United Nations Resolution 1820 (2008)

United Nations Resolution 1820 is the first to condemns the use of sexual violence as a tool of war and declares that “rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide

The main points of Resolution 1820 are:

  • Strengthening the protection of women from sexual violence. This includes evacuating women under imminent threat and training troops on prohibition of sexual violence. It also mentions state-specific sanctions against parties to armed conflict who are perpetrators, and making sure that individuals who have participated in sexual violence are excluded from institutions that handle security issues when going into post-conflict.
  • Strengthening advocacy aimed at ending conflict-related sexual violence. Focuses on training of UN peace operations personnel and on ”exposing myths” that fuel sexual violence at country level.
  • Supporting victims of sexual violence. All countries should develop and strengthen their basic health services, maternal care and psychosocial counselling.
  • Countering impunity and strengthening accountability. This includes developing systems to account for and prosecute crimes of sexual violence, and never letting sexual violence be part of amnesty provisions in peace processes. National institutions should also be strengthened so they have the capacity to collect necessary data and evidence to prosecute these crimes.
  • Strengthening women’s participation locally. It mentions the importance of empowering civil society actors who advocate against sexual violence and support victims. Calls for increased dialogue between the UN and regional, state and civil society actors on women and women’s organizations in peace processes and governance. Special envoys should be encouraged to include women in discussions on conflict resolution and peace.
  • Increasing women’s representation and integrating gender perspectives in peace operations. More women should be deployed as peacekeeping personnel, in all professions and at all levels. Extensive training of peacekeeping personnel both regarding codes of conduct and how to keep civilians protected from sexual violence. Zero-tolerance policies on sexual exploitation and abuse in UN peacekeeping operations.