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How can we end sexual violence in conflict? Is the UK's approach the right one? Lords Committee to investigate


The House of Lords Committee on Sexual Violence in Conflict today launched its inquiry with a Call for Evidence aimed at a wide range of witnesses. The Committee stressed their aspiration to engage with those who have direct experience of sexual violence in conflict and organisations that represent survivors, both in the UK and abroad.

The inquiry will focus on UK Government policy and practice in preventing sexual violence in conflict and assess its effectiveness. The Government has taken a leading role internationally in the fight against sexual violence in conflict, establishing the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) and hosting the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in 2014. The Committee will assess the impact of those initiatives and what more can be done to address sexual violence in conflict.

The Committee is inviting written evidence to be received by 18 September. It has been instructed to report by the end of March 2016 and hopes to attend and present its report at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May 2016.

Commenting, Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, Chairman of the Committee, said:

"Sexual violence in conflict is a dreadful crime making victims of women, girls, men and boys in conflicts across the globe. The Committee have already heard some evidence in private from survivors and it is clear that sexual violence has a devastating and long lasting impact.

"The UK Government has been bold in establishing the PSVI and hosting the Global Summit in 2014, but we are now a year on from that and it is time to assess what progress has been made. We are interested in exploring whether the Government is getting it right in the international policy agenda, in prevention measures and meeting the needs of survivors.

"Our inquiry and report will only be as strong as the evidence we receive, and we are keen to hear from survivors and the groups that represent them. While we will not be able to comment on, or review individual cases we want to ensure our report is informed by as broad a range of witnesses as possible, so I would encourage anyone who wants to submit evidence to write to us by 18 September."

Baroness Nicholson has recorded a YouTube video drawing attention to the Committee's Call for Evidence. You can view the video here. It can be shared on social media and embedded on third party websites.

Questions the Committee are seeking evidence on include:

  • How effective has the UK's engagement with the global agenda on preventing sexual violence in conflict been to date?
  • How can the UK use its position as a permanent member of the UN Security Council to advance the cause of preventing sexual violence in conflict?
  • How might the UK use the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 to further the prevention of sexual violence in conflict?
  • How far are cultural and societal factors responsible for sexual violence in conflict? Is inequality and the status of women an important factor underlying sexual violence?
  • Preventing conflict is the best single way of preventing sexual violence in conflict. Is enough being done in this respect? What measures to prevent sexual violence in conflict have been shown to work?
  • How effective are efforts to prevent sexual violence in conflict by non-State actors? What more can be done in this respect?
  • How effective is the Government's approach for support, assistance and reparation for survivors?
  • What can be done to lessen the stigma that is often experienced by survivors?
  • How can the UK use its influence to promote and increase the participation of women in conflict prevention and resolution?
  • How can the UK work with the EU and NATO to ensure the prevention of sexual violence is appropriately incorporated into military training and defence policy?
  • How do we ensure international peacekeepers are held to the very highest standards to prevent them perpetrating sexual violence?
  • Why has there been no convictions at the International Criminal Court for sexual violence in conflict offences? What can be done to make the Court more effective in that area?
  • What progress has been made since the Global Summit on Sexual Violence in Conflict in 2014 to end the culture of impunity that exists for crimes of sexual violence?

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