United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Practice Relating to Rule 134. Women
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981) states: “Priority in the order of medical treatment is decided only for urgent medical reasons. Women are to be treated with all consideration due to their sex.”
The manual further provides: “PW [prisoners of war] are entitled in all circumstances to respect for their persons and their honour. Specific mention is made of women in this respect.”
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states in its chapter on the protection of civilians in the hands of a party to the conflict: “Women must be accorded ‘special respect and shall be protected in particular against rape, forced prostitution and any other form of indecent assault’.”
In its chapter relating to the wounded and sick, the manual states: “Women must be treated with special respect and no less favourably than men.”
In 2006, in a written answer to a question in the House of Commons concerning, inter alia, “what measures are in place to promote among members of the armed forces recognition of the disproportionate impact of conflict on women and girls”, the UK Minister of State for Armed Forces stated:
The provisions of UNSCR [UN Security Council Resolution] 1325 [on women peace and security] are reflected in the training of UK service personnel in the Law of Armed Conflict and in the pre-deployment preparations. In addition, pre-deployment planning covers social and cultural issues, including specific gender issues that should be taken into account.
The UK Government Strategy on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict (2010) states: “Specific population groups such as women … benefit from additional protection provided for in specific conventions.”
The UK Military Manual (1958) contains several rules intended to protect specifically maternity cases and pregnant women.
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981) contains specific rules intended to protect expectant women and mothers with children under seven years of age.
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states: “Pregnant women and mothers of dependent children who are arrested, detained or interned for reasons related to the armed conflict must have their cases considered with the utmost priority.”
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states:
Pregnant women and mothers of dependent children who are arrested, detained or interned for reasons related to the armed conflict must have their cases considered with the utmost priority. For these women, the pronouncement of the death penalty should be avoided, as far as that is possible, and the execution of the death penalty is forbidden. In any event, United Kingdom courts may not impose death sentences.