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This book is a product of a research project called ‘voices of youth’ carried out - page 118 / 125





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A Lost Generation: Young People and Conflict in Africa

need for actors to mobilize the political will through engaging effectively with key institutional branches of governments instead of remaining at the analysis level and lamenting the lack of political will. The experiences of young people documented in this book provide excellent arguments for mobilizing political will at local, national and international levels.

Breaking the silence on impunity for sexual violence

Article 11 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa urges States to protect asylum seeking women, refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons, against all forms of violence, rape and other forms of sexual exploitation, and also urges them to ensure that such acts are considered war crimes, genocide and/or crimes against humanity and that their perpetrators are brought to justice before a competent criminal jurisdiction (Betty Kaari Murungi, 2007). However, lessons from these testimonies show that sexual violence of girls and women in times of conflict are treated with impunity. In this book young girls have testified in their own words naming the sexual crimes committed against them but have not received justice. Justice is often overlooked in the peace negotiations and the re-building agenda in post conflict. Little regard is given for investigating or prosecuting sexual and gender based crimes both during and after conflicts. There are sufficient laws and mechanisms for holding perpetrators of sexual crimes accountable. Human rights and women’s rights activists and all those concerned about social injustice and gender injustice should hold African governments accountable for protecting victims of sexual violence and bringing to justice the perpetrators of such crimes. Regionally adopted norms and standards must be domesticated into national laws and practices and sufficient resources be allocated to enable justice to take place.

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