DLA Piper Hosts Panel Discussion on Rape as a Weapon in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Releases Report Detailing Campaign of Sexual Terror in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe

(Washington, D.C.) March 3, 2010 – New Perimeter, DLA Piper’s nonprofit affiliate, in cooperation with AIDS-Free World, today hosted a panel discussion on the use of rape as a political tool and a strategy of conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sara Andrews, DLA Piper’s New Perimeter Program Manager, moderated a panel of experts who discussed the pervasive problem of sexual violence in the region.

DLA Piper serves as primary pro bono counsel to AIDS-Free World in addressing politically motivated rape in Zimbabwe. A New Perimeter team of DLA Piper lawyers joined AIDS-Free World on four trips to southern Africa to document the human rights abuses, prepare a legal dossier and undertake legal research and analysis.

DLA Piper helped AIDS-Free World produce the report, “Electing to Rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.” Stephen Lewis, Co-Director of AIDS-Free World, detailed the results of the report which found that Zimbabwe’s ruling party committed a brutal, orchestrated campaign of rape and torture during the 2008 election to terrorize supporters of the opposition party.

“DLA Piper has been working closely with AIDS-Free World over the past year to document, publicize and combat politically-motivated human rights abuses against Zimbabwean women,” said Sheldon Krantz, DLA Piper Partner and New Perimeter Director. “Our goal is to raise awareness about the atrocities committed by Mugabe’s regime against women, to hold those accountable responsible and to ensure that these human rights violations will not continue.”

Today’s panel also provided insight on the urgent need for a U.S. government and international response to orchestrated campaigns of sexual violence, the significant impact on victimized women and the connection to Africa’s HIV/AIDS epidemic. Senator Tom Daschle, Senior Policy Advisor for DLA Piper, delivered the opening remarks and the panel also included:

• Senator Mel Martinez, former Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, and a partner at DLA Piper
• Anita Botti, Deputy Director of the Department of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issue
• Zainab Salbi, Founder and CEO of Women for Women International
• Ruth Mufute, Africare’s East and Anglophone West Africa Regional Director

“We will continue to work tirelessly to bring these grave human rights abuses to light,” said Andrews. “Awareness and accountability for these brutal crimes is especially critical as the ruling party is already gearing up for its next campaign of sexual terror as the next Zimbabwe election approaches.”

New Perimeter was established to provide pro bono legal support for projects of global concern. Through New Perimeter, lawyers from DLA Piper’s offices around the globe provide legal assistance on projects of vital importance. New Perimeter continues to assist AIDS-Free World with its important work by advising on advocacy and litigation strategies.

A full copy of the report is available at: http://www.dlapiper.com/files/upload/Zim_Report_Final.pdf.

About DLA Piper (www.dlapiper.com)
DLA Piper has 3,500 lawyers in 29 countries and 67 offices throughout the US, UK, Continental Europe, Middle East and Asia. In certain jurisdictions, this information may be considered attorney advertising.


Jason Costa, Media Relations, DLA Piper, 212.776.3739
Ashley Yahn, Media Relations, Greentarget, 312.252.4112

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