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Women, War, Peace and

“The primary challenge in the mission is to overcome the view that gender and human rights are ‘soft’ issues that take resources away from the ‘core’ functions of the mission’s mandate, such as establishing a judiciary or a power authority.”
Sherrill Whittington, Chief, Gender Affairs Unit, UNTAET

“Gender mainstreaming requires specialized expertise and training in all aspects of mission operation. It requires programmatic integration of gender into all elements of activity, throughout the various ‘pillars’ of governance and humanitarian efforts. It requires regular monitoring, reporting and evaluation of progress made and obstacles encountered, as well as systems for holding the operation accountable to achieving its goals. Finally, it requires resources to put all of these measures in place. Gender mainstreaming needs to start from the very beginning of a mission to ensure that structures and programmes are designed to address the different needs of women and men for protection, assistance, justice and reconstruction.”
Elisabeth Rehn, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Independent Expert’s Assessment


Although the word ‘peacekeeping’ is not in the UN Charter, the UN Security Council has deployed 56 peacekeeping operations into conflict and post-conflict situations since 1948. Known as “blue helmets” or “blue berets” UN peacekeeping personnel is made up of contingents from a number of countries who are tasked with patrolling buffer zones between hostile parties, monitoring ceasefires, and assisting the hostile populations in their search for durable peace. In recent years, the scope of peacekeeping has widened to include larger numbers of civilians as civilian police officers, electoral experts and observers, deminers, human rights monitors, and specialists in civil affairs and communications. Their responsibilities range from protecting and delivering humanitarian assistance, to helping former opponents carry out complicated peace agreements; from assisting with the demobilization of former fighters and their return to normal life, to supervising and conducting elections; from training civilian police, to monitoring respect for human rights and investigating alleged violations. More than 1,650 military and civilian peacekeepers have died while serving in United Nations operations. more...

The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations concludes that women make a positive difference to peacekeeping, and that “women’s presence improves access and support for local women it makes me peacekeepers more reflective and responsible; and it broadens the repertoire of skills and styles available within the mission, often with the effect of reducing conflict and confrontation. Gender mainstreaming,” the report says,” is not just fair, it is beneficial.” Each component of the peacekeeping involves the participation of women and each has crucial consequences for women and men of the host country. In contemporary peacekeeping environments, military and civilian personnel are taking on new functions that increase their contact with women; both in providing protection and in supporting women’s role in peace building. Military observers are taking on more complex responsibilities traditionally carried out by civilian, humanitarian and human rights officers, e.g. humanitarian assessments in inaccessible areas. Women do more than act as gender advisers in peace operations, but participate throughout, although not in senior positions. more...

Defining Terms

What is Gender mainstreaming in peace operations? “mainstreaming a gender perspective in multidimensional peacekeeping … [means] that gender issues, such as increased equality and observing gender specific needs, become a natural element in all parts of the peacekeeping mission. Gender issues will not be handled by a special department alone but rather be a part of the work of the existing organization, both in the field and at the headquarters.”

What is a Gender Adviser or Unit? In general, gender advisers and units are responsible for ensuring that gender concerns are integrated into all of the mission's programmes and activities; raising gender awareness among international staff at all levels of authority; reaching out to groups of women at the grassroots level; conducting gender training for peacekeepers, military observers and civilian police; and in some cases, assisting in building the capacity of women to participate in the peace process and helping form a national machinery for women.

What is a peacekeeping operation? For detailed background description of peacekeeping operations, go to DPKO website

Who are peacekeepers? The UN Security Council Resolution creates, defines and authorizes a peacekeeping mission mandate under the UN Charter V, VI, and VII. Department of Political Affairs (DPA), Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), and Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) advise Secretary-General and Special Representative of Secretary-General (SRSG) who is the head of the operation, on structuring the operation. Peace operations are based on voluntary contribution of resources, personnel and equipment by the member states. International or regional peacekeeping operations are also created and formed by regional organizations such as NATO, OSCE, ECOWAS, or international coalitions.

What kind of role do peace operations play? Since the end of the Cold War, the scope of UN peacekeeping has expanded and become increasingly complex and multidimensional involving peace-building, peace enforcement and nation-building, compared to traditional ceasefire observation missions.

  • Observer missions are traditional peacekeeping deployed to monitor ceasefire agreements and investigate and report violations, based on the consent of opposing parties and with the use of force only for self-defense. It prevents the outbreak or the spill-over of conflict. Examples include the operations in Golan heights and India-Pakistan.

  • Peacekeeping operations are deployed to stabilize conflict situations after a ceasefire to create an environment for the parties to reach a lasting peace agreement or to assist implementation of peace agreements.

  • Enforcement operations are based on the Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which gives UN Member States the authority to take all necessary measures to achieve international peace and stability. Consent of the parties is not necessarily required. Examples include Rwanda, Somalia, Haiti and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

  • 'Nation building' missions such as the missions to East Timor, Kosovo, and Cambodia lead states or territories through a transition to stable government based on democratic principles, good governance and economic development.

Components of peace missions

  • Military: Military peacekeepers’ role includes stabilizing the security situation, monitoring cease-fires, overseeing the withdrawal of armed forces, disarming combatants, protecting the population in demilitarized zones, and protecting humanitarian aid delivery.

  • Civilian police (CIVPOL): CIVPOL's role includes establishing the rule of law, restructuring and supporting national police and judicial systems in accordance with international standards of criminal justice, human rights, and democracy.

  • Civilian components: The role includes electoral supervision, administrative components, human rights monitoring.

  • Humanitarian affairs: humanitarian assistance—both food and services are provided under the coordination of OCHA.

Gender Components of Peace Operations

Protection and assistance for women

  • Security provision by peacekeeper is crucial in the insecure post-conflict situation where women are particularly vulnerable to including the threat of sexual violence.

  • CIVPOL is not only responsible for providing security but also helping establish the local population's trust in the police as an institution where military and/or police forces may have violated human rights and thus been feared by local populations.

  • Especially in the case of rape, sexual assault, domestic violence and other crimes against women, the role of female police, interpreters and specialists is critical to create an environment where women feel safer and able to report cases.

  • Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of ex-combatants, which constitute many peacekeeping mandates, need gender perspective. more...

  • Individual women and women’s organizations in Bosnia, East Timor, and Sierra Leone have benefited from security provision by peacekeepers. more...

Participation of Local women

  • In missions which involve human rights monitoring, electoral assistance and establishing civil administrations, it is critical to identify and address the gender perspectives in these areas, especially in the light of particular local norms and customs that obstruct women’s participation.

  • Though many local women find work in support positions for the mission as secretaries and language assistants, very few women or men are hired locally as professionals.

  • UNMIK created a consultative group of local representatives called the Kosovo Transitional Council (KTC). Of its twelve initial members, none of them were female. Since the Joint Interim Administrative Structure (JIAS) was created and the Interim Administrative Council (IAC) was established in December 1999 as the SRSG’s main consultative body, the KTC was enlarged to include thirty-six members, some 17% of whom are women. However, the creation of IAC led to the loss of importance of the KTC. All three Albanian representatives on the IAC are male while the Serb representative is female. An observer position for a civil society representative was created and Albanian women took up the position. more...


Fact Sheet

  • Peacekeeping missions are deployed in situations of great insecurity and instability where women face high risk of violence and sexual abuses. Peacekeepers take responsibility to prevent and protect women against violence, especially gender-based violence.

  • Women are socially and economically affected by ‘peacekeeping environment,’ which is created by a large influx of well-paid international peacekeeping staff – military and non-military. Young women can become involved in and affected by industries and services such as bars and hotels that spring up with the arrival of peacekeeping operations. Many women also find work in support positions for the mission, as secretaries and language assistants. more...

  • In Peace Operations that have a nation-building mandate, the mission determines “everything from a population’s access to water, energy and sanitation, among other resources, to defining legal status, constitutional guarantees and creating an electoral framework — all of which have a direct effect on women.” more... Substantial interface with the civil society indicates that it needs to be ensured the perspectives of women, who compose half the population, are included and understood in planning interventions. more... The UN Transitional Authority in East Timor (UNTAET) supported the creation of the Office of the Advisor for the Promotion of Equality and is given credit for the significant participation of women in Development Councils and the National Council. Establishing a gender unit within a peace operation is an excellent basis on which to support the basics of a national machinery for women in a newly independent or transitional administration.

  • The Department of Peacekeeping Operations has found that women’s presence in missions improves access and support for local women and makes male peacekeepers more reflective and responsible. more... Studies show that the leadership attitudes towards gender are fundamental to whether gender perspective is incorporated into policies and implemented in the operation and the host nation. more...

  • The existence of and accessibility to female peacekeepers is especially critical for local women in the context where many women have already experienced sexual trauma and other violence by mostly male combatants in the war. Women experience fear of “seeing yet more men in uniform and positions of authority – even peacekeepers.” Also in some host societies, women may not be allowed to speak to male strangers for cultural and religious reasons. Thus, women peacekeepers are easier for local women to access, especially regarding gender-based violence. It should be also noted that women's presence does not guarantee that local women's concerns will be heard, considered and addressed or that human rights abuses by peacekeepers are deterred. more...

  • During the first four decades of the UN’s existence only three of its peacekeeping missions included civilian police units (UNCIVPOL). But since the end of the Cold War, civilian police have been part of more than twenty UN peace missions and are second in number only to military personnel. Despite the effectiveness of female CIVPOL in dealing with cases of rape, sexual assault, domestic violence and other crimes against women, the number of female CIVPOL has been low throughout UN peacekeeping history.

  • In the history of UN peacekeeping, only five women have held leadership and command positions: Margaret Joan Anstee, UN Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEMII, 1992-93), Angela King, head of mission for UN Observer Mission to South Africa (UNOMSA , 1992-94), Elizabeth Rehn, SRSG to the UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH, 1995-2001), Ann Hercus, UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP, 1998-99), and Heidi Tagliavini, SRSG in UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG, 2002-current).

  • The UN deployed gender specialists for the first time in the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK, Gender Unit), the UN Transitional Authority in East Timor (UNTAET, Gender Unit) and Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL, Gender Specialist within the Human Rights Division) in 1999 and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC, Gender Office) in 2000 (independent report). But in Kosovo, the Gender Unit was positioned within the Civil Administration pillar not the SRSG’s office as planned. Following the elections of August 2001 in East Timor, the UNTAET Gender Affairs Unit became the office of the Advisor for the Promotion of Equality, located within the Office of the Chief Minister.

  • In UNOMSA in South Africa, 46-53% of civilian personnel were women where the leaders, especially Angela King, head of mission, made it a priority to recruit qualified, international and local civilian women. more...

  • In Kosovo, the Gender Unit has worked in collaboration with other elements of the mission to gather sex-disaggregated data, collaborated in the development of Victim and Witness Protection programmes, and developed a network of Gender Focal Points throughout the regional offices of the UN administration. Gender Focal Points deal with personnel issues at the mission level, whereas a Special Gender Advisor deals with programmes and activities of the mission.

  • The UN’s Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) is an example of comprehensive achievements of a Gender Unit. The Unit raised awareness with the mission staff, built capacity, worked with East Timorese women to incorporate their concerns into mission policies, assisted the East Timorese Women’s Network to promote, implement and monitor their Platform for Action, which outlines the major societal issues they wanted to have addressed by the Transitional Administration and by the future government, ensured the development of gender action plans throughout the districts and departments as well as maintaining a focus on gender issues in the media through the Gender Focal Point network, ensured that gender is incorporated into UNTAET legislation, provided advice to the General Prosecutor, trained the Timor Lorosa’e Police Force and UNCIVPOL on appropriate responses to domestic violence and interviewing victims of such crimes, assisted women candidates to prepare for the elections and educated women in the electoral process, collaborated with the Civil Service and Public Employment Unit to improve gender mainstreaming in recruitment and appointments to decision-making bodies, and conducted gender analysis and gathered gender-sensitive data/indicators. more...

  • The UN’s Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) gender office has worked towards gender mainstreaming throughout the UN mission, and has also collaborated with local women’s organizations. The gender office has its own website. more...

  • Male and female peacekeepers working together as equals as a model has a positive impact on breaking-down traditional views and stereotypes of women in the local communities. When there is a critical mass of women, it may have the effect of mobilizing women in the local communities to peace-building, reconstruction and democratization of the country. more... “With just a token female presence,” male soldiers are less inclined to assert their dominance and more likely to behave in accordance with their own social norms. This creates an environment closer to that of their home society and therefore reduces stress and the likelihood of an atmosphere that accepts violence and sexual exploitation. more...

  • The number of women has been low in the military units and the civilian police components of the missions, whereas their number is substantially higher in the civilian staff. Between 1957 and 1989, only 0.1 per cent of the field-based military personnel in UN peacekeeping missions were female, the figure increased to 1.7% in 1993. "The UN did not issue specific requests for women peacekeepers until 1994, corresponding with a high demand for peacekeepers - 78,500 in 1993, 76,500 in 1994, and 68,900 in 1995." "When the call did go out, Member States largely ignored it." In 1993, in 11 of 15 ongoing peacekeeping operations, women were 33 percent of all civilian staff with the percentage of women in civilian police and military unknown due to lack of record keeping. In 2000, women constituted 51 percent of general service staff, 15 percent of field staff, 26 percent of local staff, 3 percent of military personnel, and 3 percent of civilian police personnel. As of the spring 2001, women make up no more than 6% of military personnel and no more than 16% of civilian police for any of the 13 on-going UN peace operations for which data is available. more...

  • The male-female ratio is 67-33% in CIVPOL Division of DPKO. In CIVPOL peacekeeping missions, the ratio is 96-4% (UNMIK police: 90-10%, UNAMSIL Police: 97-3%, UNMISET police: 91-9%). Within the local polices, the ratio is in Kosovo police service: 85-15%, Sierra Leone police: 90-10%, and Timor-Leste police: 77.8-22.2%.

  • In many member states, the status of women in the national military is low, either not being allowed to serve, or being limited to certain positions. The proportion of women sent for peacekeeping is routinely less than that within national militaries. For example, 12 percent of national armed forces in the US and Canada are women whereas only eight percent and five percent respectively of their military are sent for peacekeeping.

  • Few countries send women for CIVPOL in part because in most case women in the police forces typically serve as desk officers and traffic police. Also, the percentage of women in military police remains very low, and even in countries where women make up a significant portion of the national police force, they rarely constitute a significant presence in peacekeeping operations. For example, studies in Canada find women police officers are less likely to request postings with CIVPOL because of the length of time required away from their families where they have the gendered-distribution of household labor.

  • It is important that men as well as women assume responsibility for gender mainstreaming. For example, Martti Ahtisaari (Finland), the SRSG in Namibia during the UNTAG mission made conscious attempts to recruit women to military and civilian posts at all levels, including at the senior decision-making level and he succeeded in raising the number of women in the professional staff to around 60%.

  • Sergio Vieira de Mello, SRSG for UNTAET stressed the importance of gender mainstreaming throughout UNTAET at public speaking engagements, and high-level meetings, political parties and consultative bodies. more...

  • The UN has “zero tolerance” policy on crime committed by its peacekeepers. The small card We Are United Nations Peacekeepers and Ten Rules Code of Personal conduct for Blue Helmets are distributed to peacekeepers. The former states “We will never… commit any act that could result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to members of the local population, especially women and children; become involved in sexual liaisons which could affect our impartiality, or the well-being of others; be abusive or uncivil to any ember of the public...” The latter states “Do not indulge in immoral acts of sexual, physical or psychological abuse or exploitation of the local population or United Nations staff, especially women and children.” more...

  • In Peacekeeping Handbook for Junior Ranks, soldiers are advised “Be aware of the human rights of women and children and never violate them [emphasis theirs]; Behave in a way that you do not exacerbate violence of the human rights of women and children in the host country; Be forewarned of facing long periods of sexual abstinence; Do not involve yourself in any sexual relationship which may create long-lasting complications for you and others. Do not involve yourself with a sexual affair with any member of the local population. This may have the effect of jeopardising your personal integrity as well as the honour of your unit; Do not view fellow UN personnel or members of the local population as objects to be trifled with. In both cases this could have serious consequences for your career; and Be aware of sexually transmitted diseases (e.g. AIDS).”

  • The MONUC Code of Conduct contains information on conduct in the Democratic Republic of Congo regarding the prohibition of sexual abuse and/or exploitation by all members of the Civilian and Military components of MONUC. UNAMSIL established a Coordination Committee for the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. more...

  • Status-of-forces agreements between UN and host countries and the contribution agreement between the UN and contributing states both accord exclusive jurisdiction to contributing states for prosecution of peacekeeping soldiers who commit a crime in a peace operation. Therefore, when peacekeepers commit crimes such as rape or trafficking, they are under national jurisdiction of troop contributing countries, not host countries or the UN. The only recourse for the mission leadership is to send the personnel home. Despite the requirement for reporting the outcome of cases of crimes committed by its military personnel to the UN’s Head of Mission is stated in the model agreement, many contributing countries do not fulfill the undertaking.

  • In confronting the significant increase in the trafficking of women, the deployment of CIVPOL is especially important for border control. In September of 2000, UNMIK created a Trafficking and Prostitution Investigation Unit in Kosovo and by the end of 2001, had established units in all five regions of the country. The UN mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina created a Special Anti-Trafficking Operations Project (STOP) to develop a strategy for action in the prevention of trafficking with results of more than 200 raids and 350 repatriations. This was the first UN anti-trafficking initiative. Involved in identification of women exploitation networks in the Balkans for prostitution, rescue of victims, with the support of IMO (International Organization for Migrations), for repatriation, and protection of victims and witnesses of trafficking related cases. more...

  • Contributing states are responsible for taking action against peacekeepers that commit crimes. Some contributing countries do not have penal codes that criminalize all forms of sexual or gender violence. For example, the rape and murder of an 11-year-old Kosovo girl by a US soldier made headline and the charges of felony, rape, sodomy and murder were filed against him who was eventually sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. Often, if prosecutions are carried out by the soldier’s home country, they are not made public, as they take place in military courts, which are closed procedures. more...

  • The creation of the International Criminal Court enables prosecution of peacekeepers who commit sexual abuses including involvement in trafficking and prostitution rings under the universal jurisdiction. However, under the Security Council resolution adopted unanimously in July 2002 and extended in June 2003, members of UN peacekeeping missions from nations that have not ratified the Rome Statute are immune from investigation or prosecution.

    On 5 January 2005, the Office of Internal Oversight (OIOS) submitted its report (A/59/661) on the investigations into allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) in MONUC to the General Assembly. Out of 72 allegations, OIOS compiled twenty case reports, 19 of which implicated peacekeepers from three contingents. All of the victims were Congolese girls under the age of 18. Five out of six were under age 14. In most cases, victims had sex with the assailants in exchange for milk, eggs, chocolate, bread and / or less than five US dollars in cash. Male minors and male youth were also often involved in bringing the girls to the peacekeepers in exchange for one US dollar and / or food.

    •  The OIOS team noted that programmes and resources were not being properly allocated to prevent the economic and food insecurity that often caused the girls and boys to get involved with the aggressors. Lack of schooling opportunities and the consequent youth idleness was also noted as a contributing factor. The team also raised doubts as to whether peacekeepers had been adequately briefed on the Code of Personal Conduct and whether the code was being properly enforced and reinforced. Insecurity of perimeter fencing, which encouraged illicit mixing of the military and general population, inadequate patrols by military police and insufficient enforcement of military discipline, the absence of off-duty programmes for peacekeepers and the lack of prevention strategies and programmes were all identified as factors contributing to the creation of a serious and ongoing SEA problem.

    •  Despite the presence of the team, sexual interactions between the local population and the military personnel continued during the investigation. The report emphasized that there continued to be a lack of a protection and deterrence programme at the present time.

    •  In addition to a more robust SEA policy that DPKO is currently developing, the OIOS team made the following recommendations:

    1. Upon review of the individual cases, DPKO should request the relevant TCCs to take appropriate action against the personnel and inform the department.

    2. DPKO and MONUC should implement a strong prevention programme protecting the most vulnerable and establish a rapid-response detection programme.

    3. Senior MONUC managers must become more involved and demand accountability from civilian administrators and contingent commanders in the mission. MONUC must take steps to ensure that administrators and officers demonstrate implementation of all existing regulations and policies aimed at preventing SEA.

    4. DPKO and MONUC should provide regular briefings for troops on their responsibilities to the local population and prohibited behaviours and to ensure that all troops and civilians on UN missions are fully conversant with UN policies of the subject of SEA.

    5. The MONUC Force Commander should enforce strict discipline over the personnel under their command.

    6. MONUC should identify and implement measures that ensure all military compounds are adequately secured.

    7. MONUC should collaborate with OCHA and NGOs to strengthen existing programmes to empower and protect the vulnerable populations to allow for alternate means of survival.

    8. DPKO should consider a wider application of prevention and detection policies to protect against SEA by peacekeepers. This may include the designation of local officials or NGOS to receive reports of SEA, the expeditious central reporting of all cases to senior management, mission based rapid-response teams, education programmes for troops on their responsibilities and on sanctions for SEA, the public naming and shaming of those found to have engaged in SEA, and the permanent exclusion from peacekeeping missions of those troops who engage in SEA and of their contingents' commanders. more...

Treaties and Institutions

The UN Department of Peacekeping Operations (DPKO): website

International Association of Peacekeping Training Centres: website

Pearson Peacekeeping Centre: English, French

Tools & Checklists

Gender training

There is a need for gender mainstreaming in all training courses and specific courses on gender and peace support operations.

  • Primary responsibility for training peacekeepers is on member states. Peacekeepers have been sent with little training and briefing on, and therefore with little understanding of, gender-based violence during the war and the implication of their presence on local women. DPKO training for peacekeeping personnel involve both pre-deployment training and in-mission training during operations. The former is for Troop Contributing Nations in their preparation of peacekeeping forces. The latter is conducted by Mission Training Cells in UNTAET, MONUC, UNAMSIL and UNMEE and includes host national representatives to provide contextual discussion on the experiences of conflict for both men and women. All current major UN peace operations have received this training.

  • Two materials are available online: “Gender and Peacekeeping Operations – Gender Training.” Training and Evaluation Service, DPKO. 2002 and “Gender and Peacekeeping Operations: In-Mission Training.” Training and Evaluation Service, DPKO. 2001.

  • Training and Evaluation Service (TES) of DPKO is in the process of implementing the Gender and Peacekeeping Project. The project is currently in the phase of producing a Generic Gender and Peacekeeping Training Package, as well as a Gender and Peacekeeping Field Manual. The publication (forthcoming) has been developed for Member States’ training purposes and its electronic version has already been distributed to Missions. TES is currently developing a Gender and peacekeeping manual targeted at middle level military personnel. The manual should be completed by December 2003. more...

  • United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) launched a groundbreaking two-year programme for HIV/AIDS prevention and gender awareness training for peacekeepers in Sierra Leone in March 2003, in partnership with DPKO, UNAIDS, UNAMSIL , UNIFEM, and the International Centre for Migration and Health (ICMH). It aims to curb infection by and among troops and have peacekeepers take on the role of leadership to educate communities on HIV/AIDS. more...

  • To date, United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) has conducted HIV/AIDS awareness courses for 800 civilians, 10,000 peacekeepers, 27,000 Eritrea Defense Force and 100,000 Ethiopia Armed Force personnel.

  • UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) has also developed materials designed for civilian personnel entitled: Training for Civilian Personnel in Peacekeeping Operations on the Special Needs of Women and Children in Conflict. This material was used for training in UNMIBH, UNMEE, MONUC and UNMIK. more...

  • Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) developed Gender and Peacekeeping training course in 2000, which is available online with detailed trainers notes and resources. The gender training materials by DPKO are based on this Canadian and British material. more...

UNIFEM Action & Analysis

“UNIFEM has initiated an important collaborative effort with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), UNICEF and Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), to integrate gender training into the pre-deployment induction courses for peace keepers and military observers assigned to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). At the global level, UNIFEM is a partner in an initiative to develop gender training modules for peacekeepers, being coordinated by the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre in Canada. Additionally UNIFEM is collaborating with the Lessons Learned Division of DPKO, in an effort to develop policy and operational guidelines to engender peacekeeping operations around the world.” more...

In the area of protection, UNIFEM West Africa Regional Office has supported gender responsive community based care for HIV/AIDS sufferers in the peacekeeping environment in Sierra Leone and worked to mainstream gender in HIV/AIDS programming throughout the UN’s mission. UNIFEM has partnered with UNFPA, UNAIDS and DPKO to assess the intersections of gender, conflict and HIV/AIDS in Sierra Leone.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • 1539 (22 April 2004): Recalling its resolution 1308 (2000) on the responsibility of the Security Council in the maintenance of peace and security: HIV/AIDS and International Peacekeeping Opearations and its resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security, the Security Council “Notes with concern all the cases of sexual exploitation and abuse of women and children, especially girls, in humanitarian crisis, including those cases involving humanitarian workers and peacekeepers, requests contributing countries to incorporate the Six Core Principles of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee on Emergencies into pertinent codes of conduct for peacekeeping personnel and to develop appropriate disciplinary and accountability mechanisms and welcomes the promulgation of the Secretary-General’s bulletin on special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.” more...

  • 1487 (12 June 2003): renewal of resolution 1422 more...

  • 1445 (4 December 2002): The situation in DRC: Recognizing the importance of a gender perspective in peacekeeping operations, in accordance with Security Council resolution 1325 (2000), and the importance of the protection of children in armed conflict, in accordance with its resolution 1379 (2001)… the Security Council … Calls upon MONUC to pay special attention in carrying out its mandate to all aspects relating to gender perspective, in accordance with resolution 1325 (2000), as well as to the protection and reintegration of children, in accordance with resolution 1379 (2001). more...

  • 1422 (12 July 2002): the Security Council requests that the ICC not commence or proceed with investigation or prosecution of peacekeepers from a contributing State not a Party to the Rome Statute for 12 months. more...

  • 1400 (28 March 2002): The Situation in Sierra Leone: The Security Council decides that the mandate of UNAMSIL shall be extended for a period of six months from 30 March 2002; expresses its serious concern at the violence, particularly sexual violence, suffered by women and children during the conflict in Sierra Leone, and emphasizes the importance of addressing these issues effectively; expresses its serious concern at the evidence UNAMSIL has found of human rights abuses and breaches of humanitarian law set out in paragraphs 38 to 40 of the Secretary-General’s report of 14 March 2002 (S/2002/267), encourages UNAMSIL to continue its work and in this context requests the Secretary-General to provide a further assessment in his September report, particularly regarding the situation of women and children who have suffered during the conflict; expresses its serious concern at allegations that some United Nations personnel may have been involved in sexual abuse of women and children in camps for refugees and internally displaced people in the region, supports the Secretary-General’s policy of zero tolerance for such abuse, looks forward to the Secretary-General’s report on the outcome of the investigation into these allegations, and requests him to make recommendations on how to prevent any such crimes in future, while calling on States concerned to take the necessary measures to bring to justice their own nationals responsible for such crimes. more...

  • 1327 (13 November 2000): in response to Brahimi Report more...

  • 1325 (31 October 2000): Women, Peace and Security more...

    Recognizing the urgent need to mainstream a gender perspective into peacekeeping operations, and in this regard noting the Windhoek Declaration and the Namibia Plan of Action on Mainstreaming a Gender Perspective in Multidimensional Peace Support Operations (S/2000/693),

    Recognizing also the importance of the recommendation contained in the statement of its President to the press of 8 March 2000 for specialized training for all peacekeeping personnel on the protection, special needs and human rights of women and children in conflict situations,

    The SC urges the Secretary-General to appoint more women as special representatives and envoys to pursue good offices on his behalf, and in this regard calls on Member States to provide candidates to the Secretary-General, for inclusion in a regularly updated centralized roster;

    Further urges the Secretary-General to seek to expand the role and contribution of women in United Nations field-based operations, and especially among military observers, civilian police, human rights and humanitarian personnel;

    Expresses its willingness to incorporate a gender perspective into peacekeeping operations, and urges the Secretary-General to ensure that, where appropriate, field operations include a gender component;

    Requests the Secretary-General to provide to Member States training guidelines and materials on the protection, rights and the particular needs of women, as well as on the importance of involving women in all peacekeeping and peace-building measures, invites Member States to incorporate these elements as well as HIV/AIDS awareness training into their national training programmes for military and civilian police personnel in preparation for deployment, and further requests the Secretary-General to ensure that civilian personnel of peacekeeping operations receive similar training;

    Urges Member States to increase their voluntary financial, technical and logistical support for gender-sensitive training efforts, including those undertaken by relevant funds and programmes, inter alia, the United Nations Fund for Women and United Nations Children’s Fund, and by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other relevant bodies;

    Expresses its willingness to ensure that Security Council missions take into account gender considerations and the rights of women, including through consultation with local and international women’s groups;

    Requests the Secretary-General, where appropriate, to include in his reporting to the Security Council progress on gender mainstreaming throughout peacekeeping missions and all other aspects relating to women and girls.

  • 1308 (17 July 2000): on the responsibility of the Security Council in the maintenance of international peace and security: HIV/AIDS and international peacekeeping operations The Security Council encourages Member States to consider developing, in cooperation with the international community and UNAIDS, where appropriate, effective long-term strategies for HIV/AIDS education, prevention, voluntary and confidential testing and counselling, and treatment of their personnel, as an important part of their preparation for their participation in peacekeeping operations. more...

  • 1265 (17 September 1999): on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. “The Security Council … Recognizing the direct and particular impact of armed conflict on women as referred to in paragraph 18 of the report of the Secretary-General and, in this regard, welcoming the ongoing work within the United Nations system on the implementation of a gender perspective in humanitarian assistance and on violence against women, … Notes the importance of including in the mandates of peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace-building operations special protection and assistance provisions for groups requiring particular attention, including women and children; Requests the Secretary-General to ensure that United Nations personnel involved in peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace-building activities have appropriate training in international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law, including child and gender-related provisions, negotiation and communication skills, cultural awareness and civilian-military coordination, and urges States and relevant international and regional organizations to ensure that appropriate training is included in their programmes for personnel involved in similar activities.” more....

Brahimi Report and Follow-up

Brahimi Report:
"Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations" S/2000/809-A/55/305 (21 August 2000). Though this landmark report makes crucially important recommendations for more effective conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peace-building in their political, financial and operational aspects, it fails to provide any gender analysis in these areas.

       Follow-up Reports of the Secretary-General and Others

  • 20 October 2000: Follow-up reports of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the report of the Panel. Gender aspect is mentioned throughout the text.

  • 27 October 2000: On resource requirements for the implementation of the report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations, Addendum, A/55/507/Add.i, para 5.28. Calls for the establishment of a Gender Unit in the office of the Under-SG of DPKO. “… beginning with needs assessment missions through post-conflict peace-building. Gender perspectives should be considered in analyses, policy and strategy development and planning of peace support operations, as well as training programmes and instruments developed to support effective implementation of those operations, such as guidelines, handbooks and codes of conduct. All aspects and all levels of peace support operations require attention to gender perspectives, including political analysis, military operations, civilian police activities, electoral assistance, human rights support, humanitarian assistance, including for refugees and displaced persons, development and reconstruction activities and public information. Training of troops and civilian police on gender issues is critical. In the context of complex missions where interim governments will be established, gender balance in interim bodies and development of capacity within those important bodies to work with gender perspectives need to be considered. Experience has shown that it is important to ensure attention to gender perspectives from the very outset of peace-building and peacekeeping missions, including through incorporation in the initial mandates. All reports of the individual mission to the Security Council should include explicit routine reporting on progress in integrating gender perspectives as well as information on the number and levels of women involved in all aspects of the mission.” and addendum pp. 1-25; pp. 26-50; pp. 51-75; pp. 76-97.

  • 1 June 2001: On Implementation of the recommendations of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations and the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations A/55/977. Paragraphs 265-269 emphasizes that the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations need to work more closely together and dedicate greater attention to gender issues in various aspects of peacekeeping.

  • 21 December 2001: On the Implementation of the recommendations of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations and the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations. Paragraphs 46-50. Gender and Peacekeeping Operations

  • 17 October 2003: The transformation from traditional to "robust" peacekeeping operations, the role of regional organizations in United Nations peace activities, and outstanding issues in the continuing reform of peacekeeping missions were amongst the topics addressed as the General Assembly continued its general debate on the comprehensive review of peacekeeping operations. The representative of Bangladesh said multidimensional peacekeeping operations had become the order of the day. As peacekeeping has evolved, a "one-size-fits-all" peacekeeping model is no longer ensure success. Pointing to the newly-created United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) as an example of a robust, multidimensional peace operation, the representative of the United States praised the leadership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for its efforts to bring peace to Liberia, as well as the ECOWAS-led force, ECOMIL, for laying the groundwork for the mission. With the Mission's force size expected to grow to some 15,000 troops, UNMIL would be the world's largest peacekeeping force and the first to have included in its mandate provisions to revitalize the country's judiciary and correctional sectors. Referring to regional arrangements, The representative of Guyana stated that regional organizations may be best suited to taking a principle role in finding solutions, when referring to regional arrangements. (GA/SPD/267)


Other Security Council documents

General Assembly

  • "A Comprehensive Strategy to Eliminate Future Sexual exploitation and Abuse in UN Peacekeeping Operations." 24 March 2005. A/59/710:

    The Secretary-General submitted the report to the President of the General Assembly and requested it be circulated to the General Assembly. HRH Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al Hussein, Permanent Representative of Jordan to the UN, prepared the report. In April 2003, the General Assembly adopted resolution 57/306, which requested the Secretary-General and troop-contributing countries (TCCs) to adopt measures to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA). The Secretary-General's Bulletin on SEA (ST/SGB/2003/13) defined SEA and the rules governing it.

    In 2004, DPKO received a total of 105 allegations, 16 against civilian personnel, 9 against civilian police and 80 against military personnel. Forty-five per cent of the allegations involved sex with minors, thirty-one per cent involved prostitution, 18 per cent involved rape and sexual assault and the remaining 6 per cent involved other forms of SEA as defined by the Secretary-General's Bulletin. SEA undermines the credibility and effectiveness of a peace operation as SEA exposes the mission to blackmail and retaliation and may violate international humanitarian and human rights norms. Furthermore, "a peacekeeping operation cannot legitimately advise the government on adherence to international human rights standards and legal and judicial reform if its own peacekeeping personnel are engaging in acts of SEA, including such crimes as rape." SEA exposes peacekeepers and the community to increase risk of HIV and STI infection and victims and abandoned babies to stigma and insecurity in their societies. External factors, such as extreme poverty, broken social fabric, high numbers of unaccompanied children, high rates of sexual and gender based violence against women and girls during conflict, which contributes to a degree of acceptance, and de facto or de jure impunity, contribute to the problem of SEA.

    The report outlines the rules governing the conduct of UN personnel, noting that a significant challenge is the fact that different sets of rules govern different classes of personnel, with the discipline of military personnel being the responsibility of TCCs.

    Summary of Recommendations on Rules Governing Personnel:

    "The General Assembly should reiterate its approval of the standards set out in the 2003 bulletin and make them applicable to all categories of peacekeeping personnel, without exception. It should also request the Secretary-General to ensure that all civilian personnel are bound by them. Furthermore, the Assembly should decide that those standards and the standards contained in Ten Rules and We Are United Nations Peacekeepers be included in the model memorandums of understanding, and the troop-contributing countries should undertake to issue the standards in a form binding on their personnel. The Secretary-General and troop-contributing countries should cooperate to issue the standards set out in the 2003 bulletin, as well as those contained in Ten Rules and We are United Nations Peacekeepers, to troop-contributing country personnel in convenient card form in the languages of those personnel, with the troop-contributing country providing the translation and the mission arranging for publication of the cards at its cost."

    Investigation methods are also criticized by the report. TCCs have often complained about evidence gathering, which has contributed to their reticence to deal with allegations swiftly and comprehensively.

    Summary of Recommendations on Investigation Methods:

    "It is recommended that the General Assembly authorize the establishment of a professional investigative capacity to investigate allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse and misconduct of a similar grave nature against all categories of peacekeeping personnel. The investigative body must be staffed by experts who have had experience in sex crime investigations, particularly those involving children. It must have access to modern forensic methods of identification. Furthermore, it must be independent of the missions and could be regionally based. It is recommended that the troop-contributing country participate as a member in any case that concerns its troops and that it participate through an expert in military law, preferably a military prosecutor, designated in the memorandum of understanding, who would be flown to the investigation site by the United Nations to ensure that evidence was gathered in such a manner that it could be used in a subsequent court martial or in national judicial proceedings. It is recommended that troop-contributing countries conduct on-site courts martial and that countries whose legislation does not permit them consider reforming their legislation."

    A further critical problem identified by the report regards the issues of organizational, managerial and command accountability. According to the report, a justifiable perception exists that allegations of SEA have not been dealt with sufficient severity.

    Summary of Recommendations on Institutional Accountability:

    "A number of basic measures are recommended in the present report that the Organization, as part of its responsibility for the conduct of peacekeeping operations, must implement to attempt to eliminate sexual exploitation and abuse. The Organization must require its managers to lead by example and ensure that training programmes for all categories of personnel are instituted prior to deployment and during the mission assignment. The Organization must institute a programme of outreach to the local community and enable alleged victims to make complaints. It must develop a data tracking mechanism that will enable senior management to be aware of the number and type of allegations and the state of follow-up investigations into them and to ensure that those found culpable of such offences are not rehired. A number of key positions at Headquarters and in the field are needed to respond effectively to sexual exploitation and abuse, and the number of female peacekeeping personnel should be increased. When condoms are distributed to troops it should be made clear that it is being done as part of the fight against transmission of HIV/AIDS. The Organization should take proper account of non-specific allegations, which are often a warning sign of a breakdown in discipline or possible misconduct. The Organization should encourage troop-contributing countries to send established units to peacekeeping operations, as they are usually managed and disciplined better than units assembled specifically for the peacekeeping operation from existing units. Mission-specific measures should be instituted to deal with sexual exploitation and abuse, such as curfews and off-limits areas and replacement of static guard posts with mobile patrols, if appropriate. If possible, the mission's Military Police Unit should be from a contingent other than one of those being supervised. In some high-risk areas, it might be necessary for a mission to have stricter rules than those contained in the 2003 bulletin. Some measures should be instituted to ease the living conditions in the missions, such as provision of recreational facilities for troops with free Internet service and subsidized telephone calls to facilitate contact with family and friends. Measures should also be instituted to help alleged victims, including provision of emergency medical care and psychological counselling and advice on how to make a claim against alleged perpetrators. A trust fund for victims should be established and missions should give feedback to alleged victims on the results of its investigations into their complaints.

    Civilian managers and military commanders must be specifically tasked with implementing the programmes and policies of the Organization to eliminate sexual exploitation and abuse, and their performance should be assessed on the basis of how they implement those policies. Those who carry out the programmes should be rewarded and those who fail to do so should be removed from managerial and command functions. The model memorandum of understanding should provide that contingent commanders who cooperate with Department of Peacekeeping Operations investigations into allegations made against members of their contingents are commended and that those who fail to cooperate or obstruct such investigations are repatriated, and the Secretary-General should write to the Head of State of the country concerned explaining why the commander was repatriated. It is recommended that in such cases the United Nations recover all payments made in respect of that commander and that those funds be paid to the trust fund for victims. Contingent commanders who take action to discipline their contingent members and who cooperate fully with a Department of Peacekeeping Operations investigation to make it possible for those who violate the 2003 bulletin standards to be punished should be specially commended by the Secretary-General in a letter addressed to the Head of State or Government."

    The final area for action identified by the report is regarding individual disciplinary, financial and criminal accountability. The report notes the widespread perception that peacekeeping personnel are rarely prosecuted for their acts and do not suffer financial consequences for their actions.

    Summary of Recommendations on Individual Accountability:

    Personnel who violate the standards set out in the 2003 Secretary-General's bulletin should be subjected to disciplinary action. The General Assembly should characterize breaches of the 2003 bulletin as "serious misconduct" under the Staff Regulations. Any staff members, civilian police or military observers who are found to have committed acts of sexual exploitation and abuse should have their appointments terminated. In addition, staff should be fined and the proceeds paid into the trust fund for victims. The Directives for Disciplinary Matters Involving Civilian Police Officers and Military Observers should be amended to permit similar action in respect of those categories of personnel. The model memorandum of understanding should be amended to enable the United Nations to deduct from future payments to the troop-contributing country the daily allowance paid to any soldier found culpable of sexual exploitation and abuse, to pay the proceeds to the trust fund for victims and to process claims for child support from victims in accordance with the laws of the troop-contributing country. The rules should be amended to compel staff and experts on mission to make child support payments. The memorandum of understanding should specifically provide that members of contingents are required by the troop-contributing country to respect local laws. If acts of sexual exploitation and abuse by military members of peacekeeping missions constitute crimes, they should result in prosecution under the laws of the troop-contributing country. The model memorandum of understanding also ought to provide that if a Department of Peacekeeping Operations investigation is conducted and it is concluded that the allegations are well founded, the troop-contributing country is obligated to forward the case to its national authorities to be considered for prosecution under the laws of that country. Furthermore, it should provide that those authorities will take their decision in the same manner as they would in the case of an offence of a similar grave nature falling under the laws of the troop-contributing country and will report the outcome of the prosecution to the Secretary-General. It should also provide that if those authorities conclude that prosecution is not appropriate, the troop-contributing country agrees to submit to the Secretary-General a report explaining the reasons for that decision. The founders of the Organization did not intend that immunity would function to shield staff and experts on mission from national prosecution if they committed crimes in the host State. However the absence of a functioning judicial system in some peacekeeping locations requires long-term international cooperation to ensure that United Nations staff and experts on mission are not immune from criminal prosecution. It is recommended that the Secretary-General establish a group of experts to study the issue and make recommendations to the General Assembly on whether an international convention or other means could be used to ensure that United Nations staff and experts on mission who commit defined crimes in peacekeeping areas are held criminally accountable for their actions. more...

  • 17 December 2001: A/C.5/56/L.32 Fifth Committee, Draft Resolution submitted by the Chairman following informal consultations: Comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects, paragraph 17.

  • 16 October 2001: A/56/478 Implementation of the report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations, Report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, paragraph 33.

  • 9 August 2001: A/C.5/55/46 GA, Comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects, Programme budget implications of draft resolution A/C.4.55.L.23, Statement submitted by the General Assembly in accordance with rule 153 of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly, paragraph 15.

  • 8 August 2001: A/C.5/55/46/Add.1 GA Comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects, Programme budget implications of draft resolution A/C.4/55/L.23, Statement submitted by the Secretary General in accordance with rule 153 of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly, paragraphs 5.13-5.14.

  • 8 December 2000, A/55/676 Implementation of the report of the Panel on UN Peace Operations, Report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, paragraph 44.

  • 27 October 2000: A/55/507/Add.1 Resource requirements for implementation of the report of the Panel on UN Peace Operations

Experts' Assessement

Chapter from Women, War Peace on Peacekeeping by the Independent Experts: Women and Peace Operations


Recommendations on Women and Peacekeeping made by the Independent Experts and other Actors, Institutions and Organizations:

The Secretary General Recommends in his study, Women, Peace and Security (Chapter V):

Action 1: Incorporate gender perspectives explicitly into mandates of all peacekeeping missions, including provisions for monitoring and reporting violations of international law as they pertain to women to the Security Council.

Action 2: Increase responsiveness to the protection needs of women and girls; investigate gender-based and sexual violence; and end impunity regarding violations of the human rights of women and girls.

Action 3: Consult with civil society, including local women’s groups and networks, to ensure collection of information from all stakeholders and attention to the specific needs, concerns and experiences of women and girls in the implementation of peacekeeping operations.

Action 4: Systematically and explicitly address gender perspectives in all Secretary-General’s reports on peacekeeping missions to the Security Council, and for that purpose, prepare and disseminate a guidance note on the integration of gender perspectives in reports of the Secretary-General to the Security Council.

Action 5: Ensure that peacekeeping operations have adequate capacity for fact-finding and reporting on gender-specific violations of the rights of women and girls under international humanitarian law and human rights law, including through the provision of training on culturally appropriate interview techniques and trauma counselling and the use of female personnel (such as protection officers, medical personnel, and interpreters).

Action 6: Review and strengthen codes of conduct to ensure that expected standards of conduct to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse of women and girls are clearly defined; disseminate the codes of conduct, including through training, to all personnel in peace operations – both before and during deployment; rigorously enforce these codes of conduct; and make public the accountability and disciplinary measures which apply to United Nations personnel in the event of a breach of the standards of conduct.

Action 7: Disseminate information on standards of conduct in peacekeeping operations and ensure that troop contributing countries adhere to existing policies and codes of conduct of the United Nations on gender equality, particularly relating to sexual exploitation of women and girls, and put in place adequate accountability mechanisms and disciplinary measures.

Action 8: Review standard operating procedures, instructions, guidelines and manuals used to guide operational activities and incorporate gender perspectives.

Action 9: Monitor and report on gender issues in peacekeeping, including on all forms of violence against women and girls, as an integral part of mission reporting.

Action 10: Require that all data collected in research, assessments and appraisals, monitoring and evaluation and reporting on peace operations is systematically disaggregated by sex and age and that specific data on the situation of women and girls and the impact of interventions on them is provided.

Action 11: Set concrete targets for the appointment of women as Special Representatives and Special Envoys of the Secretary-General.

Action 12: Increase the recruitment of women as military observers, peacekeeping troops, and civilian police by troop contributing countries.

Action 13: Ensure necessary financial and human resources for gender mainstreaming, including for capacity-building activities, as well as for targeted projects for women and girls, as part of approved mission budgets.

Action 14: Establish awareness of and capacity to address gender issues as a standard professional requirement for all senior staff in peace operations, for example, Special Representatives of the Secretary- General, Force Commanders, Chief Administrative Officers, Special Envoys and peace negotiators; clearly incorporate responsibilities for promoting gender equality into the job descriptions of senior staff, including SRSGs; and require regular reporting on gender mainstreaming.

Action 15: Create the post of a Senior Gender Adviser at Headquarters in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, reporting to the Under-Secretary -General, to support mainstreaming of gender perspectives in all departmental activities at Headquarters as well as provide adequate backstopping to field operations.

Action 16: Appoint gender advisers/gender focal points in missions with complex, multi-faceted mandates to support the work of the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General on incorporation of gender perspectives throughout the work of peacekeeping missions; and give adequate attention to location, mandates, resources, reporting lines and support from top management, as well as systematic backstopping from Headquarters, of these positions.

Action 17: Ensure that training for all personnel in peacekeeping operations — military, police and civilian staff — both before and during deployment, adequately addresses the issue of violence against women, including domestic violence and trafficking, within a human rights framework.

Action 18: Provide adequate training on gender perspectives to all international and local peacekeeping personnel — before and during deployment.

Action 19: Develop and disseminate training of trainer programmes on gender perspectives in peacekeeping operations to support national and regional training initiatives for military and police prior to deployment.

Recommendations of the Independent Experts in Women War Peace recommend:

  • Gender experts and expertise to be included in all levels and aspects of peace operations, including in technical surveys, the design of concepts of operation, training, staffing and programmes. To this end, a Memorandum of Understanding should set out the roles and responsibilities among DPKO, Department of Political Affairs (DPA), UNIFEM and the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW).

    Explanation of the Recommendation: In 2000 DPKO stated that, “Women’s presence [in peacekeeping missions] improves access and support for local women makes male peacekeepers more reflective and responsible and it broadens the repertoire of skills and styles available within the mission, often with the effect of reducing conflict and confrontation. Gender mainstreaming is not just fair, it is beneficial.” However, DPKO, like many other UN departments, has not done enough to operationalize these realizations and clearly needs the kind of support and knowledge that could be gained through a formalized agreement on the roles and responsibilities of various UN entities when it comes to UN peacekeeping operations delivering for women. While informal and ad hoc arrangements do occur between some of the partners, there is not an MOU that addresses the glaring gaps that could be filled better through collaborative efforts. Because it is much harder to alter structural and programming priorities after they have been determined, integrating gender considerations at the initial analysis and assessment phases of peace keeping operations is desirable. By including gender experts on assessment and fact finding missions, different information and insights may arise for implementing humanitarian relief efforts, providing political analysis and early warning, as well as economic and social programming may result.

    Entities Responsible: Secretary-General, SRSGs, DPKO, DPA, UNIFEM, DAW

    Ideas for Implementation: DPKO, DPA, UNIFEM and DAW should meet at the highest levels to assess the level of collaboration to date, and how to enhance it through a Memorandum of Understanding. Such an understanding would facilitate rapid deployment and stand by arrangements whereby a roster of qualified gender experts can be made available for assessment and fact-finding missions and appropriate training can be provided. An independent consultant could be engaged to facilitate a process of consultations within the departments to brainstorm ideas, needs and opportunities that arise for collaboration. A roster of qualified gender experts specifically for assessment and fact-finding missions should be compiled.

  • A review of training programmes on and approaches to the gender dimensions of conflict resolution and peace-building for humanitarian, military and civilian personnel. United Nations entities active in this area should lead this process with support provided by the Special Advisor on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women and the Task Force on Women, Peace and Security with a view to developing guidance on training policy and standards.

    Explanation of the Recommendation: Protecting refugees is vastly different from guarding prisoners of war. Prosecuting criminal traffickers in war is vastly different from protecting women victims of trafficking. Establishing the rule of law is different to simply enforcing it. All staff of peace support operations need training, including gender training, so they can carry out the wider range of tasks required of them in today's post-conflict situations, and to help them adjust and be responsive to the cultural milieu in which they will function. Training peacekeeping personnel on gender issues can also promote gender mainstreaming within an operation, irrespective of the number and level of women an operation may employ. Although training is the primary responsibility of individual governments, the United Nations and regional organizations should ensure consistent approaches and encourage collaboration. Achieving this would require a full-fledged review of content as well as strategy: analyzing who provides training, who receives it, when it takes place, for how long and with which resources. Ideally, training should take place prior to deployment, but once a mission is assembled, in-service training initiatives can be extremely useful.

    Entities Responsible: DPKO, OSAGI, Inter-agency Task Force on Women, Peace and Security

    Ideas for Implementation: Central questions about training remain — does each UN agency do it, or do we develop standard or minimal packages, or sub-contracting arrangements? A consultant under the supervision of OSAGI and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Women, Peace and Security should compile a readily available centralized repository of materials used and approaches taken in dealing with the gender components of all training undertaken at the national, regional and international levels. A survey of those who have given, and those who have received the training would reveal some indications of its successes and failures, and could help give a sense of what works, when and how. OSAGI and the Task Force on Women, Peace and Security could then formulate recommendations regarding the use of resources and lessons learned in the process of reversing gender discrimination and stereotypes through training.

  • All UN peace operations to include a human rights monitoring component, with an explicit mandate and sufficient resources to investigate, document and report human rights violations against women.

    Explanation of the Recommendation: Human rights monitoring is one of the most important but under utilized ways of improving women's protection. Although human rights components are now systematically included in peacekeeping operations, they often lack necessary human and financial resources, including gender expertise. If appropriately staffed and resourced, human rights components have the potential to engage not only in monitoring gender-specific violations but also to engage in capacity-building, through training and other projects to enhance national and local capacity for women's protection.UNHCHR is already involved in a number of post-conflict legal reforms, including constitutional and judicial reforms (i.e. Cambodia), and legislative reforms to synthesize the Guiding Principles of Internal Displacement into national laws (i.e. Colombia). UNIFEM should collaborate with these initiatives to ensure that gender is fully taken into account. In peacekeeping environments, human rights officers sent by UNHCHR often serve as gender focal points (i.e. Sierra Leone), and HCHR-UNIFEM collaboration in peacekeeping environment should be critical to ensure gender is reflected within peacekeeping operations. In addition, Independent Experts considered UNHCHR could be a lead agency for IDP protection and assistance, if they can strengthen operational capacity.

    Entities Responsible: Security Council, SRSGs, OHCHR, DPKO, DPA

    Ideas for Implementation: The Security Council should establish an ombudsperson and a human rights monitoring component in all operations through the mandate of the peacekeeping operation, and should receive and act upon reports of human rights violations.SRSGs, DPKO and DPA to systematically include information about the violation of enjoyment of women’s human rights in all of their reports to the Security Council.UNIFEM’s MOU with UNHCHR could include: (a) partnership between human rights officers and UNIFEM personnel on the ground to ensure, and provide technical assistance if necessary, that gender is fully reflected in the design and implementation of human rights work supported by UNHCHR in peacekeeping environment; (b) increased collaboration between UNHCHR and UNIFEM in the context of UN country team to support policy and programming to ensure that women’s rights are integrated in national legal reforms; (c) increased technical, policy, and operational assistance for IDP women, including national legal reforms in compliance with the Guiding Principles; (d) joint development of gender and human rights projects for CAP.

  • The improvement and strengthening of codes of conduct for international and local humanitarian and peacekeeping personnel and for these codes to be consistent with international humanitarian and human rights law and made compulsory. An office of oversight for crimes against women should be established in all peace operations. The office should regularly monitor and report on compliance with the principles set forth in the IASC Task Force on the Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in Humanitarian Crises.

    Explanation of Recommendation: Troop contributing countries retain exclusive criminal jurisdiction over military personnel. The United Nations does not keep systematic records of accusations against peacekeepers. While there is a provision for immunity in the Status of Force Agreements (SOFA), there is also an obligation on the part of DPKO to demand and for member states to supply the information about those soldiers repatriated due to misbehaviour. To increase the protection of women in peacekeeping environments the Secretary-General called for the establishment of an Ombudsperson in every peace operation who would handle reports of abuse by peacekeeping personnel. Together with an Inspector General or an office set up specifically for this purpose, she or he could carry out investigations and impose disciplinary measures in cooperation with the SRSG, the Force Commander and the Office of Internal Oversight Services. In all instances, a community relations office with national staff, similar to the model established in the Cambodia mission, should act as liaison with the host community and facilitate the complaints process.

    Entities Responsible: Secretary-General,Troop contributing countries, DPKO, IASC Task Force on the Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in Humanitarian Crises.

    Ideas for Implementation: DPKO should assign adequate financial and human resources to the reintroduction of keeping records of the results of disciplinary action taken by member states after a national is sent home from a peace operation for misbehaviour,The Security Council should establish an Ombudsperson and a community relations office in the mandate and concept of operation for each peacekeeping operation. The UN’s currently ambiguous policies in regulating interaction between UN peacekeeping personnel and the local female population should be updated, in particular with respect to sexual relations with women in the host community, marriage with local women during the term of duty, cohabitation with local women in premises, including live-in employees (e.g. maids), financial and legal responsibility for children parented by peacekeepers, prostitution off and on duty, minimum age of sexual consent.

  • No exemptions for peacekeepers from prosecution by international tribunals, the International Criminal Court and national courts in the host country for all crimes committed, including those against women. All States maintaining peacekeeping forces should take necessary measures to bring to justice their own nationals responsible for such crimes, as called for by the Security Council (S/RES/1400 (2002)).

    Explanation of Recommendation: The International Criminal Court offers one means of ensuring the accountability of peacekeepers. In a Relationship Agreement between the ICC and the UN, the UN has promised to cooperate with and assist the work of the Court. The Statute offers ample safeguards against politically motivated prosecutions and is relevant only when national authorities fail to act. But on 12 July 2002 the possibility of ensuring accountability was postponed for one year when the U.S. government tied immunity for its peacekeepers to the renewal of the mandate of the UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. By agreeing to delay the implementation of this article, the Security Council is sending the wrong message: that those who commit crimes against women can do so without fear of punishment. For as long as the Statute’s authorization to prosecute peacekeepers is delayed, so too is justice for women because the ICC statute offers the strongest definition of gender crimes and states parties are obliged to harmonize national laws to the standards of the ICC.

    Entities Responsible: Security Council, All troop contributing countries, All host countries to peacekeeping operations, All those states that have ratified the ICC, DPKO

    Ideas for Implementation: UN member states should condemn and not enter into bi-lateral agreements that would provide immunity for the nationals of selected states and not others from prosecution for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Such agreements undermine the universal application of international humanitarian and human rights standards. On 12 July 2003, the Security Council should not renew the resolution granting immunity to US personnel from war crimes and crimes against humanity.

  • UN peace operations to improve opportunities for collaboration with women’s groups to address gender issues in a peacekeeping environment.

    Explanation of Recommendation
    : Women in the local communities we visited were deeply affected by what is usually referred to as a 'peacekeeping environment'. Peacekeeping missions are essentially assisting local communities in their search for durable peace from training and restructuring local police forces to monitoring respect of human rights and investigating alleged violations. None of this can be done in isolation from the community. This recommendation suggests that increased communication and collaboration with local women’s organizations who know the local environment, social mores and taboos, etc on the part of those working in the peacekeeping mission would be beneficial.

    Entities Responsible: SRSGs, UN Country Teams, NGOs

    Ideas for Implementation: The SRSG in East Timor initiated a practice of meeting with NGOs on a bi-weekly basis, an excellent way of opening up channels of communication, sharing information, planning and opportunities. SRSG’s should develop similar appropriate mechanisms for ongoing consultation and transparency with civil society organizations, including women’s organizations and advocates, which would encourage communication and collaboration at agency and programme level between the UN system and women’s organizations.The UN country team should utilize the NGO managed database of women’s peace organizations on www.peacewomen.org in reaching out to civil society.

  • Member States and DPKO to increase women’s representation in peace operations, including through the recruitment of police, military and civilian personnel.

    Explanation of Recommendation: In the 32 years between 1957 and 1989, only 0.1 per cent of the field-based military personnel in UN peacekeeping missions were female. And despite the fact that in 1996 the Secretary-General recommended that by the year 2000 women constitute 50 per cent of staff in the UN system, including field missions, women made up only 4 per cent of police and 3 per cent of military in UN operations in 2000.

    Entities Responsible: Troop contributing countries, Donor governments, DPKO

    Ideas for Implementation: Troop, police and civilian personnel contributing countries should provide incentives for women to participate in peace operations.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) recommends:

  1. Global institutional arrangements and standards-setting, initiated by and addressed predominantly through UNFPA-funded organizations, Departments of Peace-keeping Operations (DPKOs), United Nations organizations and agencies and other donors.

  2. Ground-level interventions targeted at the peacekeeping forces, initiated by and addressed predominantly through UNFPA-funded organizations, other United Nations organizations and agencies and other donors.

  3. Interventions to reduce the vulnerability of the host community, with special attention to women, initiated by and addressed predominantly through UNFPA-supported organizations, DPKOs, United Nations organizations and agencies, and other donors.


PeaceWomen: Women, Gender and Peacekeeping

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