Robin Barnett

Ambassador to Poland, Warsaw

Part of Foreign Office Human Rights UK in Poland

10th June 2014 Warsaw, Poland

PSVI Global Summit in London – Time To Act

In May 2012, British Foreign Secretary William Hague launched the “Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative” or “PSVI” In short, PSVI is about preventing the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon in conflict. In so many conflict situations, it affects not only large numbers of women, but also men and children. However, the perpetrators of such appalling crimes are rarely brought to justice. For example, only around 30 people have so far been convicted for the up to 50,000 rapes committed during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s. So the overarching aim of the Initiative is to replace the culture of impunity with one of deterrence.

Thanks to global support, including active engagement from Poland, we have already seen important progress in recent years. Since September 2013, 144 countries have signed up to the joint Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, which was launched at last September’s UN General Assembly.

But there is much more to do. The next key milestone will take place in London today. The Foreign Secretary and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Special Envoy Angelina Jolie will jointly host the PSVI Global Summit. This will be the largest ever international gathering on this issue. The Summit will run for four days and host an anticipated 1,200 delegates, including government officials, representatives of international organisations, and a broad range of experts from civil society right around the world.

One of the key deliverables from the Summit will be the launch of an “International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict”. This will be a practical tool, which will set out the guidelines to be used by first responders to provide victims with the appropriate and consistent help and support to ensure that information about attacks is recorded and stored in a proper way to aid future prosecutions.

Although not in conflict today, Poland has experienced hardship and suffering as a result of wars and occupation. We were reminded last week as we celebrated the 25th anniversary of Solidarity’s election victory in 1989 that peace and freedom are hard won and need to be preserved, not least given the Ukraine crisis. Sadly, there are still many others around the world who still live in fear of war, conflict and sexual violence. So the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative is hugely relevant to us all.

I encourage you to keep track of PSVI and Global Summit events here, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

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About Robin Barnett

Robin Barnett arrived in Warsaw on 4 July 2011 to take up his appointment as British Ambassador to Poland. His previous career has concentrated on Central and Eastern Europe and…

Robin Barnett arrived in Warsaw on 4 July 2011 to take up his
appointment as British Ambassador to Poland. His previous career has
concentrated on Central and Eastern Europe and multi-lateral diplomacy.
This is his third posting to Poland which he remembers from the times of
both martial law and NATO accession. Robin’s third arrival coincides
with Poland’s first ever EU Presidency. The Ambassador presented his
credentials to President Bronislaw Komorowski on 19 September 2011.
Born in 1958, Robin studied Law at Birmingham University and
then joined the FCO in 1980 as Desk Officer for Indonesia and the
Philippines. His first posting to Poland was in 1982-85 as Third and
later Second Secretary. Robin then returned to London for five years to
work as Desk Officer at ECD and Security Policy Department. Between 1990
and 1995 he served as First Secretary at the UK Delegations in Vienna
and New York. In 1996-1998 Robin was back in London as Deputy Head of
the Eastern Adriatic Department at the FCO. Then came his second posting
to Poland, this time as Deputy Head of Mission. He left Warsaw in 2001
to work in the Afghanistan Emergency Unit at the FCO.Between 2002 and
2006 Robin wasDirector of UK Visas and was subsequently appointed Her
Majesty’s Ambassador to Romania. During his four-year mission Robin
witnessed Romania’s accession to the European Union, 17 years after the
fall of Communism. Immediately before his appointment as Her Majesty’s
Ambassador to Poland Robin was Managing Director of the Business Group
in UK Trade and Investment where his main focus included Inward
Investment, the English trade development network and corporate
On his appointment Robin has said “I am truly delighted to be
returning to a country that I know so well and have a deep respect for.
The UK and Poland already have a strong relationship and there are close
ties between our two peoples. My main aims will be to help develop
further our forward looking partnership and to promote British interests
in Poland.”
Robin has a son and a stepson and is a great admirer of Sir Alex
Ferguson. His favourite football team can be no other than Manchester

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