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in brief: us no longer to grant visas for war rapists

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US Secretary of State John Kerry announced last Tuesday that the United States will ban any perpetrators of sexual violence from obtaining US visas.

The ban was announced during discussions on sexual violence in war zones. As part of these talks, Secretary Kerry met with British Foreign Minister William Hague, the US Ambassador at large for Global Women’s Issues Cathy Russell and the United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab H Bangura.

Kerry said that the visa ban is intended to ensure that perpetrators of these kinds of sexual violence would be forced to face the consequences of their actions.

‘We haven’t sent yet an embassy-wide message, which I am sending today, that no one, and I mean no one, at the highest level of military or governance who has presided over or engaged in or knew of or conducted these kinds of attacks is ever going to receive a visa to travel into the United States of America from this day forward,’ Kerry said. ‘We’re not going to allow that.’

A US State Department spokesman has since clarified Kerry’s remarks, referring to them as ’guidance’ rather than a new policy. The Department stated that the comments were aimed to implement the 2011 proclamation by President Barack Obama which banned individuals who had committed ‘serious human rights abuses’ or violations of international humanitarian law from entering the US.

According to early reports, the US State Department was unable to provide specifics as to how embassies would evaluate any allegations against visa applicants, nor any other procedural details that might be implemented.

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