Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict

From 10 to 13 June 2014, representatives from over 120 countries, including over 80 Ministers, 600 government delegates1,000 experts, religious leaders, representatives of youth,military, international organisations, 100 civil society organisations and survivors of sexual violence came together at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, London. Parallel to the formal experts- and minister meetings, a wide range of activities were held including theatre performances, panel discussions where experts shared recent innovations and for a where survivors spoke out of the trauma they have gone through.

The Swedish Armed Forces International Centre (SWEDINT), including the Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations (NCGM), was present during the week, participating in official sessions of expert and panel discussions with military actors and civil society.

On Thursday 12 June, Cdr Jan Dunmurray, Commander of NCGM, spoke at a panel organised by OSCE on further engagement of military leaders to end sexual violence in armed conflict. Cdr Dunmurray spoke of changing military culture and training armed forces to understand how gender perspectives are important to military operations and providing specific instructions on how to act. “The soldier on the ground needs to know what to do and how to respond appropriately to prevent sexual violence to enable the soldier to take the right decision in what may be a split-second.” NCGM also facilitated a group discussion at an expert session on “Enhancing Military Capabilities”, focussing on the specific importance of relevant and efficient human rights education to troops.A module on preventing sexual violence in armed conflict have been included in all NCGM training packages.

Sexual violence in conflict is a uniquely destructive act and method of war. In 2008, the UNSecurity Council adopted resolution 1820, stressing that sexual violence worsenarmed conflict and hinders the restoration of international peace and security. The Resolution identifies sexual violence as a war crime, a crime against humanity, or a constitutive act with respect to genocide. This follows standards set by the International Criminal Tribunals and the International Criminal Court. In 2012, the United Kingdom launched the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative and the Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, launched in 2013, has to date been endorsed by 155 states.

The Global Summit discussed and agreed on the following in relation to military (extracts, Chair’s summary - policy paper):

- The military is a critical partner for both prevention and protection, but is not always properly equipped to deal with this sensitive and difficult problem.

- Training, including pre-deployment training, for all levels is important and should be comprehensive. It needs to be relevant and practical, scenario-based and operationally-focused.

- Action on sexual violence is a central part of discharging a Peacekeeping Protection of Civilians mandate. Preventing sexual violence should always be a defined mission objective as part of Protection of Civilian responsibilities. The vital role of senior military, police and civilian leadership of peacekeeping missions in addressing sexual violence was highlighted. 

- Civil society considered that there should be more direct oversight, vetting, and benchmarking by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and improved accountability for delivery, ultimately to the UNSC.

- On addressing sexual violence committed by peacekeepers, the Summit agreed that UN processes for investigating sexual violence should be more transparent, and there should be no inconsistency in how civilian and military staff are treated. States must do more to investigate and prosecute their own nationals who have been accused of sexual violence whilst on peacekeeping operations. The outcome of cases should be reported back to victims and missions.

- Female protection advisers and gender advisers should be in influential positions in mission structures, and missions should have a fixed percentage of female police and peacekeepers. Senior military and civilian leadership should be personally accountable for proactive delivery on tackling sexual violence.

- Security and justice sectors should be an enabling environment for the active and meaningful participation of women in post-conflict situations. This could be achieved through comprehensive and on-going mentoring and training for security and justice sector practitioners at all levels

The International Protocol on the documentation and investigation of sexual violence in conflict was launched at the Summit.

For more information about the summit and outcome documents, see