Armed Conflict: Sexual Offences

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 27th September 2022.

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Photo of Baroness Goudie Baroness Goudie Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in securing an international convention prohibiting the use of rape or sexual violence as a weapon of war, including enforceable and effective sanctions in response to any breaches.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

It is unacceptable that sexual violence and rape continue to take place in conflicts around the world and are, in some cases, used as a method of warfare. Among other things, rape can be a war crime, a crime against humanity and a form of torture. Rape is prohibited under international humanitarian law, international criminal law, international human rights law and UN Security Council resolutions.

The UK is stepping up its ambition to end the culture of impunity that has pervaded acts of Conflict Related Sexual Violence (CRSV). In the first instance, we are focused on addressing the gaps in implementation of existing laws at the national level. We are also seeking further concerted action on the Crimes Against Humanity (CAH) Convention, which is vital to strengthen the international legal architecture and prosecute atrocity crimes including some forms of CRSV. Both of these steps could pave the way for a CRSV Convention in due course.

The UK will host the international Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) conference in November 2022. This will be a key opportunity to show UK leadership and rally international support to agree further action on sexual violence in conflict to eliminate this crime, including stronger international action to promote accountability.

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