Monday 8 March 2010

Baroness Kinnock to lead efforts tackling violence against women

Baroness Kinnock with women's rights activists in the DRC; Crown copyrightThe Prime Minister has announced that Baroness Kinnock will take on a new role leading the Government’s work to tackle violence against women overseas.

Baroness Kinnock will focus on coordinating UK efforts to tackle the problem, working across departments including DFID, the MOD and the FCO.

The appointment, which was announced on International Women’s Day, is the first time such a dedicated responsibility has existed.

The Democratic Republic of Congo will be the highest priority for tackling sexual violence. UN figures indicated that there were nearly 10,000 cases of women and girls being raped in the country over the last year.

Baroness Kinnock, who recently visited the DRC, said she would never forget the stories she heard from women there who had been raped.

She added:

“I’m honoured to be given this role. It is ultimately the job of governments to take responsibility and ensure that they deal with gender inequality and the all too frequent low status and low value accorded to women.”

The PM said:

“Violence against women has reached endemic proportions in some parts of the world. Today’s announcement signals our commitment to meet it head on. Glenys has long been a passionate advocate for women’s rights. I’m confident she’ll help push the issue to the top of the international agenda.”

Baroness Kinnock will work in particular with the United Nations to ensure international commitments are met, and she will use her visit to New York later this month to press for urgent action to strengthen protection for women.

She will carry out the role alongside her existing responsibilities as Minister of State at the Foreign Office.

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