Clare Robe, Communications Manager – Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative, firstname.lastname@example.org
Since the signing of the resolution at the 32nd International Conference in December 2015 the UK have strived to deliver on all areas of the resolution. In particular we have focused on preventing and responding to sexual violence in conflict; seeking justice for survivors; providing better access to healthcare psychosocial support and livelihood programmes; challenging the harmful attitudes towards survivors of sexual violence in conflict and working to end the stigma suffered by many survivors; and improving how security forces around the world prevent and respond to these crimes.
In 2015 we invested in collating research and evidence around what works to tackle all forms of violence against women and girls in conflict which included almost £5 million spent on studies on prevention and response to VAWG in crisis settings.
In Bosnia we supported project aimed at improving access to justice through legal aid an advocacy and provided support for survivors. We funded training on the International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict in a number of countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq and Kosovo.
In Syria and Nepal we funded a series of projects aimed at empowering women and survivors of sexual violence through media and radio. We also supported the training of Malian armed forces on International Humanitarian Law to prevent sexual violence in conflict and other violations.
In South Sudan, DFID provided £3 million to the International Medical Corps (IMC) and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to ensure survivors of sexual violence who have been displaced can access services to survivors, engage in community dialogue and prevention activities in order to reduce the risk of Gender Based Violence (GBV).
In 2016 Baroness Anelay, former Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, paid particular attention to tackling the stigma associated with survivors of sexual violence through the launch of its Stigma Campaign. The UK allocated over £5.3 million to fund 24 projects related to, building local capacity, promoting women’s participation, delivering justice for survivors, tackling stigma and training on the International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict. Alongside this work the UK also supported the UN Team of Experts, UN Action, and UN OHCHR in their work in this context.
In the DRC, the UK supported a workshop run by the DRC Government and President Kabila’s Personal Representative on Sexual Violence and Child Recruitment, Jeanine Mabunda Lioko. This reinforced the mandatory use of the International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict for medical and legal professionals throughout the DRC. Further technical discussions are on-going and the UK continues to push for implementation.
Our work in 13 countries delivering 24 projects in 2016 included providing UK-funding to support Access to Justice programming in Burma which has enabled 60 women to receive paralegal training. With UK support, four Legal Aid Centres have been established nationwide, with 200 community paralegals trained in Rangoon. The UK is working with other donors to strengthen the effectiveness of the Burmese Government Sector Working Group on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.
2016 also saw the development of the second International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict (IP) working with over 200 experts, practitioners, civil society representatives and the UN OHCHR. New chapters on trauma; men and boys; and analysing evidence are included in the second edition of the IP.
The UK is also providing £6 million over three years (2014-17) to the UN Trust Fund to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls in support of the UNTF’s new Strategic Vision for 2015-2020.
In accordance with the UK’s High Level Review commitment, UK troops on large-scale overseas missions now receive pre-deployment training on WPS and on the prevention of conflict-related sexual violence. This training now also includes instruction on identifying and preventing instances of sexual exploitation and abuse.
We also continued to deliver expert training on the prevention of conflict-related sexual violence to international partners. For example, the British Peace Support Training Team in East Africa provides training on sexual violence issues to over 7,000 African peacekeeping personnel every year.
2016 also saw the development of the ‘End Stigma’ campaign. British Embassies and High Commissions in Kosovo, Nepal, Nigeria, Somalia, Colombia, Iraq, Sri Lanka and Burma hosted workshops on tackling stigma to develop our understanding of local issues and challenges. The findings of these workshops were brought together at a UK hosted conference in November 2016 and were used to develop an action plan to tackle the stigmatisation of survivors of sexual violence.
This product, the Principles for Global Action on addressing the stigmas associated with sexual violence, is being developed in collaboration with civil society, survivors, donors and UN agencies.
A second round of in-country workshops will take place in 2017 in a number of countries including Bosnia, Colombia, Mali, Nepal and South Sudan as we work towards publishing the Principles for Global Action document to tackle stigma in September 2017. The UK will also provide over £5.8 million in funding in 2017 to support over 25 projects in conflict and post-conflict affected countries.
Challenges faced include the duplication of work on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict and reporting of sexual violence crimes in media/advocacy. However we have been working with Media organisations to rectify this and promote training on the challenges and issues around sexual violence to ensure that reporting is survivor focused and does not further traumatise survivors and victims. The UK is also working to ensure better, more focused collaboration with donor countries, civil society and academia to avoid duplication, re-traumatising survivors and maximise collective efforts towards a survivor focused response to tackling sexual violence.
The UK are proud to work with the ICRC and working closely together we can implement all parts of the resolution. The ICRC already heavily support the UK’s work in this area and we would like this to continue as we work on tackling the stigma of sexual violence in conflict; prevent and respond to sexual violence crimes; deliver justice for survivors; and work towards publishing the Principles for Global Action document on tackling stigma in September 2017.