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Paul Madden

British Ambassador to Japan

Part of UK in Australia

12th June 2014

#TimeToAct – emblazoned across the Australian sky

Parliament House, Canberra

I’m not a fan of hot air. Although when you’re floating in a balloon over Australia’s capital city Canberra, and it’s the only thing keeping you up there, you’re rather glad of it. The balloon was emblazoned with the hashtag #TimeToAct. We were drawing attention to the Global Summit on Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict, which is taking place in London this week.

Parliament House, Canberra
Parliament House, Canberra

It is the biggest ever summit of its kind. And it’s anything but hot air. The focus is on urgent actions to tackle this terrible scourge. Using rape as a weapon of war is one of the most horrendous crimes imaginable. It is used to terrorise, humiliate and ethnically cleanse. It is found all over the world, wherever conflict exists. Twenty years ago in Europe as many as 50,000 women and girls were raped in Bosnia, but there have been only 30 convictions. The perpetrators usually walk away unpunished whilst the victims silently bear stigma and shame alongside their suffering. There are similar stories from conflict zones in many countries.

That’s why William Hague, together with Angelina Jolie, is hosting the Global Summit this week. Countries are going to be signing up to a new International Protocol on documenting and investigating sexual violence in conflict. And they will be supporting financial and technical assistance for legal and health professionals and NGOs working in conflict zones. This will increase the prospect of attackers being prosecuted.

We flew over Australia’s Parliament building where, just last week, Foreign Minster Julie Bishop and I co-hosted a Dialogue on Sexual Violence in Conflict, demonstrating Australia’s strong support for the initiative. Australia is being represented in London this week by its Ambassador for Women and Girls, Natasha Stott Despoja and its Chief of Army, Lt Gen David Morrison.

Personally I am not very keen on heights, so it was with some trepidation that I clambered into the basket. But we wanted to use this great opportunity to draw the attention of the Australian media and the public to this very important event. See the videoblog here.

The Summit is not just about changing laws; it’s about changing mindsets. We want to create a groundswell of public opinion around the world to end the culture of impunity and ensure justice is done. Everyone can join in to offer their support. As the hashtag says, it’s #timetoact.

HE Paul Madden in the hot air balloon basket
HE Paul Madden in the hot air balloon basket

About Paul Madden

Paul Madden has been the British Ambassador to Japan from January 2017. He was Additional Director for Asia Pacific at the FCO in 2015.He was British High Commissioner to Australia…

Paul Madden has been the British Ambassador to Japan from January 2017.

He was Additional Director for Asia Pacific at the FCO in 2015.He was British High Commissioner to Australia until February 2015. Prior to this he was British High Commissioner in Singapore from 2007-2011.

A career diplomat, he was previously Managing Director at UK Trade and Investment (2004-2006), responsible for co-ordinating and
implementing international trade development strategies to support
companies across a wide range of business sectors.

As Assistant Director of Information at the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office (2003-2004) he was responsible for public diplomacy policy,
including managing the FCO funding of the BBC World Service, the British
Council and the Chevening Scholarships programme. He led the team
responsible for the award-winning UK pavilion at the Aichi Expo in Japan

He was Deputy High Commissioner in Singapore from 2000-2003 and has
also served in Washington (1996-2000) and Tokyo (1988-92). Between
1992-96 he worked on EU enlargement and Environmental issues at the FCO
in London.

Before joining FCO he worked at the Department of Trade and Industry
(1980-87) on a range of industrial sectors and trade policy, including
two years as a minister’s Private Secretary.

He has an MA in Economic Geography from Cambridge University, an MBA
from Durham University, studied Japanese at London University’s School
of Oriental and African Studies, and is a Fellow of the Royal
Geographical Society. His first book, Raffles: Lessons in Business
Leadership, was published in 2003.

Married to Sarah, with three children, he was born in 1959, in Devon.