U.K. Senior-Level Government Officials Must Take Lead On Preventing Sexual Violence In Conflict Initiative, Hague Writes In Opinion Piece
The Guardian: Britain must spearhead action against sexual violence or relinquish the reins
William Hague, U.K. secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs
“Rape and other forms of sexual violence in conflict are deliberate crimes against humanity, employed as a tactic of war and terrorism to systematically brutalize entire populations. They are entirely preventable, which is why I launched the preventing sexual violence in conflict initiative (PSVI) in 2012 with UNHCR special envoy Angelina Jolie. … Where countries have fallen short of their previous commitments, there should be a diplomatic campaign to urge them to keep their promises, as well as to generate the political will needed to address current conflicts where sexual violence has been rampant. … The U.K. is still in a position to lead, and the fact that the government plans to hold a major conference this year presents an opportunity to intensify its work. But those efforts will only succeed if led at a very senior level within government. Precisely because this is such a huge issue, affecting the work of foreign ministries, defense departments, developments agencies, and justice ministries, governments find it difficult to mobilize substantive action on it unless their very senior members are determined to do so. If Boris Johnson’s government is ready to do this, it could have a powerful impact internationally. But if it is not, it would be better to let another country take the lead than leave the initiative underpowered…” (1/9).