Sexual violence in conflict.

NCGM spoke about possible role of military components in addressing sexual violence on peace support operations.

28th of March a conference on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict was held in Sarajevo.

Special Envoy Angelina Jolie addressed the audience about her experiences she has received working as special envoy regarding preventing sexual violence.
“Your actions as military may be the difference between perpetrators being caught and brought to justice and that they might get on unpunished. It is time to make sure that the victims are seen and get justice instead of risking to meet their perpetrators in the streets.” Ms Jolie ended her speech by saying
“You are in the frontline risking your life for sawing others; thank you!”

The UK Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Mr William Hague informed about the UK initiative launched in May 2012 addressing Sexual Violence in Conflict at highest possible level, at the G8 meetings as well as in the UN Security Council. Sexual Violence is not side effect of war, it is used as a weapon of war in the most horrible, savaging and moral outrage ways and it has to be stopped now. Peacebuilding should be seen in a new light and peacekeepers need to be trained on new skills and how to understand the need to protect civilians when they are in the frontline facing sexual violence.
Several other distinguished speakers from BiH and the Region spoke on the same subject and stated their political commitment to take actions on preventing sexual violence in conflict. It should start in their own region to visualise the victims from the war and give them justice. Additionally training programs are to be developed to give the military tools to address and handle Sexual Violence.

Commander Jan Dunmurray, Head of the Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations (NCGM) labelled how to bring down the political commitments down to practical education and training tools valid for generals as well as for soldiers on the ground. Dunmurray stressed the importance to look upon Sexual Violence in Conflict in a broader context including all the UN Security Council resolutions on Women Peace and Security, and to apply a gender perspective. Furthermore it is important to stress the importance to the attending generals, as key leaders, responsibility to make sure to apply to UN Zero tolerance regarding all kind of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse within their own Force. If you do not take legal actions against any perpetrators in your troops you will be held responsible and brought to justice. The same responsibility goes to give the orders in order to create and conduct a training program how to handle those questions.

"Both Leaders and soldiers have to be trained how to mitigate Sexual Violence in Conflict wherever it occurs" concluded Cdr Dunmurray his speech.

The outcome of the conference was to state the strong regional political commitment, addressing the UK initiative program aiming at global support to take actions to stop sexual violence in conflict, and to establish some best practices and lessons learned how the military and police can strengthen their efforts, especially regarding education and training, in order to tackle how to stop and prevent sexual violence in conflict.