UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict (UN Action) STOP RAPE NOW unites the work of 13 UN system entities with the goal of ending sexual violence during and in the wake of conflict. Launched in 2007, it is a concerted effort by the UN system to improve coordination and accountability, amplify programming and advocacy, and support national efforts to prevent sexual violence and respond effectively to the needs of survivors. UN Action is chaired by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict (SRSG-SVC), a post currently held by Zainab Hawa Bangura, who assumed the post in September 2012. UN Action structures its planning and activities around three pillars: (i) Country-Level Action, which includes strategic support to UN Missions and UN Country Teams to help design Comprehensive Strategies to combat conflict-related sexual violence; incorporate early-warning indicators of sexual violence into their existing monitoring systems; and build systems to monitor, analyse and report on patterns and trends in conflict-related sexual violence as a means to target perpetrator impunity and improve service provision for survivors; (ii) Advocacy for Action by raising public awareness through the Stop Rape Now Campaign and the Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence Against Women campaign; generating political will on this issue, including by contributing to and shaping messaging for the Secretary-General’s annual report, which serves as a global advocacy instrument; and supporting the public engagements, statements and missions of the SRSG-SVC; and (iii) Knowledge-Building, through research and the development of tools to improve data collection and analysis, enhanced provision of services, and training to improve protection and prevention.
In June 2007, the Secretary-General’s Policy Committee endorsed UN Action as “a critical joint UN system- wide initiative to guide advocacy, knowledge- building, resource mobilization, and joint programming around sexual violence in conflict”. Security Council resolutions 1820 (2008) and 1888 (2009) 1960 (2010) and 2106 (2013) have shaped UN Action’s bi-annual Strategic Framework, which sets goals for the network.
In December 2008, UN Action created a Multi-Donor Trust Fund to pool resources, tightening accountability for joint UN system action against sexual violence in conflict. UN Action supported the recruitment of a Programme Manager to coordinate the Joint Government-UN Programme on Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Liberia. UN Action also provided financial support to UNFPA for two UN system-wide gender-based violence coordinators in Darfur, Sudan. UN Action also provided financial support to UNFPA for the training of GENCAP (Gender Stand-by Capacity) Advisers in November 2008. UN Action hired a recruitment specialist to conduct a global search for gender-based violence programme coordinators/advisers. UN Action implemented DPKO-led research missions to UNMIL, Liberia (September 2008) and MONUC, Democratic Republic of Congo (January 2009), with the aim of finalizing and field-testing an Analytical Inventory of Responses by Peacekeeping Personnel to War-Related Violence Against Women. The Inventory catalogues examples of good practice in protecting women from sexual violence. UN Action convened an OHCHR-led high-level panel on sexual violence in December 2008, as a follow-up to the conference “Women Seeking Justice – Getting Law”, co-financed by UN Action. A range of advocacy resources on the Security Council resolution 1820 (2008) were added to the UN Action ‘Stop Rape Now’ website. In response to the use of sexual violence as a tactic of war in the context of the renewed conflict in Eastern DRC, UN Action issued and distributed a joint advocacy statement. In November 2008, UN Action organized a panel discussion on “Sexual violence against women and children in conflict” as part of the Inter-Parliamentary Union – UN Hearing, and prepared a concept note. UN Action’s Senior Adviser on Sexual Violence in MONUC, DRC, undertook a mapping exercise, in August 2008, of existing and planned activities by international actors on sexual violence; and collaborated with EUPOL to convene a “day of reflection” in November 2008 on strengthening the capacity of the Congolese National Police to prevent and respond to sexual violence. UN Action gave briefings to NGOs and to Missions on sexual violence data-collection, including proposals for more timely and reliable data, as well as benchmarks for measuring progress. UN Action convened a WHO-led experts meeting in Geneva, in December 2008, on “Sexual Violence in Conflict: Data and data-collection methodologies”. The meeting resulted in an agreed research agenda and guidance on information-collection, while providing a meaningful evidence-basis of prevalence data and trend analysis to inform effective interventions.Hide
The UN Action Secretariat organized the consultative process with the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security and Member States and drafted the Secretary-General’s 2nd report on the implementation of Security Council Resolutions 1820 and 1888. The UN Action Secretariat worked with UN Women to organize the consultative process and drafting of the Paper for the Secretary General’s Policy Committee on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence. The Secretary General’s Policy Committee decisions included the preparation of guidance notes by the Office of the Special Representative to the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict on monitoring, analysis and reporting arrangements for conflict-related sexual violence ; the development of early-warning indicators of spikes in sexual violence by UN Action; the engagement of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict and senior UN officials in dialogue with parties to armed conflict to elicit protection commitments to prevent and address sexual violence, and implementation of these commitments will be monitored as part of the application of listing and delisting criteria; the development of new guidance by UN Women, OHCHR, and other UN entities, on reparations for victims of conflict-related sexual violence. From 28 September to 6 October, Margot Wallström, the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict and Chair of the UN Action network, visited Walikale in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to investigate the use of sexual violence as a tactic of war in this conflict, particularly with regard to the mass rapes of late August 2010. The Special Representative of the Secretary General briefed the Security Council on her return. Ms. Wallström also visited Bosnia from 22-25 November to meet with survivors of sexual violence from the conflict of the early 1990s and hear about their experiences in accessing justice and reparations. Her visit shone a spotlight on issues of impunity in the aftermath of the conflict in the region. The UN Action Secretariat has translated Addressing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: An Analytical Inventory of Peacekeeping Practice into French and Spanish for distribution to peacekeeping training centers. UN Action continues to pursue its advocacy campaign using a variety of communications efforts, including the Stop Rape Now website. Active involvement of former UNIFEM now part of UN Women continued in the work of the UN Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict, most especially in the areas of mediation, trainings for peacekeeping, reparations for survivors, and advocacy. As a key member of UN Action as well as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee on Sexual Violence in Conflict, UNFPA is actively involved in addressing issues of sexual violence in conflict via ongoing programmatic interventions in countries that are in conflict, post-conflict and humanitarian settings. In the past six months UN Action’s Multi-Donor Trust Fund has provided funding for the following projects: • A series of meetings among several stakeholders in Bosnia to discuss obstacles to Bosnian women’s participation in accountability mechanisms for incidences of sexual violence, spearheaded by UNFPA. • A technical meeting on responding to the psychosocial and mental health needs of sexual violence survivors, led by WHO. • The development of a guidance note and trainings for mediators on issues of sexual violence, spearheaded by DPA. • A new two-year post within DPKO to work on the full implementation of Security Council Resolutions 1820, 1888 and 1960. As part of its work with UN Action, WHO, with US Center for Disease Control (CDC), is developing two survey instruments for measuring conflict related sexual violence and to understand men's motivations, risk factors and perpetration of such violence.Hide
UN Action presented seminars on Security Council resolutions 1820/1888 and on sexual violence for UNHCR and WHO staff, in Geneva. A briefing for a range of donors and civil society partners on the UN response to the new Security Council frameworks was presented in December 2009 in Geneva, hosted by the Norwegian Mission. In October 2009, UN Action presented a “webinar” on Security Council resolutions 1820 and 1888, hosted by UNFPA, for UNFPA field staff. A briefing for Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) staff was held in January 2010. At the request of the DSRSG of MINURCAT, UN Action undertook a technical assessment mission to Chad, in November 2009, to better understand the UN system’s response to conflict-related sexual violence and to explore options for strategic support. The assessment team held consultations with representatives from a range of UN agencies. Strategic support is being provided to MINURCAT and the UNCT to develop a Comprehensive Strategy on Gender-based Violence – Including Sexual Violence, for Eastern Chad. In January 2010, UN Action in collaboration with UNDP engaged a Senior Advisor in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to oversee implementation of the Comprehensive Strategy on Combating Sexual Violence in DRC. At the request of the RC/HC, UN Action fielded an inter-agency mission to Cote d’Ivoire, in January 2010, to assess options for support to the UN’s response to gender-based violence, including sexual violence, and to review the draft National Strategy on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence. UNDP, OHCHR and DPKO worked under UN Action auspices to develop a joint concept note for a rapidly-deployable Team of Experts on rule of law, as mandated by Security Council resolution 1888, to help address impunity for sexual violence. The UN Action Resource Management Committee approved two funding proposals to support UN system-wide action at country level: (1) Establishing a system to track allocations and expenditures on sexual violence programmes through UN managed financing mechanisms (e.g. CAPs, CERF, CHFs, PBSO, MDTFs) and other sexual violence related funding modalities as part of a broader effort to track gender related allocations; and (2) Training of humanitarian actors to facilitate the roll-out of the Standard Operating Procedures Guide on addressing gender-based violence in humanitarian settings. UN Action convened inter-agency meetings to assist Member States in the framing of Security Council resolution 1888, adopted on 30 September 2009. Under its knowledge-building pillar, the UN Action Resource Management Committee approved a funding proposal submitted to UN Action’s Multi-Donor Trust Fund to map examples of positive interactions with non-State actors, with a view to developing preventative diplomacy strategies and guidance on addressing sexual violence with non-State armed groups. UN Action continued to support the Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women, through regular participation in the inter-agency working. UN Action promoted a global online photo drive during the 16 Days of Activism against GBV 2009 and in collaboration with DPI, it presented its images, as a photo montage, at the launch of the Secretary-General's Network of Men Leaders in November 2009. UN Action mobilized new media/social networking tools to amplify the Stop Rape Now campaign (www.facebook.com/unaction; www.twitter.com/unaction). A Public Service Announcement (PSA) has been developed for broadcast and online distribution, with support from OCHA, UNIFEM and DPI, to popularize the “Stop Rape Now” message. In collaboration with the UN Division for the Advancement of Women, UN Action contributed the “Feature Item” on sexual violence in conflict settings for the October 2009 issue of Words to Action: Newsletter on violence against women, issued by the UN Division for the Advancement of Women.Hide
UN Action is providing strategic and technical support to selected UN Country Teams and Peace Keeping Operations to strengthen their efforts to prevent sexual violence, protect women, respond to the needs of survivors, and ensure judicial redress. It is also training a cadre of senior GBV Coordinators. UN Action’s advocacy efforts focus on raising public awareness and outrage about rape in war, as well as generating political will from bodies such as the Security Council and Human Rights Council to address rape in war as an issue of international peace and security, and a war crime as well as gross violation of human rights. UN Action is building a knowledge hub, mapping good practices and effective responses to the needs of survivors and their communities.Hide
A Senior Advisor on Sexual Violence was posted to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC). In June 2008, UN Action hired an Advocacy and Women’s Rights Specialist to lead its advocacy efforts under the banner “Stop Rape Now” (see www.stoprapenow.org). In May 2008, UN Action co-sponsored a high-level conference at Wilton Park entitled, “Women targeted or affected by armed conflict: What role for military peacekeepers?”. Government officials, military commanders, NGO representatives and other experts reviewed front-line military tactics to protect women from sexual violence in armed conflict. The outcomes were discussed, in July 2008, in a briefing for Heads of military components of peacekeeping operations. UN Action has developed a PowerPoint presentation on Security Council resolution 1820 (2008) on sexual violence in conflict, to heighten awareness of the implication of the resolution for the work of the UN system. The presentation is available at www.stoprapenow.org. In August 2008, UN Action organized a briefing in New York for NGOs around resolution 1820. UN Action has published two documents to support the UN system’s response to sexual violence in conflict settings. These are posted on UN Action’s website: - Do’s and Don’ts: Reporting and interpreting data on sexual violence from conflict-affected countries - Summary of Ethical and Safety Recommendations for researching, documenting and monitoring sexual violence in emergencies.Hide
UN Action continued to finance the Programme Manager for the Joint Government-UN Programme on Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Liberia. The Programme Manager worked to develop management and coordination systems as well as to establish benchmarks to monitor the implementation and impact of the Joint Programme. The recruitment specialist continued to develop a roster of senior and mid-level professionals specialized on gender-based violence and who are available for rapid deployment to conflict-affected countries. The Comprehensive Strategy to Combat Sexual Violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) developed by UN Action’s Senior Adviser on Sexual Violence in MONUC, DRC, was launched by the UN and the Government of DRC in March 2009 and formally presented to the UN Security Council on 9 April 2009. The Comprehensive Strategy provides a clear framework for addressing sexual violence in the DRC. The Strategy is based on four interlocking pillars: 1) combating impunity for cases of sexual violence; 2) prevention of sexual violence; 3) security sector reform; and 4) multi-sectoral response to improve access of survivors of sexual violence to a wide range of services. In April 2009, UN Action undertook an assessment of the effectiveness of its strategic support to addressing sexual violence in the DRC. The assessment concluded that the UN Action network should continue to provide strategic support to MONUC and the UNCT to help operationalize the Comprehensive Strategy. UN Action continued to develop the Stop Rape Now website (www.stoprapenow.org). New web features were developed, including an Updates from the Field page, which showcases UN Action efforts to combat sexual violence in Liberia and the DRC. Significant support was garnered following the posting of a photo of UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman at the StopRapeNow site. UN Action is encouraging all UN member entities to contribute photos of their respective Goodwill Ambassadors. UN Action also created a “Fans of SCR1820” page on Facebook, and a UN Action Twitter page, with links from both sites to the News hub on the StopRapeNow website. As at September 2009, there were over 1,380 fans of SCR 1820 on Facebook. As part of the StopRapeNow campaign, and in conjunction with the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, UN Action developed tools on Security Council Resolution 1820, including a poster, notebooks, pins and banner-pens. In order to improve collaboration with NGO partners, UN Action chaired a session on sexual violence during the Consultation with Civil Society on the Secretary-General’s UNiTE Campaign in March 2009. UN Action undertook a number of advocacy events throughout September 2009 to coincide with the presentation of Security Council resolution 1888 on sexual violence in armed conflict, which was adopted unanimously by the Security Council on 30 September 2009. Under the aegis of UN Action, WHO was spearheading efforts to develop a standardized instrument and methodology to collect data on conflict-related sexual violence. UNICEF and WHO were leading a process to develop programmatic benchmarks for measuring progress in preventing and responding to sexual violence.Hide
UNICEF and WHO, supported by UN Action funds, organized a technical meeting on Responding to the Psychosocial and Mental Health Needs of Sexual Violence Survivors in Conflict-Affected Settings from 28 to 30 November 2011.Hide
In Somalia, UNODC is implementing a project funded by UN ACTION to pilot the UNODC/WHO tool on strengthening the medico-legal response to sexual violence. Police officers were trained on criminal justice response to gender-based violence in View More
In Somalia, UNODC is implementing a project funded by UN ACTION to pilot the UNODC/WHO tool on strengthening the medico-legal response to sexual violence. Police officers were trained on criminal justice response to gender-based violence in conflict.Hide