DFA Logo

This content from the
Department of Foreign Affairs
has moved to Ireland.ie/irish-aid. If you are not redirected in 5 seconds, click here.

Skip to main content

This content from the Department of Foreign Affairs has moved to Ireland.ie/irish-aid

Minister Costello calls for action at 'Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict'

Gender, News/feature, Africa, Ireland, Europe, Global, 2014


Minister Costello calls for action at 'Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict'

Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello TD is today attending a meeting seeking to end sexual violence in conflict situations. 

The 'Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict' takes place in London and is  co-hosted by William Hague, UK Foreign Secretary and Angelina Jolie, the Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. At the summit, representatives from around the world are discussing how to halt the use of rape and sexual violence in conflict zones.

Minister Costello also announced an additional €100,000 in funding for the Irish Consortium on Gender-Based Violence, which draws together Irish Aid; Irish humanitarian, development and human rights agencies, and the Irish Defence Forces to tackle gender-based violence.  


At the conference today Minister Costello said:

"Every day more cases of sexual gender based violence are reported in international media. The rape and murder of two girls in India, the targeted shooting of women in the US and the kidnapping of schoolgirls in Nigeria are just recent examples. Violence against women is a global challenge, affecting one in three women, and a manifestation of gross inequality and discrimination. It prevents women and girls from achieving their potential and perpetuates situations of poverty for individual women, their families and whole societies".

"Gender based violence is the most pervasive - yet least recognised - human right abuse in the world. It is now time to act. Women’s voices must be heard. We must translate our global commitments into concrete actions to ensure that women and girls can reach their full potential and live a life free from fear".

Preventing and responding to all forms of violence against women is an essential part of Ireland’s development cooperation programme, Irish Aid. Ireland’s policy on international development, One World, One Policy describes gender-based violence as “a major abuse of human rights, which can have serious impacts on women’s health, well-being and livelihoods".


Irish Aid is committed to tackling gender-based violence in our partner countries, including Uganda, Zambia, Timor Leste, South Africa, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Mozambique. This includes delivering healthcare, counselling and other services to survivors of gender based violence (GBV), developing and implementing legislation on GBV, engaging men in programmes to prevent GBV, and building awareness of the impact of this violence among communities.

Irish Aid is an active member of the Irish Consortium on Gender-Based Violence, which is a unique collaboration between Irish humanitarian, development and human rights agencies, and the Irish Defence Forces. The Consortium counts Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as patron.

The funding for the Consortium announced by Minister Costello will be used to  prevent and respond to gender based violence and promote a coherent and coordinated response to such violence.


Press Office

12 June 2014



Notes for editor

  • Rape is often used in emergency and conflict situations to terrorise the population, break up families, destroy communities, and, in some instances, change the ethnic make-up of the next generation.
  • Rape is sometimes also used to deliberately infect women with HIV or render women from the targeted community incapable of bearing children.
  • It is approximated that worldwide up to 70 per cent of women experience violence in their lifetime.
  • Women aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war and malaria, according to World Bank data
  • UN agencies estimate that more than 60,000 women were raped during the civil war in Sierra Leone (1991-2002), more than 40,000 in Liberia (1989-2003), up to 60,000 in the former Yugoslavia (1992-1995), and at least 200,000 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1998.
  • In the Democratic Republic of Congo approximately 1,100 rapes are reported each month, with an average of 36 women and girls raped every day. 
  • Between 250,000 and 500,000 women were raped during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
  • The Irish Consortium on Gender-Based Violence is a key forum for promoting international best practice in this area.
  • Minister Costello has announced funding of €100,000 across 2014 and 2015.