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Peacekeepers Share Innovations to Stop Sexual Violence
Officers of the Philippine contingent of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) stand in formation during a medal ceremony at UNAMID's Super Camp in El Fasher, Sudan. (Photo: UN Photo/Albert Gonzalez Farran)
A new UN publication for the first time highlights the best tactics employed by international peacekeepers to stop sexual violence as a tactic of war. Addressing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence—An Analytical Inventory of Peacekeeping Practice is part of a broader agenda to improve the capacities of peacekeepers to protect civilians.
The inventory describes how peacekeepers in Darfur, for example, have established patrols to safeguard women gathering firewood. Peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have set up market escorts, night patrols and early-warning systems. The publication analyses examples where rape has been resistant to traditional protection strategies, and explores the advantages of having women peacekeepers. A series of recommendations map ways to better avert predictable risks.
Speaking at the launch of the inventory, the recently appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallström, said: “To move from best intentions to best practice, peacekeepers must be armed with examples and information to help them operate more effectively on the ground…This shows the world that rape is not an inevitable by-product of war, but a crime that can be stopped if we build the skill and the will to respond.”
Speaking on behalf of UNIFEM, retired Major General Patrick Cammaert, former Division Commander for Eastern DRC for the UN’s mission there (MONUC), said: “We must work differently…We need new sources of situational awareness, better relations with civilians, more female troops and police, training on how to respond to these acts, and mandates that are unambiguous about our responsibility as peacekeepers to protect civilians, including women and girls. The new inventory is a significant contribution to this end.”
Funded by the Australian Government’s aid agency (AusAID), the inventory resulted from collaboration between the UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), under the auspices of an inter-agency network, UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict (UN Action).
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