Background – Sexual and Gender Based Violence
Civilians, including both men and women of all ages, are particularly vulnerable in times of war and conflict. They often lack the means to defend themselves and thus become victims of violence, sexual abuse and gross violations of their human rights. In certain parts of world, the situation is so severe that you could even describe Sexual and Gender Based Violence as an epidemic, where the goal of the perpetrators is to instil fear and control on society. In 2008, the UN Security Council acknowledged this global problem and passed Resolution 1820, demanding an immediate and complete ban on all acts of sexual violence towards civilians in areas of conflicts. This type of violence is considered a weapon of war, and a possible war crime on the same level as genocide, and requires international states, security institutions and forces to address and respond to it.
However, since this UN resolution calls for the same parties that are involved in such conflicts to take it upon themselves to stop these inhuman acts, no real progress has been made. Between July 30 and August 2, 2010, an estimated 242 women were raped in a rebel attack on a group of villages near the mining town of Walikale, in North Kivu province, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. According to a European Union investigation, approximately 20,000 girls and women suffered rape in 1992 in Bosnia-Herzegovina alone, many of them while held in various detention facilities.
It is clear that without proactive as well as dissuasive measures, the situation for women and children regarding sexual violence will not change in current conflict areas nor is it likely to even in future ones.