Rape as a Weapon of War in Ukraine

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:32 am on 31st March 2022.

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Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) 10:32 am, 31st March 2022

I thank my hon. Friend for this question, and for pointing out the incredible importance of our work on preventing sexual violence in conflict. Indeed, the UK is a world leader on this issue. The UK has committed over £50 million since the launch of the preventing sexual violence in conflict initiative in 2012. We have funded more than 85 projects in 29 countries to respond to conflict-related sexual violence. We have trained 17,000 police and military personnel, and deployed UK experts over 90 times since 2012. That has helped to build the capacity of the UN and non-governmental organisations in countries such as Ethiopia, Mali, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Uganda.

It is incredibly important that women—it can be men as well as women—who have suffered sexual violence are supported. As hon. Members know, we have put considerable funding into the humanitarian situation in both Ukraine and neighbouring countries. We are supporting internal efforts to investigate violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Ukraine, including the ICC investigation, as I have said. On 4 March, the Metropolitan police operationalised its war crimes division. That is helping to collect evidence from those who have come to the UK, which will support the ICC. Our energy and assistance resources are targeted on supporting the work of the ICC on war crimes, rather than trying to build a new tribunal, because that could take many years, but other countries are doing things similar to the Met police’s operations.