BRITISH High Commissioner to Solomon Islands Dominic Meiklenjohn said violence against those vulnerable, including women, during conflicts is a serious concern that must be addressed.
He uttered this in parallel to the ‘Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict’ that will begin today in London.
It is an international declaration by England in recognition of sexual violence in conflicts established in May 2012 and endorsed by 137 countries.
Co-hosting the summit will be British Foreign Secretary William Hague and UN Special Envoy Angelina Jolie.
Mr Meiklenjohn said the declaration seeks to end impunity and sexual violence in conflict.
He said Solomon Islands is not a signatory to the declaration yet but the issue is relevant to the country.
“The declaration seeks specifically to help address sexual violence in conflicts, in improving investigations and documentation of sexual violence in conflict, provide greater support and assistance, reparation for survivors including child survivors of sexual violence,” he said.
“To ensure sexual and gender based violence responses and the promotion of gender equality are fully integrated in all peace and security efforts including security and justice sector reform. And improve international strategic co-ordination.”
He explained achieving this; the summit will launch the first international protocol on the documentation and investigation of sexual violence in conflict.
“The protocol will help investigators preserve information and evidence in the aftermath of an attack, improve the chances of someone being successfully prosecuted later, and protect victims and survivors from further trauma,” he said.
Mr Meiklenjohn added governments attending the summit will declare their stand on the protocol to encourage local activists, lawyers, police personnel and doctors to use it.
“We want governments to make sure that their national laws on rape and sexual violence are in line with international standards, so there are greater chances of securing successful prosecutions for war crimes in their own courts.
“More so the summit will also look at the role that the military can play.”
The ‘Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict’ starts today and ends on Friday, to be attended by signatories to the declaration including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
By BRADFORD THEONOMI