Tigray: Armed Conflict

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 27th May 2021.

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Photo of Pauline Latham Pauline Latham Conservative, Mid Derbyshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking with his international counterparts to report any evidence of sexual violence in Tigray to relevant international justice mechanisms.

Photo of James Duddridge James Duddridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK is appalled by reports of atrocities including widespread rape and other forms of sexual violence perpetrated by different armed groups in Tigray. This is unacceptable. The G7, under the UK Presidency, issued a communique on 5 May which condemned rape and sexual exploitation, and other forms of gender-based violence and called for all parties to cease hostilities immediately, ensure respect for human rights and international law and hold those responsible for human rights violations and abuses, including sexual violence, accountable. The UK will support the UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights to ensure that their joint investigations into atrocities in Tigray with the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission are independent, transparent and impartial and that those responsible for these human rights abuses are held to account.

We are working to promote justice for survivors of sexual violence, to provide support to survivors and children born of conflict related sexual violence and to prevent sexual violence from occurring. British Embassy staff conducted a specific protection mission in Shire in Tigray on 4-7 April. It included the assessment of the current Gender-Based Violence response, specific emergency services provided in camps and the gaps that need to be filled. They interviewed staff and volunteers supporting survivors of sexual violence to identify essential activities required to address the immediate needs of the survivors as well as the accountability needs to ensure well-informed and effective assistance. We are currently identifying personnel from the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative Team of Experts who can deploy to the region.

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