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The theme for the 2018 International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict is the “plight and rights of children born of war”. According to the UN, “the effects of conflict-related sexual violence echo across generations, through trauma, stigma, poverty, poor health and unwanted pregnancy […] The stigma associated with sexual violence can have life-long, and sometimes lethal, repercussions for both survivors and children conceived through rape”.

A report published by the Secretary-General of the UN in February 2018 summarised recent developments in the 19 countries about which it found verifiable information regarding conflict-related sexual violence. The report highlighted countries in which an escalation of violence led to increased incidence of sexual violence in 2017, including in the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Myanmar, Syria and Yemen. The Secretary-General has also set out the actions the UN is taking to tackle the perpetration of acts of sexual violence by its own staff.

In 2012, the Coalition Government established the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI), the aim of which is 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. In January 2018, the Government launched the UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2018–22, the Government’s strategy for ensuring “better protection and empowerment of women in conflict situations overseas”.

In April 2016, the House of Lords Sexual Violence in Conflict Committee made recommendations concerning the UK’s policy and practice of preventing sexual violence in conflict. The Government published its response to the Committee on 30 June 2016.34 A House of Lords Library Briefing summarising the Committee’s report, the Government’s response and subsequent developments was published in April 2018.

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