Sahel: Violence

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered at on 9 November 2020.

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Photo of Lord Pendry Lord Pendry Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the governments in the Sahel region about (1) addressing the Central Sahel crisis, and (2) prioritising efforts to address gender-based violence.

Photo of Baroness Sugg Baroness Sugg Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK is deeply concerned about the deteriorating security situation and humanitarian crisis in the Sahel. We are committed to working with the G5 Sahel countries and international partners to build long-term peace and stability, protect civilians and ensure our humanitarian support is able to reach those most in need. We have raised concerns about the escalating violence and allegations of human rights violations at the UN Security Council and in the region. We have called for all parties to respect human rights and international humanitarian law, and have urged G5 governments to ensure those responsible are brought to justice. The Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, attended the first meeting of the Sahel Alliance General Assembly and the sixth Summit of the G5 Leaders in Mauritania on 25 February 2020. At the meetings, the Minister reaffirmed the UK's efforts to improve security and encourage development in the Sahel.

We advocate regularly for a humanitarian response that protects those affected by conflict and violence, including women and girls. On 15 October 2020, the UK co-hosted a side event with the Norwegian Refugee Council and OCHA, calling for strengthened civilian-military coordination to improve humanitarian access in the region. This was followed by a Ministerial Roundtable, including G5 governments, on 20 October 2020 where the Prime Minister's Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict and Minister of State, Lord Ahmad, announced an additional £8 million for the UK's humanitarian programme in the Sahel. Through our leadership on gender in the Sahel Alliance, we work collectively with other donors to increase the impact of investments on gender equality, and to encourage G5 governments to protect the fundamental rights of women and girls.

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