25 September 2012Foreign Secretary William Hague: "Tackling this issue is central to conflict prevention and the UK’s full weight is behind this agenda"
Today, Foreign Secretary William Hague, announced a £1 million pledge to support the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.
During the Foreign Secretary’s address to the UN General Assembly side event ‘Preventing sexual and gender-based crimes in conflict and securing justice for survivors’, he also pledged to use the Foreign Ministers’ track of the UK’s Presidency of the G8 in 2013, to seek specific new commitments from some of the world’s most powerful nations to tackling this silent scourge of war.
These initiatives will support directly the announcement in June that the Foreign Office would be setting up a new UK team of experts devoted to the issue of preventing sexual violence.
Speaking after today’s event, Foreign Secretary William Hague, said:
“As part of the UK’s work to prevent sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict countries, today’s event has been an important step in rallying international support towards taking action. Tackling this issue is central to conflict prevention and the UK’s full weight is behind this agenda. I hope this will act as a catalyst for others to take similar action.
“I am very pleased today to announce £1 million to support the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. This will be used to support the work of the existing UN team of experts. I commend the important work that this office is already doing including strengthening military justice systems in the Democratic Republic of Congo and supporting the work to incorporate prevention of sexual violence in the Constitution and Bill of Rights in South Sudan.
“We must end impunity against sexual violence in conflict. This silent scourge blights the lives of survivors - predominantly women, but also significant numbers of men and children, whose stories remain unheard. The scale of the problem is immense, and the response required complex. We must break the silence if we are to achieve sustainable peace and prosperity.”
In June, the Foreign Office announced a new UK team of experts devoted to the issue of preventing sexual violence would be set up. This team will have the skills and resources to enable it to be deployed into conflict areas in support of UN missions, or on a bilateral basis, to help gather evidence to support future prosecutions, and to provide advice and support to reinforce local efforts.
It will draw on the skills of doctors, lawyers, police, psychologists, forensic specialists and experts in the care and protection of victims and witnesses, and it will significantly strengthen the specialist capabilities that we are able to bring to bear on these issues as the United Kingdom. It will be deployed for the first time later this year.
Remarks by the Foreign Secretary William Hague, to the open UN General Assembly side-event ‘Preventing sexual and gender-based crimes in conflict and securing justice for survivors’
UK Mission to the United Nations
'Preventing Sexual Violence: A Bold Initiative worth Supporting' a blog by Ambassador to the Holy See, Nigel Baker