European Network Against Trafficking in Human Beings

New publication

Sexual Violence: Weapon of War, Impediment to Peace

Document number
Sexual Violence: Weapon of War, Impediment to Peace
Forced Migration Review, No. 27
View/save PDF version of this document
Document type(s)
European Union (EU), Africa, Liberia, Iraq, Sudan, Kosovo, Peru, Colombia, Thailand, Burma, Palestine, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Burundi, Congo, Darfur, Somalia, Yemen, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Refugee Studies Centre, Prevention, Internally displaced persons (IDPs); Human rights violation, Crime against humanity, War crime, Armed conflict, Post-conflict situation, Health, HIV/AIDS, Sexually transmitted diseases (STD), Victim protection, Shelter, Repatriation, Empowerment, Redress, Children, Trauma, Data collection
Throughout history, violence against women has been accepted as an inevitable if unfortunate feature of conflict. This is now changing. While such violence continues to be inflicted on a massive scale, it is now recognised as a threat to development, peace and security; a violation of human rights; and a crime under international law. Current inability to protect women and girls in conflict and post-conflict settings represents a human rights failure of massive proportions. Some 40,000 cases of war-related rape were reported during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Between 23,000 and 45,000 Kosovar Albanian women were reportedly raped in 1998 to 1999 at the height of the conflict with Serbia. In Rwanda, 39% of women surveyed reported being raped during the genocide and, in one study, two in three women who were raped were HIV-positive. In Burundi, 19% of a sample of women reported being raped.Unfortunately, these cases are not the exception. Similar horrific data are reported wherever there is conflict. The challenge confronting the international community is whether all parties can make the prevention, treatment and prosecution of sexual violence a priority. There is no shortage of good practices but these are not being carried out at the scale and scope needed.
Related documents