International Women’s Day Commemorated in Parliament With An Event Hosted By Helen Hayes MP And Organised By Sally Keeble Focusing On The Use of Extreme Sexual Violence Against the Women of Tigray. It included speeches from Lucy Kassa, a brave Ethiopian journalist, Filsan Abdullahi, former Ethiopian Women’s Minister, lawyer Ewelina Ochab and Labour Spokesman Lord (Ray) Collins.
During “Beyond Surviving” – an event held at Westminster – Members of the Commons and the Lords heard disturbing accounts of the horrific use of extreme sexual violence against women and girls in Tigray by Eritrean and Ethiopian soldiers. Shocking and disturbing accounts were shared of gang rape by groups of soldiers; of rapes of girls as young as eight years of age; the mutilation of women’s genitals – in order to prevent them from ever giving birth to Tigrayan children.
Lord Alton of Liverpool (David Alton), speaking as co-chair of the All Parry Parliamentary Group on Eritrea, said that the UK Government needed to do much more to ensure that those responsible for these appalling crimes are brought to justice. He said that the UN Security Council and the UN Human Rights Council had often failed miserably to uphold the Convention on the Crime of Genocide. The UN Security Council been thwarted from referring perpetrators to the International Criminal Court because of the use of veto by permanent members with links to the regimes responsible. He said that France and the UK needed to act in concert in pressing for the removal of the veto in cases of atrocity crimes, including the use of rape as weapon of war against women and girls. He said that under the darkness of the terrible events unfolding in Ukraine the world must not be allowed to forget the continued suffering of Tigray.