UN Women Report: Protection, Rule of law and Women’s Access to Justice

As part of human rights monitoring and reporting mechanisms to address Member State accountability for violations of women’s human rights, in 2017 the special procedures mechanisms of the Human Rights Council sent a total of 497 communications, of which 36 related to women’s human rights and violations, pertaining to 21 conflict and post-conflict countries.

In 2018 the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.

The 2018 report of the Secretary-General on conflict-related sexual violence identifies 19 countries where verifiable information on incidents exists. Forty-seven parties are listed, the majority are non-State actors. Seven of these have been designated as terrorist groups. Twelve state actors are listed and some of them have assumed commitments to adopt measures to address conflict-related sexual violence. Conflict-related sexual violence incidents are not random or isolated, but integral to the operations, ideology, and economic strategy of a range of state actors and non-state armed groups.

Women remain unequally represented in transitional justice and rule of law institutions. As of July 2018, women comprised 30 per cent of commissioners on United Nations-supported truth commissions; Colombia, five of 11 (45.5 per cent); the Gambia, four out of 11 (36.4 per cent); Tunisia, four of nine (44.4 per cent); Mali, five of 25 (20 per cent) commissioners were women. Of magistrates in the Special Criminal Court in the Central African Republic, only three of 11 (27.3 per cent) were women.

In 2018, the government of Kosovo (under UN Security Council resolution 1244), established a commission to provide reparations to survivors of conflict-related sexual violence. Survivors receive a pension of €230 per month in recognition of their harm suffered.

In 2016, two former military officers in Guatemala were convicted for crimes committed during the country’s armed conflict in the 1980s, including rape and sexual slavery. The Sepur Zarco trial was the first time that a national court prosecuted sexual slavery as an international crime. Now, the victims in that case, a group of impassioned elderly abuelas, are leading the charge to implement the reparations judgment resulting from the case, calling for access to land, health and education for their indigenous community.

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