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On 12 March 2015, following a recommendation of the House of Lords Liaison Committee, the House of Lords agreed to appoint a committee on sexual violence in conflict, a topic recommended by Baroness Helic (Conservative). The Committee was appointed on 11 June 2015 with a remit to consider the UK’s policy and practice of preventing sexual violence in conflict. Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne (Conservative) chaired the Committee.

The Committee’s report focused on six areas: policy and legal framework; prevention; women’s participation in peacebuilding; responding to victims and survivors; accountability and justice; and sexual violence by peacekeepers. The Committee strongly condemned sexual violence in conflict, which it found was being committed in at least 19 countries.

The Committee praised the Coalition Government’s establishment of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI), which aims to raise awareness of the extent of sexual violence against women, men, girls and boys in situations of armed conflict, and to rally global action to end it. The Committee’s report included 72 recommendations to the Government for measures it could take to strengthen its response.

The Government published its response to the Committee on 30 June 2016. In November 2017 the chair of the Liaison Committee, Lord McFall of Alcluith, wrote to Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict and Minister for the Commonwealth, to ask for a summary of the Government’s actions with regard to certain of the Committee’s recommendations. Lord Ahmad responded to this letter in February 2018.

This Briefing provides information about the Committee’s work; its recommendations; the government response; and information highlighted in Lord Ahmad’s letter to Lord McFall. It also contains a summary of the debate held in the House of Lords on the report, and concludes with a summary of certain developments which have occurred since the Committee reported.


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