changing perceptions that sexual violence in conflict is acceptable and non punishable

3rd December 2015

London, United Kingdom



The widespread sexual exploitation of women and children in armed conflicts is one of the most common injustices that the international community is failing to face. The suffering inflicted on individuals and families is simply unimaginable. The perpetrators can come from all walks of life: the troops, the peace keepers, and the humanitarian aids personnel. Historically, sexual violence in conflicts aggravates situations and impedes restorations of resolutions and peace.

According the UN International Campaign “Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict”, the evidence from conflicts around the world demonstrates that conflict-based sexual assaults —including rape, sexual slavery, forced pregnancy, sterilization and genital mutilation — are not merely opportunistic acts carried out by individual soldiers and civilians, they are also used strategically by state security forces and armed opposition groups as military tactics aimed at destroying people, communities and entire nations.

Besides the failure to protecting the most vulnerable individuals in armed conflicts, in most cases, the victims are deprived of justice.

  report ( 2014)


  • Anita Tiessen, Chief Executive, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts
  • Claire HicksonHead of Policy and Communications, Womankind Worldwide
  • Sophie Long, BBC Presenter
  • Dr Jelke Boesten, Reader  Gender and Development, International Development Institute, King's College, London
  • Quinton Oliver, Chief Executive, Stratagem International
  • Sonia Sceats, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Freedom From Torture



  • Education and training programmes that can change the perception of perpetrators that sexual violence in war zones is acceptable and non-punishable
  • How countries can transfer their expertise to other countries to support the development and implementation of domestic legislations to criminalise such acts?
  • Identify further channels to campaign for zero-tolerance policies globally and expand the global task forces to stop sexual violence in conflicts? 
  • How to implement the measures of accountability involving all actors linked to such crimes?
  • How to engage women in the political and security structures in regions where they are mostly exposed to such atrocities? 
  • Any other measures to deter the environment of sexual violence in war zones

In 2013, significant efforts were intensified to raise the issue onto the top list of the international agenda. This has led to the adoption of the declaration of Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict by G8 ministers in April, and the adoption of declaration of commitment to end sexual violence in September by over 120 countries. Under international law, sexual violence is now recognised as a war crime, a crime against humanity and, in some cases, genocide.

These declarations and the follow up summit that is taking place in June are leading the global momentum to raise awareness of the gravity of this epidemic and mobilise collective action in the implementations of measures that prevent the widespread sexual exploitation in War Zones.

Whilst sexual violence in conflicts has reached the top priority in the international agenda, there is still a tremendous amount of work ahead involving all the stakeholders to decrease the magnitude of these crimes that have been taking place since the beginning of human kind.

Continuous collective campaigns to raise awareness of the severity of these crimes, the exchange of knowledge and expertise and experiences in the development of domestic legislations globally that guarantee accountability,  educating and training of soldiers, peace keepers and humanitarian aid personnel on their moral and legal obligations in the war zones regarding the sexual exploitation, and supporting the programmes that empower the women participation in the political and security structure globally; all these measures require continuous cooperation among the different stakeholders globally towards making an impact on current and future conflicts.


Global stakeholders, including leading international law experts, senior military personnel, representatives of Humanitarian aid organisations , international organisations representatives, human rights activists, diplomats and academics came together in coming up with practical measures that challenged the acceptability of sexual violence in war zones.

This years round table addressed the topic of what education and training programmes that can change the perception of perpetrators that sexual violence in war zones is acceptable and non-punishable. It aimed to develop policy recommendations based on multi-stakeholder consultation at a global level related to sexual violence in conflicts and Facilitate cooperation, amongst various actors, in knowledge transferand initiation of joint projectsrelated to combating sexual violence in conflicts . We hope that this platform presents an opportunity to share proven education and training programmes that limit the tendency of potential perpetrators to commit these crimes