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Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative

Volume 569: debated on Wednesday 23 October 2013

4. What contribution her Department is making to the implementation of the Government’s preventing sexual violence initiative. (900646)

The UK will co-host a call-to-action event in November with Sweden, which will focus on protecting women and girls from all forms of violence in emergencies. That work builds directly on the G8 Foreign Ministers’ declaration on preventing sexual violence in conflict, which was led so ably by the Foreign Secretary.

I am grateful for that response. In Burma, reports of rape and sexual violence against women by the army have increased. Given the level of aid that we send to Burma, will the Secretary of State encourage the Burmese Government to sign our declaration and ask her colleagues to raise the matter in Europe and at the United Nations?

The hon. Lady makes a powerful point about what is happening in Burma. Aung San Suu Kyi is in the country and I will be meeting her today. I will be sure to raise those issues with her. I am sure that she takes them as seriously as this House.

As a means to encouraging the wider implementation of the convention on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, the Council of Europe launched a campaign in February to encourage its member states to have their municipal and regional authorities sign a pact to stop sexual violence against children. Will the Secretary of State say whether she is aware of that campaign and what contribution her Department can make?

I am not aware of that campaign. The Department sets a lot of store by the work that it does to protect children, whether in Syria or Democratic Republic of the Congo. Only today, I announced £2 million to take care of the Syrian children who are turning up in Iraq unaccompanied. I will write to my right hon. Friend to respond more fully on the campaign that she mentioned.