Conflict-Related Sexual Violence Handbook

Protection of Civilians in Peace Operations:
Enhancing Military Capacity to Address Conflict-Related Sexual Violence.

Today's armed conflicts increasingly expose civilians to extreme violence committed by non-State armed groups as well as State armed forces. Civilians are caught on the frontline of protracted conflict in countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Mali, the Central African Republic, Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq, where one of the most devastating forms of hostilities is Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (CRSV).   

What is Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (CRSV)?

Referring to rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, forced abortion, enforced sterilization, forced marriage and any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity, CRSV is directly or indirectly linked to a conflict. While women and girls are often the primary targets, CRSV is also strategically perpetrated against men and boys in times of armed conflict. This link with conflict may be evident in the profile of the perpetrator, the profile of the victim, the climate of impunity, cross-border consequences and/or violations of the terms of a ceasefire agreement.

Sexual violence is a major impediment to peace and security

Emphasizing the grave and long term consequences of CRSV, four out of eight UN Security Council Resolutions under the Women, Peace and Security agenda consider sexual violence as a major impediment to peace and security. Often used as a war or terror tactic by armed groups and armed forces, CRSV tears the social fabric of entire societies and can amount to genocide as witnessed in former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and more recently in Syria and Iraq. As a result, CRSV jeopardizes stabilization efforts by peace operations as well as sustainable conflict-resolution and effective post-conflict reconstruction.

Military components of peacekeeping missions PLAY A crucial ROLE IN THE prevention of AND RESPONSE TO CRSV

Being mandated to protect civilians, today's peace operations are tasked with the prevention of and response to CRSV. Military components of peacekeeping missions play a crucial role in this field and are expected to address CRSV in a direct manner in increasingly complex environments. In order to enhance military capacity to prevent and respond to CRSV, a handbook is being developed by the Norwegian Defence University College in close coordination with UN DPKO, NATO and other partners. Providing practical tools, the CRSV handbook will be widely distributed to peace operations and troop contributing countries, enabling military components to be better prepared tackling the challenges related to CRSV and hence effectively implement Protection of Civilians mandates. The handbook will be launched in March 2018.

Want to know more?

For further information, please contact the project leaders at NDUC: 

Sine Vorland Holen, +47 9575 3222, or
Dr. Lotte Vermeij,, +47 4794 3534

Published 02 June 2017 12:21.. Last updated 30 October 2019 08:18.