William Hague’s new initiative – Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) – was launched earlier this year. In a speech delivered 29 March 2013, the Rt. Hon William Hague described how the work of the PSVI would assist the women and children “caught on the margins of the battlefield yet at the centre of warfare.”
The PSVI has received the support of NGOs partners, politicians, friends and celebrities, including Angelina Jolie who attended the launch. It signals increasing efforts of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to work for women around the world: “We will use the crucial seven months before our Presidency to build real momentum around this initiative.”
On 15 February 2013, a celebration of this new initiative was held at the FCO. Serene Communications was invited to attend for its long-term time work in this area, as well as the training it delivered on UN SCR 1325 and related resolutions (primarily CEDAW and UN SCRs 1820, 1888 and 1889).
Director Zarin Hainsworth represented Serene at the event and there could be no better representative considering the direction Zarin has provided towards advocacy for women and girls. Under her directorship, Serene Communications has been working for some years now to protect women and girls in conflict zones, with more recent advocacy work conducted for the USA based charity, the Global Justice Center.
During the celebration, Zarin met William Hague and questioned him on the need to ensure a redefinition of rape as an illegal weapon of war. The implications of this conversation are far-reaching, as the Secretary of State is content with retaining the status of rape simply as a ‘weapon’ of war (as opposed to ‘illegal weapon’). Although a subtle difference, this would have an impact on the culpability of some governments.
The work in this area continued with lobbying around the language of the new resolution passed on 24 June 2013, during the UK Presidency of the Security Council. UNSCR 2106 covers areas such as the use of rape in conflict and the need to provide full non-discriminatory health care for survivors in line with the articles of the Geneva Convention.
We look forward to continuing our work in this field and hope that changes to language and international definitions can soon change to help the women and girls it so acutely affects.
Full speech available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/foreign-secretary-launches-new-government-initiative-to-prevent-sexual-violence-in-conflict
Further information on rape in war available at:
More information on the PSVI available at: http://www.hrdreport.fco.gov.uk/human-rights-in-safeguarding-britains-national-security/reducing-conflict/preventing-sexual-violence-initiative/
United Nations Security Resolution 1325 available at: http://www.un.org/events/res_1325e.pdf
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Again Women available at: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/text/econvention.htm
United Nations Security Resolution 1880 available at: http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/1820(2008)
United Nations Security Resolution 1888 available at:
United Nations Security Resolution 1889 available at: http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/1889(2009)
United Nations Security Resolution 2106 available at: