Sir Jim calls on Government to step-up campaign against sexual violence in war zones
- Credit: Archant
South East Cambridgeshire MP Sir Jim Paice has called on the Government to continue highlighting the growing problem of sexual violence in conflicts and war zones.
The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, and film star Angelina Jolie, co-chaired the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict earlier this month at the ExCel Arena, in London.
The summit was the largest gathering ever brought together on the subject and was held to agree practical action to tackle the use of rape as a weapon of war and to begin to change global attitudes to the crimes.
Speaking in the House of Commons this week, Sir Jim congratulated the Foreign Secretary on the leadership he showed during last week’s conference.
Sir Jim said: “Sexual violence in conflict is a major issue, but it is one that many people—dare I say it, many men—have avoided addressing.
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“Will the Foreign Secretary take this opportunity to challenge media commentators who have suggested, over the past few days, that it is a relatively minor issue compared with the issues of Iraq that we have just been discussing?
“Does he not agree that, in many ways, they are two sides of the same coin and that the fundamental belief that women are second-class citizens lies at the heart of the use of sexual violence in conflict and at the heart of the beliefs of most of the extreme terrorist organisations?”
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In response, the Foreign Secretary said: “This is not only a vital moral issue for the world—we have been right to break the taboo in many parts of the world about discussing it.
“It is also fundamentally connected to conflict prevention. When mass war-zone rape is committed by one community against another, it becomes dramatically more difficult to prevent conflict between them for decades into the future. I think that in some quarters there is a good deal of ignorance about those matters.”