In a keynote speech in the Webinar ‘Voices From Tigray: Conflict-Related Sexual Violence against Women in Tigray’ on 25 May 2021, Keynote speaker, Member of the European Parliament Assita Kanko, asked the international community to urgently respond to the conflict, and in particular to the harrowing reports of sexual violence. “It takes great courage for any woman to speak about her experience of rape or sexual assault, especially in traditional and conservative families and communities. Their bravery must be met by political bravery from Western democracies. The soldiers in Tigray may have tried to impose their control, but they can never take away these women’s strength.”
MEP Kanko called for coordinated and targeted action by the international community in the shape of pressure and sanctions. “President Biden, the G7, the UN, and the EU have all condemned and expressed concern over what is happening, but words are not enough to make the suffering of women stop. Condemnation is important, but it’s not enough to make families sleep soundly tonight in Tigray.”
“Every voice matters in urging the international community to act. We cannot waste another moment in trying to stop this crime against humanity. There is more than one way to commit genocide. Indeed, the damage of rape as a weapon of war, is as powerful as any gun or bomb, as the armies and authorities seek to silence these women and their communities. We, therefore, must lend them our voices, and those voices must be determined and loud.”
Other documentation related to this webinar can be found here.