ECR2P Assists NGO Report on the 2017 UK General Election Manifestos

Ben Willis, POLIS PhD Researcher, has contributed to a report by the UK-based NGO Protection Approaches on the manifesto pledges of the major UK political parties.

UK parties must do more to tackle all forms of identity-based violence, according to a detailed analysis of the general election manifestos by the NGO Protection Approaches. Ben Willis, PhD Researcher at ECR2P-POLIS, provided research assistance on the report, ‘Protecting Populations from Identity-Based Violence: A Review of the 2017 General Election Manifestos’.

Published last week, the report reviews the manifesto pledges of the major UK political parties with regard to combatting identity-based violence both at home and abroad. It offers insight into the kinds of policies that the parties can be expected to enact if they are to form a government following the election. According to the report, the Liberal Democrats provide the most comprehensive set of domestic and international commitments towards the overarching issue of identity-based violence.

On mass atrocity prevention, the Lib Dems are the only party that make explicit their commitment to the Responsibility to Protect and the need for protective military action in cases where other means have been exhausted. The Labour Party and others have taken more “anti-interventionist” stances than they did in 2015, but do not fully address how they would meet the distinct challenge of protecting civilians from atrocity crimes. The Lib Dems and Labour both express a commitment to finding a diplomatic solution in Syria, breaking through UN gridlock, and working with international allies against Daesh. The Conservative manifesto does not mention conflict prevention, atrocity prevention, Syria, or Daesh.

The main findings of the report:

· Across the political spectrum, the UK’s mainstream political parties are embracing a more coherent approach to fighting domestic discrimination and promoting social cohesion

· Most manifesto commitments are made in response to pressure from civil society, rather than from a shared responsibility to protect all victims of discrimination and identity-based violence.

· Only the Liberal Democrats explicitly acknowledge the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, ethnic cleansing and other mass atrocities

· The stand taken by many parties against ‘aggressive wars of intervention’ may be popular but we are concerned by how all parties would protect civilians from the threat of mass atrocities

· There is a growing commitment from parties to halting arms sales to human rights-violating regimes, but the UK’s obligations to protect civilians go beyond our export policy

· Most parties underline the need to tackle some forms of identity-based violence abroad – namely violence against women and girls, LGBT+ communities, and sexual violence in conflict. However, other identity groups and minorities remain excluded as no ‘lens’ of identity-based violence prevention is being applied in the formation of foreign and international development policies

The full report can be accessed here and offers analysis of the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green, UKIP, SNP and Plaid Cmyru manifestos. Any related enquiries can be directed to: +44 (0)20 3632 4545 / +44 (0)7715 475357