Armed Conflict: Sexual Offences

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 22nd July 2014.

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Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt Conservative, North East Bedfordshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the outcomes were of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Photo of Mark Simmonds Mark Simmonds The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The Global Summit had two primary objectives: to agree practical action to tackle impunity for the use of rape as a weapon of war, and to begin to change global attitudes to these crimes. The Summit set in motion a series of unprecedented practical steps and commitments. In addition, it significantly raised the profile of this issue and placed it firmly on the international policy agenda.

During the Summit we launched the first ever International Protocol on how to document and investigate sexual violence in conflict as a means of overcoming one of the key barriers to prosecutions of these crimes and announced an ambitious plan to implement the Protocol. The Secretary of State announced £6 million in new UK funding to support survivors of rape, and the United States, Bahrain, Australia, Japan and others including European partners also made new pledges. The African Union announced a pilot project in the Central African Republic to respond to the urgent needs of victims of sexual violence, supported by the UK and Japan. In addition the Somali Government launched a new action plan, supported by the UN and the international community, for addressing sexual violence, which has blighted the lives of thousands there.

Within the Summit we convened a special meeting on security in Nigeria, where violence against women and girls is a particular concern among the wider impact of Boko Haram. We agreed that a Regional Intelligence Fusion Unit should be made operational immediately. The countries of the region also agreed rapidly to implement joint or coordinated patrols along their borders and Cameroon committed to add a battalion to that regional task force. The UK, US and France pledged to support of these regional efforts. We announced a separate package of support for Nigeria including: increased tactical training for the Nigerian army, assistance to regional security and intelligence cooperation, and a joint UK/US educational programme to educate an additional 1 million children in Nigeria. All the parties present also agreed on the need for UN sanctions against Boko Haram’s leadership and Ansaru, another dangerous terrorist organisation. Both were listed by the UN Security Council’s Al Qaida Sanctions Committee on 26 June.

Finally, states and delegates at the Summit joined together to sign a Statement of Action, uniting Governments, UN Agencies, civil society, experts and survivors with a shared determination to tackle these issues.

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