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Reaffirming the U.S. Government’s Commitment to Preventing and Responding to Conflict-Related Sexual Violence | Fact Sheet | U.S. Agency for International Development

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The United States is committed to preventing and responding to all forms of gender-based violence globally, including conflict-related sexual violence. During the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (GBV), the United States elevated its global commitments through the Presidential Memorandum on Promoting Accountability for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence and the U.S. government’s participation in the U.K.-hosted Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) International Conference this week. 

The conference showcased progress made over the last decade since the United Kingdom’s inaugural Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in 2014, and secured commitments to action from the international community. Jennifer Klein, Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Gender Policy Council, led the delegation that included Jamille Bigio, USAID Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in the Office of the Administrator, and Claire Russo, Senior Advisor, Women, Peace, and Security in USAID’s Bureau for Conflict Prevention and Stabilization, and announced U.S. commitments to prevent and respond to conflict-related sexual violence, which include: 

  • Issuing a Presidential Memorandum on Promoting Accountability for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence, which commits the U.S. government to fully exercising existing authorities to promote justice and accountability for acts of conflict-related sexual violence, devoting the necessary resources for reporting on conflict-related sexual violence incidents and training on gender-based violence issues, and broadening engagement with partners to encourage establishment and use of their own tools to promote justice and accountability. 

  • Prioritizing GBV prevention and response, including through the expansion of the United States’ flagship Safe from the Start initiative, launched in 2013 and implemented by USAID and the Department of State, that ensures GBV prevention and response programming is life-saving and essential from the onset of every humanitarian response. The United States is launching an update to the initiative – Safe from the Start ReVisioned – which represents an effort to build on progress toward ensuring that all individuals, specifically women and girls, are free from all forms and threats of GBV in emergencies. To achieve this, Safe from the Start ReVisioned seeks to prioritize, integrate, and coordinate GBV prevention, mitigation, and response from the outset of all types of crises, and shift funding, influence, and decision-making power to women and girls across humanitarian responses globally. In addition, Safe from the Start ReVisioned will have a new focus on increasing representation and leadership of women and girls in humanitarian systems and in the delivery of humanitarian aid.

  • Investing more than $243 million in programming in FY 2021 designed to empower and protect women and girls in countries affected by crisis, conflict, violent extremism, and natural disasters. Activities included critical health care, psychosocial support, legal aid, and economic services to more than 5.3 million GBV survivors – from improving access to justice and security for GBV survivors in Somalia, to facilitating women’s participation in formal and informal peacebuilding-related institutions.

USAID has dedicated over $113 million to GBV prevention and response humanitarian assistance programs worldwide in the last fiscal year, supporting more than 3.7 million people in over 40 countries with psychosocial support, case management, and health care for GBV survivors, as well as community-based prevention measures, such as safe spaces for women and girls.

USAID recognizes the importance of the close overlap between policies related to atrocity prevention and to GBV and conflict-related sexual violence. The Agency recognizes that GBV can have a disproportionate impact in certain atrocity contexts and acknowledges that conflict-related sexual violence can constitute both an atrocity crime in itself and an early warning sign for future atrocities.

The U.S. government is committed to integrating attention to gender equity and equality across U.S. assistance, including through implementation of the U.S. National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality; U.S. Women, Peace, and Security Strategy; U.S. Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability; and the U.S. Strategy to Anticipate, Prevent and Respond to Atrocities; to reduce the risks of GBV, conflict-related sexual violence, and ultimately prevent these atrocious acts. The forthcoming update to the U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally advances our vision of incorporating GBV risks, prevention, and response as part of U.S. efforts to promote peace, security, and democracy around the world.

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