New York, 23 February 2023 (TDI): The United Nations Security Council (UNSC), was given a mandate to field mission in order to prevent and respond to Conflict-related Sexual Violence (CRSV).

CRSV is violence motivated by political, military, or economic objectives to control territory or resources.

It is used to target civilians, that inflict long-term trauma, and humiliation, fracturing families, and social fabric, triggering displacement, and fueling the activities of armed groups.

The meaning of the CRSV refers to “rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, forced abortion, enforced sterilization, forced marriage. 

Moreover, it also includes another form of sexual violence of comparable gravity perpetrated against women, men, girls, or boys that is directly or indirectly linked to a conflict. 

Women and girls are the most vulnerable victims of this violence which shows gender discrimination and inequality.

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“Sexual violence is a threat to every individual’s right to a life of dignity, and humanity’s collective peace and security,” said, António Guterres. 

CRSV constitutes a crime that is preventable and punishable under International Human Rights Law, International Humanitarian Law, and International Criminal Law. 

The issues that come under this mandate are based on human rights, child protection, protection of civilians, and women, peace and security, and wider prevention responsibilities. 

Four peacekeeping missions are mandated to address CRSV:

  1. MINUSCA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic)
  2. MINUSMA (The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali)
  3. MONUSCO (The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo)
  4. UNMISS (The United Nations Mission in South Sudan). 

Engagements of CRSV

The are multiple actors required to work this mandate that includes, including host countries, the United Nations Country and Humanitarian Teams (UNCT/HCT), non-governmental organizations, and civil society organizations.

The aim is to mainstream the CRSV within the mission through monitoring and reporting, provision of physical protection, negotiation with parties to the conflict, advocacy, arising awareness, capacity building and training, and ending impunity. 

Women Protection Advisers

The Women’s Protection Advisors include Senior Women’s Protection Advisers (SWPAs) and Women’s Protection Advisors (WPAs). These fulfill a crucial role in implementing the CRSV protection mandate of United Nations field missions. 

These women personnel are currently deployed to four peacekeeping missions. They are responsible for leading and planning the CRSV mandate and mainstreaming CRSV through mission-wide planning, policies, operations, and programmes.

Peacekeeping Missions

MINUSMA

MINUSMA is made to address sexual violence, it plays a crucial role in relaying information on CRSV risks and cases to the SWPA and then shared with other concerned mission components. 

MONUSCO

In MONUSCO, physical protection provided by the Force enables WPAs to coordinate the deployment of several mobile clinics.

This is done in partnership with health institutions to provide psycho-social, medical, legal, and economic assistance to survivors of CRSV in South Kivu province.

UNAMID

In UNAMID, the issues of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) are addressed. 

UNMISS

While in UNMISS, CRSV early-warning indicators are integrated into the mission’s Early Warning and Early Response Working Group enhancing prevention and protection. 

MINUSCA

In MINUSCA, sustained collaboration with the UNCT and the Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict bolsters the establishment of a national specialized unit.

This unit investigates sexual violence and is known as the Joint Rapid Response and Prevention Unit for Sexual Violence against Women and Children (UMIRR). 

Challenges 

It has been reported that the team faced various challenges in their missions that include reporting due to social stigma, discrimination, logistical issues, gaps in resources, and accountability constraints.

It is pertinent to note that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted the following resolutions to mandate CRSV:

  1. Security Council Resolution 1325
  2. Security Council Resolution 1820
  3. Security Council Resolution 1888
  4. Security Council Resolution 1889
  5. Security Council Resolution 1960
  6. Security Council Resolution 2106
  7. Security Council Resolution 2106
  8. Security Council Resolution 2242
  9. Security Council Resolution 2331
  10. Security Council Resolution 2467
  11. Security Council Resolution 2493

Reports

The UN Secretary-General produces global reports on armed conflicts, in which CRSV tracks are checked.

Some of the reports are the 2020 Secretary-General Report of CRSV, the 2019 Secretary-General Report of CRSV, the 2018 Secretary-General Report of CRSV, the 2017 Secretary-General Report of CRSV, & the 2016 Secretary-General Report of CRSV.