Senators point to rape and sexual assault by government representatives in Burma, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Colombia, South Sudan, and Republic of Congo


Washington (July 13, 2018) –Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin urging the agencies to use all the tools at their disposal to address the issue of sexual and gender-based violence in conflict zones. In the letter, the Senators call for highlighting the issue in the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and imposing sanctions on perpetrators, especially those individuals in positions of command or authority who knew or should have known that their subordinates were committing sexual violence and failed to take adequate steps to prevent the crimes or punish those responsible. The Senators call on the State and Treasury Departments to impose sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act.


“Sexual and gender-based violence is not only a horrible abuse, but in the context of conflict it is a tool of terror used to undermine peace and security,” write the Senators in their letter. “The United States has always stood as a leader on human rights, but can do more to draw attending to sexual and gender-based violence in conflict zones, help protect victims, and end impunity for perpetrators.” 


A copy of the Senators’ letter can be found HERE.