudan who oversaw the rape and murder of civilians during the civil war, and two ISIS terrorists responsible for the brutal rape and torture of Yazidi women and girls.

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The President affirmed that the United States stands in solidarity with survivors of sexual violence in conflict and, together with its partners, will continue to lead the effort to hold perpetrators accountable for this grave abuse of human rights. This announcement is a significant step in the right direction toward ending sexual violence in conflict zones and ensuring justice for survivors.


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