Women in armed conflict

Women increasingly bear the burden of armed conflict, being the targets of specific forms of violence and abuse, including sexual violence and exploitation and other physical violence and harassment. Those who survive the attacks suffer from psychological trauma, permanent physical injury and, long-term health risks.

Special Rapporteur on violence against women

The United Nations and its several bodies and commissions play a major role in addressing the plight of women victims in war.

In 1994, the UN Commission on Human Rights created the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequencesto investigate violence against women worldwide. Since March 2006, the Special Rapporteur reports to the Human Rights Council. The Rapporteur undertakes fact-finding missions, transmits urgent appeals and submits annual thematic reports to the Human Rights Council.

Sexual violence in conflicts

In the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, adopted in 1998, rape and any other forms of sexual violence have been defined as crimes against humanity.

The Secretarty-General has appointed a Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict to serve as the Untied Nation’s spokesperson and political advocate on conflict-related sexual violence and is chair of the network UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict.

The report Women, War and Peace

The report Women, war and peace is an independent experts' assessment on the impact of armed conflict on women and women's role in peace-building, and is authored by Elisabeth Rehn and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The two experts recommend strengthened protection of women and measures to address violence against women and gender discrimination in conflict and post-conflict situations, coordination within the entire UN system to ensure implementation of commitments made to women, systematic data collection and communication on the gender dimensions of conflict and consistent commitment to gender equality in all peace-building activities.

See also DagDok on Women's rights and UN Women.

More on UN and Women in armed conflict

  • Security Council Resolution (S/RES/1325), unanimously adopted in 2000, is a landmark resolution on women, peace and security, the role of women in peace-building and the gender dimensions of peace processes and conflict resolution
  • Security Council Resolution (S/RES/1820). As a further step, the UN Security Council adopted this resolution unanimously on 19 June, 2008. It condemns sexual violence in conflict situations. The Security Council stresses that rape can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity and a constituent act of genocide
  • Security Council Resolution (S/RES/2122). On 18 October 2013, by unanimous vote, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution that sets in place stronger measures to enable women to participate in conflict resolution and recovery
  • Women, Peace and Security. The resolution 1325 (2000) initiated an assessment of women in armed conflict.
  • Division for the Advancement of Women continuously reviews the thematic issue of women's equal participation in conflict prevention, management and conflict resolution and in post-conflict peace-building.
  • UN Peacekeeping and Empowering Women on gender perspectives in conflicts.

UN documents and publications in catalogues and databases

  • United Nations Digital Library offers UN documents and open access publications, UN voting data and speeches, UN maps, Content in 6+ languages. Replaces the traditional online catalogue UNBISnet.
  • UN iLibrary UN publications online covering different topics.
  • ODS full-text UN documents published from 1993 onward and scanned documents published between 1946 and 1993 in the official languages of the UN.
  • Daily list of documents (ODS). Documents published for the day, with full text links, can be found in the United Nations full text database ODS.
  • UNBIS Thesaurus a multilingual database of the controlled vocabulary used to describe UN documents.
  • Index to proceedings is an annual bibliographic guide to the proceedings and documentation of the major UN organs. The index includes:
    • a list of all documents
    • a comprehensive subject index
    • an index to speeches
    • a voting chart of resolutions
  • United Nations Documents Index (United Nations Digital Library) References to all documents by subject area are published. A collection of indexes is held by the Dag Hammarskjöld and Law Library, Uppsala, and the Libraries at UN Headquarters in New York and Geneva.