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Submission to UK International Development Committee — Gender and Mass Atrocities

The following responds specifically to the topic: How the UK Government’s approach to atrocity prevention interacts with other government policies and areas of work, such as the FCDO’s approach to conflict prevention, the Women, Peace and Security agenda and the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative

Gender inequality is itself a root cause of mass violence and also increases its harm on disadvantaged groups, including women and gender minorities. As such, prevention that incorporates a gender lens has routinely been found to be more effective at adequately responding to situations of mass  atrocities and creating lasting peace. Prevention models must actively dismantle structural inequality through equitable representation in their programming, targeted efforts to prevent and suppress sexual and gender-based violence (“SGBV”), and include gender sensitivity in all stages of their responses. Despite the clear connection between successful atrocity prevention and gender integration, there are significant gaps in how States conceptualize and implement atrocity prevention. The failure to reckon with gendered experiences in prevention is evidenced by limited inclusion of gender indicia, or inclusion of overly simplified gender-related indicia, in early warning systems and risk assessments.

This submission outlines the need for UK leadership on gendering atrocity prevention and core principles to guide that leadership. First, it provides an overview of how gender informs the commission, planning, and harm of mass atrocity crimes, thus necessitating a gendered response. Second, it demonstrates how the inadequate accountability mechanisms, particularly gender gaps, feed the shortcomings of prevention frameworks. Third, the submission maps key international legal standards which must guide the UK’s prevention efforts and identify concrete measures for the integration of gender in atrocity prevention. Fourth, it assesses the opportunities and challenges in the UK’s current policies on atrocity prevention and their implementation. Finally, it provides recommendations on how the UK can improve its policies and practice with regard to atrocity prevention.

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