In October 2000, the UN passed Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. It aimed to protect women and girls – during conflict and afterwards, to recognize women’s rights and identify gender-specific crimes in order to protect women and girls from rape and other forms of sexual exploitation. The UN also aimed to end impunity for these crimes.
Rape and sexual exploitation: Since 1995 there have been repeated reports that UN peace-keepers have raped and sexually exploited women and girls in countries where UN forces are deployed to protect civilians. The first cases were reported in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1995 and in the Democratic Republic of Congo from 1999. By 2012, there were reports of sexual exploitation from across 10 UN peacekeeping missions. Few of these reports were properly investigated; many were covered up. Where investigations took place, peacekeepers were sent home, not prosecuted.
UN Immunity from Prosecution: All UN Staff, contractors and other civilian members of UN peacekeeping missions enjoy immunity from prosecution. Although this immunity can – and has been – lifted, very few peacekeepers responsible for sexual exploitation have been tried and prosecuted; in some cases, there will only be an internal disciplinary inquiry, and most cases no action will be taken.
NATO and 1325: In 2007 NATO agreed that their member states should adopt National Action Plans on implementing 1325, through providing training on the status of women in war and post war situations, human rights and international law, the prevention of sexual violence and trafficking, and good conduct.
Impunity for rape and sexual exploitation: Despite Resolution 1325, 19 years later, women and girls in conflict or post-conflict zones are still raped, sexually assaulted, trafficked or sexually exploited in some way by the very people who were put there to protect them. This means impunity for UN Peacekeepers.
At the Leuven meeting, Women in Black vigils agreed to take part in a joint action, initiated by Zene u crnom (Women in Black), Belgrade, to end impunity for sexual exploitation by UN peacekeepers(“blue helmets”).
We are asking WiB groups to take action, during the 16 days Against Violence against Women (26 November to 10 December).
Please open the pdf file for further information.