British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on Tuesday announced £18 million of new funding to end child marriage in Bangladesh and 11 other countries through partners UNICEF and UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund).
Apart from Bangladesh this funding will benefit women and girls in 111 other countries, including Sierra Leone, Uganda, Ethiopia and Yemen.
UK support for this work has already helped avert 25 million child marriages over the last decade.
This investment will strengthen laws and policies, improve girls’ access to sexual and reproductive health services, support girls to access formal and informal education and tackle the harmful beliefs underlying child marriage.
Liz Truss launched a major global campaign to stop sexual violence against women and girls in conflict around the world.
Speaking at an event for the Gender Equality Advisory Council (GEAC) – established under the UK’s G7 Presidency to support women and girls around the world – the foreign secretary, who is also the UK’s Minister for Women and Equalities, kick started a major new push by the UK to shatter the culture of impunity around the use of rape and sexual violence as weapons of war.
She is bringing together close partners to condemn rape and sexual violence in conflict as a “red line”. All options are on the table, including an international convention, to end such heinous acts once and for all.
She also announced that the UK will host a global conference next year to unite the world in action to prevent sexual violence in conflict.
The conference will bring together foreign ministers from all over the world in support of the campaign to end impunity for violence against women and girls.
The announcements are the start of a wider move by the foreign secretary to ensure women and girls are at the centre of the UK’s foreign policy priorities.
The UK is already a world leader in tackling violence against women and girls, and supporting their rights internationally.