Statement by ministers of Foreign Affairs, National Defence, and International Development and La Francophonie on International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict


June 19, 2018 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, and the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, today issued the following statement:

“Today, we honour all survivors and victims of sexual violence in conflict, including those who endure the overwhelming majority of such abuse: women and girls.

“Inspired by the courage and resilience of all who have suffered, we call for the perpetrators of these abhorrent crimes to be prosecuted to the full extent under international law. There can be no impunity for such despicable conduct. Not for soldiers. Not for civilians. Not for those sent to keep the peace and provide assistance.

“With a Feminist International Assistance Policy and a National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security that commit to addressing the unacceptably high rates of sexual and gender-based violence experienced by women and girls, Canada is dedicated to the pursuit of justice and accountability on their behalf.

“In recent months, we have seen evidence in Syria of the widespread use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war. We have heard reports in Myanmar of military personnel and members of security forces and militias using similar tactics to brutalize and dehumanize the Rohingya. And we have learned that reasonable grounds exist to believe that crimes against humanity, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, have been committed in Venezuela.

“On International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, and every day, we condemn those who so terrorize peaceful civilian populations. These atrocities must end. Justice must be done. And we, along with the international community, must mobilize to say: enough.”


Adam Austen
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Byrne Furlong
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of National Defence

Justine Lesage
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development and
La Francophonie

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