ROME, May 30, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – What can the world do to end the use of rape and sexual violence in war-torn countries? That's the question the Vatican Radio's English Program and the British Embassy to the Holy See will discuss in a lead-up to the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, which will be taking place in London on June 10-13 .
This Tuesday, June 3, at 12 noon Rome time their panel discussion will be live streamed on Vatican Radio’s You Tube channel. The talk will focus on three main aspects of the global theme of ending sexual violence in conflict: the problem, progress in providing assistance to survivors, and prevention.
The panel discussion will explore the role of the Catholic networks, their knowledge and expertise in conflict zones, as well as hear the voices of religious women who are witnesses and who assist victims of violence, and will examine root causes as well as promote practical actions that impact those on the ground.
Vatican Radio’s Philippa Hitchen will moderate the discussion, with Seàn-Patrick Lovett producing the webcast.
The participants in the studio will be:
Nigel Baker, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Holy See;
Michel Roy, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis;
Sr. Elena Balani, Comboni Missionary Sister working in Makala, South Sudan; and
Sr. Victoria Chiharhula, MSOLA working in Congo.
The panel will be joined by Pádraic MacOireachtaigh, regional advocacy officer for Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), who will be web-connected from Burundi.
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Ambassador Baker said, “We are steadily building the global momentum needed to end the use of rape and sexual violence in conflict once and for all. These crimes have ruined the lives of millions of women, men and children in our lifetimes. As witnesses on the ground, supporting and assisting victims, the Catholic networks have a big role to play in this international effort.”
Michel Roy, Secretary General Caritas Internationalis, stated that the Catholic Church “provides medical assistance to the survivors of sexual violence in conflict, gives them shelter and counseling and confronts stigma. To the perpetrators, we must tell them to change their lives and to stop carrying out these heinous acts.”
“JRS community-based activities offer survivors of sexual violence space to rebuild their lives. Across the globe – from the remote hills of eastern Congo to urban areas of Colombia – we strive to build communities of hope. However, a more just future depends on the actions of governments needed to fund the provision of lifesaving medical and psychosocial services and enforce laws ensuring the perpetrators are held accountable for their crimes,” said Jesuit Refugee Service International Director, Peter Balleis, S.J.
Vatican Radio Director General Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., stated that, “We have to use every means of communication at our disposal in order to defend the most vulnerable, to give voice to those with no voice, and to increase awareness of our own responsibility in the face of suffering and violence.”
The London Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict will be co-chaired by the British Foreign Secretary William Hague and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Special Envoy Angelina Jolie.
Organizers say it will be the largest international gathering ever held on this issue. Over 1,200 delegates, including government officials, international organization representatives, civil society organizations and a broad range of domestic and international experts, are expected to attend the event in London.
The “End Sexual Violence in Conflict: #TimeToAct” webcast will be streamed live on Tuesday, June 3, at 12 noon Rome time, on Vatican Radio’s You Tube channel.
You may also follow @UKinHolySee and @news_va_en #TimeToAct for live tweets.