Yesterday, nations around the world marked the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, recognizing that this scourge continues to be widespread throughout the world—from Ukraine, to Ethiopia, to Haiti, to Sudan, and beyond. The United States is committed to doing all we can to end this blatant abuse of human rights. That’s why, today, my Administration is issuing historic sanctions targeting actors who perpetrate this abuse—marking the first time that a dedicated focus on conflict-related sexual violence has led to the imposition of U.S. sanctions.
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. Last November, I issued a Presidential Memorandum to reinforce and strengthen our 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.
The United States stands in solidarity with survivors of sexual violence in conflict. And, together with our partners, we will continue to lead the effort to hold perpetrators accountable for this grave abuse of human rights.