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William Hague, Angelina Jolie Pitt and Baroness Helic to give evidence to Lords

8 September 2015

The new House of Lords ad hoc Committee charged with considering the UK's policy and practice of preventing sexual violence in conflict held its first evidence session on Tuesday 8 September, where it took evidence from William Hague, Angelina Jolie Pitt and Baroness Helic.


Tuesday 8 September in Committee Room 2, Palace of Westminster.

At 3:45pm:

  • Rt Hon Mr William Hague, former Foreign Secretary and co-founder of the PSVI
  • Baroness Helic, former Special Adviser to William Hague
  • Ms Angelina Jolie Pitt, Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and co-founder of the PSVI

As Foreign Secretary, Mr Hague launched the UK's Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) in May 2012. Ms Jolie Pitt is Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and co-founder of the PSVI. Baroness Helic, is a foreign policy expert and was Mr Hague's Special Adviser during his time at the Foreign Office. Baroness Helic originally proposed the establishment of the Committee.


Questions the Committee asked the witnesses included:

  • How and why did PSVI come into being?
  • What are the root causes of sexual violence in conflict?
  • PSVI set out to prevent the use of rape and other forms of sexual violence as a weapon of war. In what areas has PSVI made the most, and the least, progress?
  • One of the most high-profile objectives of PSVI has been ending the culture of impunity. What is the rationale for focusing on the issue of impunity and what evidence is there that ending impunity would end rape in war?
  • How should the UK Government and the international community respond to the use of rape, sexual slavery and forced marriage as an instrument of terror by State, but also non-State actors, such as ISIL?
  • Given that national governments are obligated under international law to prevent sexual violence in armed conflict, how can the international community further support those that are willing, and press those who resist, so that all governments fulfil this obligation?
  • Going forward, what are the key milestones that the UK and the international community must achieve in order to eradicate rape as a weapon of war?

Further information

Image: Parliamentary copyright