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International Humanitarian Law: Protecting Civilians in Conflict — [Mr Peter Bone in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:41 am on 18th June 2019.

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Photo of Mark Field Mark Field Minister of State 10:41 am, 18th June 2019

I think the hon. Gentleman has a supporter in Tom Brake.

The hon. Member for West Dunbartonshire made a good point about recognising issues around disability, children and other groups. We do not want simply to look upon civilians as a single group, and part of what we are trying to achieve here is focused on what I think is a public demand on all these matters.

Our approach to the review embraces a cross-Whitehall consultation, as proposed by the right hon. Member for Cynon Valley, as well as consultations with civil society—we have made reference to Save the Children, but a number of other charities will play an important part in the review. When completed, we hope it will contain an agreed Government-wide position that will take account of all Government Departments.

To demonstrate what that means in practice, I will focus on three main areas: our international engagement, our work on international peacekeeping, and our domestic activity to promote and uphold international humanitarian law. On the international stage, as a number of hon. Members have pointed out, our permanent seat on the UN Security Council bestows on us an important responsibility to protect civilians and uphold IHL, whenever and wherever international peace and security are under threat. We have not shied away from those responsibilities.