Press release

UK continues to lead on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict

Baroness Anelay announced new steps to build on the first five years of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative.

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At an event in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, Baroness Anelay, announced new steps to build on the first five years of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI).

Baroness Anelay announced that the UK intends to host a meeting in 2019 to review commitments made at the 2014 London Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, and to galvanise further international action.

The Minister also launched the second edition of the International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict, a practical tool for experts working in the field to try to gather evidence of crimes and enable future prosecutions. The new version of the Protocol has a stronger focus on dealing with trauma, evidence analysis, and support to child and male survivors.

The Minister was joined by seven additional speakers during the event:

  • The Rt Hon. Lord Hague of Richmond
  • UNHCR Special Envoy, Angelina Jolie DCMG
  • General Sir Gordon Messenger, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff
  • The Rt Hon. Lord Bates, Minister of State, DFID
  • Former President of Kosovo, Ms Atifete Jahjaga
  • Charlotte Lindsey-Curtet, Director of Communication and Information Management, International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Angela Atim, Co-Director, Watye Ki Gen

Baroness Anelay said:

I am proud of what we have achieved through PSVI in the last five years. We have trained over 17,000 military and police personnel on sexual violence issues; deployed expertise to conflict-affected countries around the world and supported survivors and NGOs with over £35 million in UK funding. We are determined to build on this. There is no alternative to a painstaking, long-term effort to erode the culture of impunity for conflict-related sexual violence and the UK government is proud to play its part in tackling these terrible crimes.

Rt Hon. Lord Hague of Richmond said:

The work of everyone involved with the Prevention of Sexual Violence Initiative shows it is possible to make progress in combating terrible crimes. But the events of recent years in many conflict zones have also shown that it is vital to continue and step up this work.

UNHCR Special Envoy, Angelina Jolie DCMG, said:

All of us involved in PSVI are proud of the work so far, but with much more to do we are very focussed on the next steps: taking the tools that have been developed into the field to help document crimes and support prosecutions, working with militaries to change doctrine and training, and pushing for the implementation of laws to protect the very vulnerable victims.

Notes for Editors

  • In 2012, the-then Foreign Secretary The Rt Hon. Lord Hague of Richmond and the UN Special Envoy of the High Commissioner for Refugees, Angelina Jolie DCMG founded the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI).
  • In 2013, the UK used its Presidency of the Group of Eight (G8) to bring this issue to the attention of the international community, making a commitment to drive forward the Initiative and encourage others to do the same. By April 2013, G8 Foreign Ministers had adopted the Declaration on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict. The Declaration now has 156 signatories.
  • During the UK’s Presidency of the UN Security Council in 2013, UN resolution 2106 was adopted by the Council. This was the first resolution on sexual violence in three years, and was co-sponsored by 46 UN member states. This resolution includes a number of actions aimed at improving the UN response to sexual violence in conflict.
  • In 2014 the UK hosted the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. The Summit brought together over 123 country delegations, 1700 delegates, over 100 representatives from civil society and international organisations, and more than 900 experts on sexual violence issues.
  • The Summit also saw the launch of first edition of the International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict, a practical guide to investigating and collecting evidence to help bring perpetrators of sexual violence to account.
  • Baroness Anelay was appointed the Prime Minister’s Special Representative (PMSR) on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict in June 2015. She works with governments, the UN and other international organisations, and civil society to: strengthen accountability and tackle impunity; provide greater support for survivors; ensure gender equality is fully integrated in all peace and security efforts; and deliver a more effective multilateral response to crimes of sexual violence in conflict.
  • The second version of the International Protocol will be launched at today’s event. It contains a number of additions, including guidance on the specific challenges and techniques required for interviewing and documenting conflict and atrocity-related sexual violence against children and male victims; further guidance on trauma; and a focus on analysing evidence and establishing patterns of violations.
  • In 2015 and 2016 the PSVI focused on in-country delivery. We have funded, and supported, a number of projects across the world aimed at supporting survivors, training military and police personnel, and bringing perpetrators of sexual violence to account. The primary focus of the PSVI in 2016/2017 is tackling the stigma that many survivors face. Often survivors are ostracised from their communities, shunned by their families and cut off from critical support networks.
  • Throughout 2016 we held a series of workshops in countries including Burma, Colombia, Iraq, Kosovo, Nepal, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Uganda. These brought together survivors, experts, local governments, civil society, media and faith groups to identify and understand some of the issues associated with tackling stigma.
  • The UK government has also provided financial support to projects aimed at tackling stigma in Colombia, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Somalia, the DRC, South Sudan and Uganda. These projects have helped identify the political, social and economic consequences of the stigma that survivors and victims of sexual violence suffer.
  • We are developing a set of principles and recommendations that will help inform the work of other donor governments and the international community in tackling the stigma suffered by many survivors. This document, the ‘Principles for Global Action’, will be launched by Baroness Anelay at the United Nations in September 2017.
  • You can find out more about the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative and our current campaign by visiting our website.

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Published 13 March 2017