United Nations Security Council to Adopt Resolution to Protect Women in Conflict Situations

Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
September 30, 2009

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will chair a United Nations Security Council Session to adopt a strong resolution to end sexual violence against women and children in conflict-related situations. The resolution, drafted by the United States, outlines actions the UN and Member States can take to help prevent conflict-related sexual violence and end impunity.

The draft resolution states that “ending impunity is essential if a society in conflict or recovering from conflict is to come to terms with past abuses committed against civilians affected by armed conflict and to prevent future such abuses.”

The measure builds on two previous Security Council resolutions, 1820 and 1325, which were instrumental in raising the issue of sexual violence in conflict-related situations onto the Security Council’s agenda.

Resolution 1325, adopted in 2000, requires parties in conflict to respect women’s rights and support their participation in peace negotiations and post-conflict reconstruction. Resolution 1820, adopted in 2008, establishes a clear link between maintaining international peace and security and preventing and responding to the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war. It committed the Security Council to considering appropriate steps to end such atrocities and to punish their perpetrators.

Conflict-related sexual violence against women and children continues in many areas around the world. Many of the survivors of sexual violence are children, particularly girls. In the Democratic Republic of Congo approximately 1,100 rapes are being reported each month, with an average of 36 women and girls raped every day. In addition to these rapes and gang rapes, of which there have been hundreds of thousands over the duration of the conflict, the perpetrators frequently mutilate the women in the course of the attacks.

The United Nations Development Fund for Women reported that in Rwanda, up to half a million women were raped during the 1994 genocide. The numbers were approximately 60,000 in the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s; in Sierra Leone, the number of incidents of war-related sexual violence among internally displaced women from 1991 to 2001 was approximately 64,000.
The follow-on resolution:

  • Calls for the appointment of a Special Representative to lead, coordinate, and advocate efforts to end conflict-related sexual violence against women and children.
  • Requests the Secretary General identify a team of experts to assist governments to prevent conflict-related sexual violence and address impunity, including through strengthening civilian and military justice systems and enhancing national capacity, responsiveness to victims and judicial capacity.
  • Requests that UN peacekeeping missions provide information about the prevalence of sexual violence when reporting to the Security Council.
  • Requests that UN Security Council Sanctions Committees consider patterns of sexual violence when adopting or targeting sanctions.
  • Requests that the Secretary-General identify women’s protection advisors in peacekeeping operations in countries where appropriate.
  • Calls for the Secretary-General to submit annual reports on the implementation of both this resolution and 1820, as well as for more systematic reporting on conflict-related sexual violence.


The Security Council’s action to adopt this resolution is part of the Obama Administration’s work to protect women and children in conflict situations. For more information on Global Women’s Issues please visit //2009-2017.state.gov/s/gwi/.


PRN: 2009/T12-35