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A Reflection on the Prevention of Sexual Violence in Conflict through Positive Role-Modelling

In the context of the 20th anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women and peace and security, the journal of International Peacekeeping is publishing a series of articles entitled “Peacekeeping Prevention: Strengthening Efforts to Preempt Conflict-related Sexual Violence[1]”.

Anki Sjöberg, Fight for Humanity’s co-Director, contributed to this forum with an article on experiences from the prevention of Conflict-related Sexual Violence (CRSV) with non-State armed actors.

“When encouraging armed actors to prevent sexual violence and promote gender equality, it is also important to highlight positive examples, research in neuroscience has shown that only showcasing violations may have a counterproductive effect – contributing to more, not fewer violations” she says. In her article, she provides lessons learnt from her long experience on advocating the prevention of sexual violence towards non-State armed actors and she draws a set of recommendations on how to be more successful:

  • Working on gender issues can be a door opener with non-State armed actors, as discussions exclusively on CRSV are sensitive, provides high risks and limited incentives for them.

  • Focusing on sexual violence and not just CRSV could help create and maintain the interest of non-State armed actors interlocutors, as they may be facing challenges that don’t relate in direct terms to the conflict, such as domestic violence and abuse.

  • Context-specific and targeted data on violations provides a basis for advocacy work towards non-State armed actors and allows them to find solutions that fit the actual problem. If well done and acknowledging efforts undertaken it can also help build confidence in the dialogue process.

  • Positive role-modelling is a as way of helping non-State armed actors accept a change in behaviour.

“To be able to approach armed actors on this issue it is also essential that peacekeeping forces and policies support the creation or expansion of space for human rights actor such as Fight for Humanity” she stresses.

To read all the articles click here and for Anki Sjöberg's article go to page 562.

20 years ago, on 31 October 2000, the United Nations (UN) Security Council adopted resolution 1325 that reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace-building and peacekeeping. The International Peacekeeping is an international peer-reviewed journal that examines the theory, practice, outcomes and consequences of peacekeeping operations throughout the world.

[1] Olsson, Louise, Angela Muvumba Sellström, Stephen Moncrief, Elisabeth Jean Wood, Karin Johansson, Walter Lotze, Chiara Ruffa, Amelia Hoover Green, Ann Kristin Sjöberg and Roudabeh Kishi. 2020. FORUM. Peacekeeping Prevention: Strengthening Efforts to Preempt Conflict-related Sexual Violence, International Peacekeeping.


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