Lords to debate sexual violence in conflict: A war crime
The House of Lords will next week debate Sexual Violence in Conflict: A War Crime, the report from the Committee on Sexual Violence in Conflict that was published April.
The report called on the Government to set out ambitious policy goals for reducing conflict-related sexual violence to ensure the international momentum created by the Prevention of Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) was not lost.
Recommendations in the report included:
- The Government must avoid the temptation to narrow the focus of the PSVI solely on the Middle East or combating religious extremism. Preventing sexual violence in conflict must be a global effort.
- The UK should resist any peace settlement in Syria that proposes amnesties for perpetrators of sexual violence during the conflict and ensure women are properly represented in peace negotiations.
- The UK should support the establishment of a new UN tribunal to ensure peacekeepers who engage in sexual exploitation and abuse are held to account.
The report will be debated after 5pm on Monday 10 September in the Chamber of the House of Lords. You can follow the debate online at: www.parliamentlive.tv
Commenting ahead of the debate Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, who chaired the Committee, said:
"Sexual violence in conflict is a horrendous crime that ruins lives, destroys communities and makes achieving peace even more difficult. The current crisis in the Middle East, which has seen horrendous sexual violence carried out by multiple perpetrators, shows that this is an ongoing challenge of the utmost importance.
"Our report called on the Government to not lose sight of the importance of this issue and build on the success of the Prevention of Sexual Violence Initiative even as its creators – William Hague and Arminka Helic – left government.
"It has now been six months since our report and this is a good time for the House to push the Government on what progress has been made. This debate will allow members of the Committee, and other Peers, to question the Government on its commitment on this issue and ensure it is does not lose sight of the vital challenge of tackling sexual violence in conflict.
"Further to the completion of the work of the Committee, I and other members have established an All Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Sexual Violence in Conflict to continue work on this hugely important issue."
Members due to speak in the debate include:
- Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne – Who chaired the Committee and will open the debate
- Baroness Anelay of St Johns – The Prime Minister's Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict who will respond for the Government.
- Lord Black of Brentwood – former member of the Committee
- Lord Collins of Highbury – Labour's spokesman in the Lords on Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and International Development
- Baroness Coussins – former Director of the Commission for Racial Equality and a member of the House of Lords Committee on International Relations.
- The Bishop of Derby – former member of the Committee
- Baroness Goudie – former member of the Committee
- Lord Hague of Richmond – former Foreign Secretary and established the PSVI with Angelina Jolie Pitt
- Baroness Hamwee – who is a member of Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights
- Baroness Helic – a former Special Advisor to William Hague as Foreign Secretary when they established the PSVI. She is also a member of the House of Lords Committee on International Relations
- Baroness Hodgson of Abinger – former member of the Committee and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women, Peace and Security
- Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead – former Shadow Spokesman on International Development and member of the Committee
- Baroness Warsi – former Senior Minister of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and member of the Committee.
- Baroness Young of Hornsey – former member of the Committee