News – Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office – Violence affects women and girls everywhere: UK statement to the OSCE

At OSCE’s Human Dimension Conference, Eily Craig voices UK’s deep concern about rising reports of gender-based violence in Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine.

Thank you, Mr Convenor.

Global estimates show that 1 in 3 women will experience physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetimes. Violence affects women and girls everywhere.

Gender equality and fighting all forms of violence against women and girls are crucial to the OSCE’s comprehensive concept of security and stability and the UK commends the work of the OSCE executive structures in implementing the Women, Peace and Security agenda.

I’d like to highlight the utility and value of two OSCE sponsored toolkits. Firstly, the toolkit for “Inclusion of Women and Effective Peace Processes”, a valuable resource for conflict mediation in all OSCE conflicts. And, secondly, the Gender and Security toolkit, which provides practical policy and programmatic guidance for governments, for regional and international organisations and for justice institutions.

I’d like to thank all those who have contributed to advancing gender equality and the Women, Peace and Security agenda at the OSCE.

We know that violence against women and girls further escalates in scale and severity in conflict and crisis, and this has been seen in the detrimental impact that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has had on women and girls.

We welcomed the publication of the OSCE’s Moscow Mechanism reports, which help expose the truth of Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine. We remain deeply concerned about rising reports of gender-based violence, including horrific acts of sexual violence, with most cases committed in areas controlled by Russian armed forces.

In April, the UK launched the Murad Code, a code of conduct for documenting the experiences of survivors of conflict-related sexual violence in a way that upholds survivors’ rights. We are now urging governments, national authorities, international organisations and civil society to commit to taking a survivor-centred approach to such documentation – in line with the standards set out in the Code.

In November the UK are hosting an ambitious international conference that marks 10 years since the launch of the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative. We will use this to strengthen global action and deliver real change for survivors.

Mr Convenor, we know that violence against women and children is preventable. The UK remains steadfast in its commitment to working toward a future for women and children that is free from discrimination and violence.

Rigorous evaluations have shown that harmful attitudes and norms can change in less than three years – this does not have to take generations.

Thank you.

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