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U.S. moves to protect females from sexual violence during wars, other world emergencies

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States government announced Monday that up to $10 million in funding would be spent on a new U.S. initiative called “Safe from the Start” to prevent and respond to gender-based violence in humanitarian emergencies worldwide.

The initial commitment of $10 million will allow the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and other humanitarian agencies and organizations to hire specialized staff, launch new programs, and develop innovative methods to protect women and girls at the onset of emergencies around the world. The United States will also coordinate with other donors and stakeholders to develop a framework for action and accountability to ensure efforts to address gender-based violence are routinely prioritized as a life-saving intervention along with other vital humanitarian assistance.

Secretary of State John Kerry emphasized that in the face of conflict and disaster, “we should strive to protect women and girls from sexual assault and other violence.”

Safe from the Start builds on the framework established by the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security and the U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally. It will be led by the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau of Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance.

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