UK initiative to tackle sexual violence in conflict: First meeting of the Foreign Secretary’s Steering Board
The Board was established to advise the Foreign Secretary as the UK continues its campaign for new international action against sexual and gender-based violence in conflict and post-conflict situations. As part of this new initiative, the UK has set up a specialist team of experts that will be deployed to conflict areas to support UN missions and local civil society to investigate allegations of sexual violence, gather evidence and help build the capabilities of other nations. The specialist team now consists of 70 people and will conduct its first deployment overseas before the end of the year.
The Foreign Secretary has also pledged to use the UK’s Presidency of the G8 next year to secure new commitments from some of the world’s most powerful nations, including support for conflict-affected countries and a new international protocol on the investigation and documentation of sexual violence in conflict.
The PSVI external Steering Board is made up of representatives from London School of Economics, Human Rights Watch, the UN, Parliament, Care International, International Criminal Court, Save the Children, Amnesty International, International Crisis Group, Church of England, HMCTS, Physicians for Human Rights, International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia, Matrix Chambers and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Speaking after the meeting, the Foreign Secretary said:
“Our government is committed to tackling the appalling crime of sexual violence in conflict. We must shatter the culture of impunity for those who use rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war, increasing the numbers of prosecutions for those responsible for such crimes, supporting survivors, and changing global attitudes. We must shift the balance of shame from survivors to the perpetrators of these abhorrent acts. But governments cannot do this alone. Today I chaired the first meeting of my new external Steering Board which will advise us as we seek new global action to prevent sexual violence in conflict. I am grateful to all the members of the Board for their support and their participation in the meeting, and I look forward to working with them closely in the coming months.”