Summits | Meetings | Publications | Research | Search | Home | About the G7 Research Group
G7 Report on the Implementation of the
G8 Declaration on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict
November 25, 2015
The Chair of the G7 has the honour to present the G7 Report on the Implementation of the G8 Declaration on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict.
The Declaration was made in April 2013 to address the prevalence of systematic and widespread sexual violence in situations of armed conflict. We set out to work together, in a concerted campaign, to strengthen prevention and response. Better support needed to be provided to victims, more capacity needed to be built for prevention. We sought to remove barriers that prevent effective monitoring and reporting of sexual violence and improve accountability and access to justice.
This report illustrates the progress that has been made by providing a selection of concrete actions by G7 members and highlighting other major international efforts with G7 participation. It represents an intermediate step and serves as a symbol of renewed commitment by the G7 to the Declaration.
Following strong statements in 2012 by G8 leaders and foreign ministers on the role of women in international peace and security, including the prevention of sexual violence in conflict (SVC), G8 foreign ministers in April 2013 launched a Declaration on the Prevention of Sexual Violence in Conflict. This was later endorsed by Leaders at Lough Erne. The Declaration underscored the prevalence of systematic and widespread sexual violence in situations of armed conflict despite international efforts to end the practice.
The Declaration states that efforts to prevent SVC must include a range of actions to bring relief to survivors and to support their rehabilitation and reintegration as productive members of their families and communities. It recognizes that rape and other forms of sexual violence in armed conflict are war crimes which constitute grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, and stresses the importance of justice for survivors and of holding perpetrators to account. In the Declaration, ministers recognize the need for a continued focus on the issue of SVC and for a considered review of the Declaration’s implementation. This report covers implementation actions by G7 countries from the Declaration’s launch in 2013 to July 2015.
The report recognizes that G7 partners’ actions form part of on-going global efforts to prevent and respond to SVC. The primary international framework for such action is provided by Security Council Resolution 1325 and the subsequent resolutions within the Women, Peace and Security agenda. The report also reflects that G7 partners are implementing the Declaration in various ways, each in accordance with their respective priorities and drawing on their respective strengths. The report, therefore, is not inclusive of all G7 activities but highlights some of the areas where partners have been active over the past two years.
During the period covered by the report, sexual violence against women and girls in conflict situations took on a disturbing new dimension with the capture in April 2014 by Boko Haram of over 270 girl students from Chibok School, Nigeria and their subsequent enslavement and forced marriage. Similarly egregious abuses against women and girls have been committed by the so-called ISIL in Iraq and Syria, beginning in the early summer of 2014.
As reported by the UN Secretary General in his Report on Conflict-related Sexual Violence, S/2015/203 of 23 March 2015, terrorist organizations such as Boko Haram and ISIL are using sexual violence against, primarily, women and girls as a tactic to destroy communities as well as to recruit fighters and raise funds. G7 partner countries are participants in the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, and are providing bilateral assistance to Nigeria and neighbouring countries in the efforts against Boko Haram.
This report is organized in two sections to reflect, first, how G7 partners have contributed to four major international initiatives to end sexual violence in conflict, and second, how G7 partners have met the principal undertakings that were made in the Declaration.
A New Security Council Resolution. In June 2013, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2106 on preventing SVC, thereby enhancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda. The Resolution was co-sponsored by all G7 partner countries. It re-affirms that pervasive SVC situations can exacerbate and prolong armed conflict and impede the restoration of international peace and security. Consequently, it urges the inclusion of provisions related to sexual violence in ceasefire and peace agreements and adds greater operational detail to the previous resolutions relating to SVC. These include enhanced monitoring and reporting, further deployment of Women Protection, and Gender Advisors, and including women in all protection and prevention responses.
A New Global Declaration. In September 2013, on the margins of the UN General Assembly, all G7 partners championed and co-sponsored the launch of the Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. This Declaration thus far has been endorsed by 155 UN Member States and contains a set of practical and political commitments to end the use of rape and sexual violence as weapons of war. The Declaration sends two important messages: the international community has not forgotten the victims of these crimes; and perpetrators will be held to account.
A Call to Action. In November 2013, the UK with the support of other G7 partners launched the Call to Action to Protect Women and Girls in Emergencies. This initiative has brought together governments, UN agencies, international NGOs, and civil society organisations to agree on a new approach to protecting girls and women in emergency situations. The event saw the endorsement of a ground-breaking Communique recognizing that early action to protect girls and women in emergencies saves lives. In September 2014, the US took over leadership of the Call to Action and hosted a follow-up meeting on the margins of the UN General Assembly where partners reported on the progress made on implementing Call to Action commitments.
A Global Summit. In June 2014, the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict was held in London, involving representation from states, activists, experts, survivors of SVC, international and non-government organizations, and the public. The aim of the Summit was to raise awareness of SVC and mobilize action. The Summit had a global reach through social media and the #timetoact campaign, and a telecast of associated events from around the world. All G7 partners participated in the Summit with four G7 ministers and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy actively engaged at the London venue.
At the Human Rights Council (HRC) in May 2013, France organized a debate on sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It also held a high-level meeting on ending gender-based violence (GBV) in conflict during the Elysee Summit for Peace and Security in Africa in December 2013. Similarly, Italy worked to raise awareness of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. At the HRC29, Italy co-facilitated the resolution on Child, Early, and Forced Marriage (CEFM), which has been cosponsored by over 80 countries, and called for an increased focus on human rights education as well as on the role of National Action Plans (NAPs) and data-collection.
Germany supports a range of projects and programs in countries to strengthen women’s participation in communities with the aim of preventing sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). For example, Germany financed a project in the DRC on the prevention of sexual violence, which included a focus on men. Germany funds programs on developing gender sensitive curricula in schools, most recently in Sri Lanka.
In November 2014, the EU organised jointly with CARE, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), and the Italian Presidency a roundtable on GBV and more specifically violence against women and girls in emergencies. The purpose of this event was to prompt a pragmatic discussion with the EU humanitarian and gender experts on how high-level commitments can be translated into substantive improvements at the policy, funding, and operational levels.
In May 2013, the EU member states held the Annual Meeting on UNSCR 1325 that focused on SVC and transitional justice. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict (SRSG on SVC), Ms. Zainab Hawa Bangura, was the principal speaker. At a high-level panel in Geneva in February 2015, Canada also had SRSG on SVC Bangura as the principal speaker. This event specifically focused on the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war in ISIL-controlled areas and the strategies to empower women in that region.
In February 2014, the US issued consular guidance implementing a presidential proclamation that suspended entry into the US of those responsible for certain acts of sexual violence that amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, or other serious violations of human rights, or which are a part of widespread or systematic violence against civilians based on certain protected grounds. The US urged other governments to consider similarly restricting the travel of those responsible for these acts.
In the same year, Japan held a public symposium in Tokyo with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to discuss and deepen understanding of the main challenges and responses to sexual violence in armed conflict.
Under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), the new Human Rights Crises Facility was launched in 2014. It serves as an important new tool for providing support to human rights defenders in conflict-affected countries.
All G7 EU member states are bound by and committed to the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders. They place particular emphasis on protecting human rights defenders in third countries and enabling a civil society space in which they can carry out their work. For example, Germany supports the Berlin Center for Torture Victims which, together with an NGO, is active in six provinces in Iraq. Germany also funds an Iraqi radio station that broadcasts on issues related to SGBV.
The UK supports a number of projects with human rights defenders and NGOs working to end sexual violence in the DRC, South Sudan, Somalia, Guatemala, Nigeria, Kosovo, Colombia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Burma. It provided Iraqi and Syrian female human rights defenders training on the International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict to help them gather better evidence and ultimately prevent and prosecute sexual violence crimes.
All G7 partners respond to consolidated appeals for humanitarian assistance in times of crisis. Humanitarian agencies routinely include the provision of medical and psycho/social assistance, rape kits, and counseling for survivors of sexual violence in crisis situations.
Canada is contributing $18.5 million over five years to respond to sexual violence in the DRC. The project is being implemented by UNDP to support survivors and hold perpetrators to account. Canada’s efforts to fight sexual violence have been producing results in the DRC including providing over 60,000 survivors with access to health and psychological support and care; providing over 15,000 survivors with new skills and ability to maintain income generating activities; and convicting over 800 perpetrators.
In October 2014, Canada pledged that it would ensure that the plight of victims of ISIL remains at the top of the global agenda, committing $10 million to address SGBV in ISIL-affected areas. This funding supports investigations for future accountability processes and provides services and support to the survivors.
In 2014, the EU supported 40 projects that prevented and responded to SGBV in humanitarian crises, contributing more than €18 million to protection programs that support specific GBV-related activities through UNICEF, UNFPA, and the IRC. The main locations for this support were in the DRC and the areas affected by the conflict in Syria, as well as various locations in Haiti, Ethiopia and the Philippines. The EU is addressing GBV in emergencies under the new Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace and thus far in 2015 the EU allocated €7.4 million globally to humanitarian projects aimed at preventing and responding to GBV.
Moreover, by the end of the year, the EU will adopt a policy framework on support to transitional justice that will place a strong emphasis on a victim-centered approach and supports measures ensuring the active participation, security, and reintegration of survivors of SGBV.
To meet the humanitarian needs of female refugees and victims of violent extremist groups, France contributed €5 million to crisis aid to Nigeria and €300,000 to the UNDP programs for legal aid to Syrian refugees in Iraq. France has also funded NGOs such as “Gynecologists without Borders” in Jordan to help Syrian refugees.
Germany’s humanitarian assistance regularly finances gender-specific support in emergencies. It also works to provide survivors with access to counselling and psychosocial services and funds mapping projects to identify where support for survivors of SGBV is needed. In addition, one of Germany’s Federal States has introduced a program whereby Syrian survivors of SGBV are able to seek psycho-social and trauma assistance in Germany.
Italy addresses discrimination as a root-cause of violence through a Department for Equal Opportunities fund for the victims of discrimination and it established a specific fund to compensate the victims of trafficking.
Japan made a voluntary contribution of approximately €600,000 to the Trust Fund for Victims at the International Criminal Court (ICC) to support survivors of sexual violence. An additional €400,000 is earmarked to support survivors of SGBV.
In line with the commitment made at the G8 meeting in 2013, the UK allocated over £5 million for projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, the DRC, South Sudan and Syria “to support grassroots and human rights projects on violence against women and girls”.
The UK provided over £2 million in the last three years to the ICC’s Trust Fund for Victims. Since 2012/13 the UK allocated £29 million to the work of Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI). This includes funding to support work with survivors, contributions to international organisations working on this issue, training on the International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of SVC, and deployments of the UK’s PSVI Team of Experts members.
As part of its commitment to the Call to Action, the US launched the Safe from the Start Initiative in September 2013, providing over $22 million as of September 2014 to respond to immediate needs of GBV survivors in current crises and to lay the groundwork for system-wide change to better prevent and respond to GBV in future emergencies. The US also more than doubled its investment in the GBV Emergency Response and Protection Initiative, which aims to meet the urgent security needs of individual survivors of GBV.
In eastern DRC, the US expanded its successful Early Warning System to reach additional communities in North Kivu province that are under threat of attack, including mass rape. Following an assessment in northern Nigeria, a similar model is now being tested in those regions most at risk of violence.
The EU is providing financing to the OSCE to conduct a survey on violence against women (VAW) in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Ukraine. The survey will produce a unique set of gender-aggregated data to provide a comprehensive picture on the rate of violence against women in the selected OSCE countries. The action will be used to create an evidence base of the different forms of violence against women, which will be used for improved policymaking by national actors, as well as for international stakeholders.
Italy has proposed an outline of potential indicators, based on its National Action Plan (2014-2016), which are under review by the EU Working Group on UNSCR 1325. Furthermore, within the recently-finalized NAP on VAW (2015-2018), the Department for Equal Opportunities has been increasingly working with the Italian National Institute of Statistics to better steer relevant policies. The NAP on VAW envisages, inter alia, ad hoc surveys on VAW every 4 years and the re-organization of data collection made available from shelters and protection services.
Over 2013-14, the UK sponsored the development of the International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict. The Protocol details basic standards and best practice on the documentation of sexual violence crime under international law. The UK has translated the Protocol into several languages and has developed a set of training materials to support its use. It has also begun a program of implementation in countries such as Colombia, Iraq, Uganda and Bosnia, and with Iraqi and Syrian women human rights defenders.
The US launched an Accountability Initiative to support the development of specialized justice sector mechanisms to improve access to justice for survivors of SGBV and to bring perpetrators to justice. It has also supported programming in Syria to train and sustain a network of Syrian doctors in forensic documentation of human rights and international humanitarian law violations, including those involving SGBV.
The EU cooperates closely with the UN, in particular with the Office of the SRSG on SVC, the OHCR, and UN Women. In June 2015, a bilateral meeting with the coordinator of UN Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict took place to examine concrete tracks for cooperation and exchange information on activities.
Germany provides specialized SGBV police teams for UN peacekeeping missions aimed at building capacity of local police forces. It also funds a Junior Professional Officer Position on child protection in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO).
In order to support UN’s efforts regarding the protection of women, Japan has provided US$524,000 to develop training materials and to conduct training for female protection advisors in UN peace operations. Japan is also helping to develop and implement e-learning programs on the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse.
In 2013, Italy made a contribution in 2013 of €450,000 to the UN Women Trust Fund to End Violence against Women and it is currently supporting UN Women and UNFPA National Plans against GBV in Afghanistan with a contribution of €2,000,000. In the Kurdish Autonomous Region (KRG) of Iraq, Italian Development Cooperation contributed €500,000 to UNICEF activities aimed at assisting young girl victims of violence, providing health care, psychological support, and facilitating their reintegration in the society. Out of the 2015 budget for Iraq, Italy disbursed further €400,000 for activities aimed at protecting women rights, especially contributing in the fight against female genital mutilations (FGM), and €500,000 as donated to UN Women for the protection of women in Jordan.
The EU Co-ordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support and the EU Police Mission in Afghanistan address issues against violence against women in their security system reform efforts. The EU implemented a €25 million project in the DRC, focusing on behavior and mentality change, female empowerment, the fight against impunity, and security system reform.
In Germany’s Federal Ministry of Defence, a high-level unit has been established to ensure that equality of opportunity is ensured for all staff throughout their careers. This includes eliminating gender-specific discrimination.
Italy has a dedicated organizational unit located within the Ministry of Defence called Equal Opportunities and Gender Perspective whose primary task is the implementation of gender perspectives and UNSCR 1325 within the armed forces and the Carabinieri Corps. Italy also appointed Gender Advisors and Focal Points within the armed forces.
The United States Department of Defense (DoD) commissioned two case studies on the experiences of women in the security sector, one focusing on a UN military observer in the eastern DRC and another on the rise of a Brigadier General through the ranks of the Zambian army. These studies were then used in the Gender and Security module of a DoD-funded training program for African security sector leaders held in November 2014.
In addition, the United States Defense Institute of International Legal Studies (DIILS) has a long-standing military justice engagement program with the Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC). During FY 2014, DIILS completed 15 mobile education programs in the DRC, with more than 4,500 FARDC soldiers and magistrates. Each program included material on SGBV.
Canada provides financial and in-kind contributions to support the work of Justice Rapid Response (JRR), an intergovernmental organization that provides the international community with over 500 rapidly deployable criminal justice experts to enable the investigation of human rights violations and international crimes. Since 2012, JRR has partnered closely with UN Women to recruit and train a sub-roster of 129 investigative experts in the area of SGBV. JRR has facilitated the deployment of 32 SGBV experts to assist in 31 missions to date, including supporting the work of International Commissions of Inquiry in Syria and North Korea, the Office of the Attorney General in Guatemala, and an upcoming Fact Finding Mission on Boko Haram. JRR also deployed an SGBV Investigator/Gender Specialist to the Fact-finding Commission to Iraq in 2014-15.
Before being deployed in any theatre of operation, Italian staff receive specific training on UNSCR 1325 and on integrating gender perspective in military activities. Female Engagement Teams have also been formed by two specialized army units. Personnel assigned to these Teams are provided with all necessary instruments, including linguistic tools, for cultural interaction and cooperation with the local female population.
The UK has carried out 60 deployments of its Team of PSVI Experts to 13 countries to support 17 projects, including to Kosovo, the Syrian borders, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the DRC. The deployments have helped to provide support to survivors, improve investigations, and increase prosecutions of SVC. Through its deployment to the EU Training Mission in Mali it has trained over 2,500 members of the Malian army on how to protect civilians from SGBV.
Gender aspects and the specific problem of SGBV featured in the various conflict analysis workshops organised by the EU institutions. These exercises helped increase understanding of gender in assessing the underlying dynamics of conflict and drivers for peace.
The German Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF-Berlin) conducts biannual training modules on “Integrating Gender into Peacebuilding Training”. Similarly, the police academy of the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg conducts biannual sessions with German police and armed forces and members of civil society who participate in peace missions. Germany also invests in the training of foreign forces by supporting the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Training Centre in their efforts to mainstream prevention of SGBV in their training courses.
The Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units (CoESPU) operates under the authority of the Italian Carabinieri Force with the support of the U.S. State Department. It provides specific training for police personnel (coming mainly from African countries) to be deployed in peacekeeping operations. In 2013 courses provided included Protection of Civilians (including a module devoted to SGBV) and Police, Civil, and Military Relations (including modules on International Humanitarian Law and Child Protection). Since 2014, CoESPU has been providing a course on Gender Protection in Peace Support Operations. A member of the UK’s PSVI Team of Experts was deployed to CoESPU in 2015 to assist with this course.
The UK has worked to build the British military’s training capacity on SVC, including reviewing its training and doctrine material to include on SGBV to all members of the armed forces. The UK supported the development of training modules for the Bosnian Peace Support Operations Training Centre that has so far trained over 300 military personnel in preventing SGBV. Through the British Peace Support Team (East Africa) the UK has provided training on SGBV to over 8,000 Africa peacekeeping and police personnel. The UK has provided similar training to over 800 Peshmerga troops in Iraq.
In September 2014, U.S. Africa Command hosted a Women, Peace, and Security Conference at the U.S. Army War College that was attended by approximately 40 representatives from the Africa Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) partner nations and other select stakeholders.
Since the 2007 Paris conference Children, Not Soldiers, co-organized by France and UNICEF, France has funded cooperation programs to help the reintegration of children in societies with special attention to the situation of girls. France funded projects in Central Africa (€2 million, 2008-2012) and in CAR (€400,000, 2013-2015).
The EU supported the campaign Children, Not Soldiers jointly initiated in 2014 by the SRSG on CAAC and UNICEF aimed at ending and preventing the recruitment and use of children in conflict by 2016. The EU has contributed through its efforts to rally support for the campaign.
Germany contributed to the Children, Not Soldiers campaign and welcomed the SRSGs on SVC and for CAAC for high-level talks in 2015. The Federal Foreign Office and the German Institute for International and Security Affairs conducted a workshop with the SRSG for CAAC in January 2015 on implementing Security Council Resolution 1998 on protecting schools and hospitals.
Italy has supported the work of UN Women since its inception and works closely with the Office of both the SRSG for CAAC and the SRSG on SVC. In 2003, under the Italian Presidency of the EU Council, Italy drafted the EU Guidelines on CAAC in line with the SRSG’s indications.
In 2015, Japan allocated an additional $2.55 million in 2015, to support the work of the Team of Experts in the DRC and the Central African Republic. Japan became the largest donor to the Office of SRSG on SVC in 2014, with a contribution of $2.15 million in order to bolster the judicial systems in the DRC and Somalia.
The UK contributed £1.3 million to the Office of the SRSG on SVC to enable their country engagement on SVC and £150,000 to the Office of the SRSG for CAAC.
In July 2015, during the visit of the SRSG on SVC Ms. Bangura to Quebec City where she met with civil society organizations, and addressed the Small Group Meeting of the of Political Directors of the Anti-ISIS Coalition, Canada announced a contribution to the work of her Office of up to $3 million over three years.
Source: Auswärtiges Amt, Germany
|This Information System is provided by the University of Toronto Libraries and the G7 Research Group at the University of Toronto.|
Please send comments to:
This page was last updated December 05, 2015.
All contents copyright © 2021. University of Toronto unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.