International Peacekeeping

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th February 2018.

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Photo of Jess Phillips Jess Phillips Labour, Birmingham, Yardley 12:00 am, 20th February 2018

What steps he is taking to support international peacekeeping efforts.

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Joint with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

The UK champions peacekeeping financially, politically and militarily. Since 2015, we have more than doubled our commitment to UN peacekeeping, with British forces deploying to South Sudan and Somalia. There are now more than 700 UK personnel deployed on eight UN peacekeeping missions in seven countries.

Photo of Jess Phillips Jess Phillips Labour, Birmingham, Yardley

In the light of ongoing reports of sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers, does the Minister agree that increasing the number of women peacekeepers is a vital part of addressing the crisis in the long term? Will she also tell us the proportion of peacekeepers from the UK who are women and what plans she has to increase their representation on UN deployments?

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Joint with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

I appreciate the hon. Lady’s leadership on the issue and her work on all aspects of it. I think that she will admire the leadership role that the UK has played not only in putting the subject on the UN’s agenda last year, but with the our Prime Minister’s appointment to the Secretary-General’s Circle of Leadership. I assure her that we will continue to champion that agenda at every opportunity.

On the topic that the hon. Lady raised about women from our armed forces, she will know about the impressive agenda that includes the Armed Forces (Flexible Working) Act 2018, and that we are aiming to increase the proportion of women from 11% to 15%.