London, United Kingdom

11 June 2014

Secretary-General's video message on ending sexual violence [London, 11-13 June 2014; first aired in Zagreb, 29 May, 2014]

Let me begin by expressing condolences to all those affected by the devastating floods in your region.

I thank you for supporting a major UN goal: ending sexual violence in conflict. I commend all leaders and activists engaged on this issue.

Rape is a cruel weapon of war that is as devastating as any bullet and as destructive as any bomb.

It ravages victims and their families. It destroys communities.  It undermines security, reconciliation and development.

Sexual violence in conflict has been called the world’s oldest and least-condemned crime. Now we must reject the excuse that rape in wartime is inevitable. It can be stopped.

The United Nations is working to stamp out sexual violence in conflict while supporting victims.

Political will is growing. Governments, communities, activists and survivors are standing up to say enough is enough. I join them in declaring that the bodies of innocent people should never be used as battlegrounds.

We have an international legal framework to hold accountable all those who commit, command or condone these crimes.

We must use these tools and turn pledges into actions.

We must also ensure that survivors receive health care, services and reparations to rebuild their lives. We must support communities in their struggle to heal and create a better future.

Let us work together to realize the great vision of a world free of sexual violence in conflict.