New sanctions holding perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict zones to account have been introduced by the UK on the International Day to End Sexual Violence in Conflict.
Lord Ahmad, the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, announced the sanctions, which will freeze the assets and ban those targeted from travelling to the UK.
The sanctions, which build on previous UK action in this area, send a clear message of solidarity with survivors and condemnation of these illegal acts.
These latest sanctions target two militia leaders in the DRC for violating international humanitarian law by commanding groups to carry out acts of sexual violence. They also include the Syrian Army Chief and Minister of Defence who authorised sexual and gender-based violence, including systematic rape of civilians.
In the last year the UK has sanctioned 15 individuals and entities who have committed specific human rights violations against women and girls, 13 of whom were involved in crimes of sexual violence in conflict.
Lord (Tariq) Ahmad, the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, said:
“Threats of sexual violence as a weapon in conflict must stop and survivors must be supported to come forward.
These sanctions send a clear signal to perpetrators that the UK will hold you accountable for your horrendous crimes.”
The FCDO’s Women and Girls Strategy, published in March, sets out how the UK will work to tackle global gender inequality at every opportunity. For the first time, this strategy commits the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to more than 80% of its bilateral aid programmes including a focus on gender equality by 2030.
As part of the UK’s wider work on this issue, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has funded a Guidebook on State Obligations on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence. Produced by the Mukwege Foundation, which will support states around the world to understand and comply with international law on conflict-related sexual violence.