Next MUNA conference:
February 6, 7 & 8, 2019

The question of combating sexual violence and empowering women in conflict zones

Issue in Security Council

Women often suffer from the consequences of war. Conflicts spur high rates of sexual violence. In conflict areas, sexual- and gender based violence can be used as weapons of war and following a crisis, such as that after a natural disaster, women face increased risks of harm and abuse.

Several resolutions have been adopted concerning sexual violence in conflict zones. Resolutions 1820 and 1325 were both adopted unanimously in the Security Council. 

Resolution 1325

Resolution 1325 called upon all member states to ‘’address the needs of women and girls in armed conflict and support their participation in peace negotiations.’’

A few years after this resolution passed, the UN set up National Action Plans (NAPs) to reach the resolution’s objectives. However, these NAPs do not state clearly how to set up monitoring frameworks nor do they state to whom clear roles and responsibilities for monitoring and reporting activities should be assigned. Nevertheless, NAPs can help reach the resolution’s objectives, when implemented effectively.

Resolution 1820

Resolution 1820 called upon all member states to ‘’comply with their obligations for prosecuting the perpetrators of sexual violence, ensuring that all victims of sexual violence, particularly women and girls, have equal protection under the law and equal access to justice, and ending impunity for sexual violence as part of a comprehensive approach to seeking sustainable peace, justice, truth, and national reconciliation.‘’

Possible solutions

Resolutions 1820 and 1325 mark a significant cultural change of the international community in empowering women as key players in dealing with matters of sexual violence. However, there are still a lot of problems that remain. Research should be conducted and data collected to get a better understanding of the magnitude of the problem, the forms of sexual violence used in conflict along with an understanding of rape as a tactic of war and the impact on men, women and children.

Moreover, the implementation of the resolutions by UN member states should be monitored and member states should be made accountable for failing to implement the operational protocols.

Useful documents

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action:

Sexual Violence throughout the years:

Resolution 1820:

Resolution 1325:

UN body: Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW):








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