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Human Rights: Females

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 12 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of international progress towards the UN commitment to eliminating violence against women as adopted in 1995; and what contribution the UK has made to that work. (209748)

Reports from the UN—in particular the Secretary-General's In-Depth Study on Violence against Women (2006) and subsequent reports to the General Assembly—as well as our own work in developing countries show that more progress needs to be made internationally towards the commitments on violence against women agreed at the 4th World Conference on Women in 1995.

The UK has supported a number of initiatives in the UN that seek to address violence against women (and girls), including resolutions and the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women. We also welcomed the launch in February by the UN Secretary-General of a new campaign to intensify action to end violence against women and girls.

The Department for International Development also tackles violence against women and girls through our development assistance programmes as part of our wider work to promote gender equality and women's rights, as set out in the Gender Equality Action Plan launched last year. We support work on this issue in over 20 developing countries, including in the areas of legislative reform, improved provision of services for victims, work with media on awareness raising and changing attitudes, and training of police and military. This includes initiatives in conflict and post-conflict situations implemented by civil society and UN partners. For example, we are currently supporting a programme implemented by the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) aimed at promoting women's engagement in peace-building and preventing sexual violence in conflict which is working in Afghanistan, Haiti, Liberia, Rwanda, Timor Leste and Uganda.

The Gender Equality Action Plan can be found at

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/pubs/files/gender-equality-plan-2007.pdf, and

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/pubs/files/gender-equality.pdf.