Confronting Sexual Violence in Conflict Situations

Thursday, January 1, 2009
International Women's Tribune Center

‘Confronting Sexual Violence in Conflict Situations' is an extract from IWTC's forthcoming handbook Women Claiming Justice: Using International Law in Conflict and Post- Conflict Situations. It has been developed to support the work of gender justice advocates working at community and national level in conflict-affected countries and to bring to their attention the potential of international laws and policies in their efforts to seek justice and advance women's rights during the peace-building process.

Sexual violence is one of four issues we will address in the handbook. The others are economic and social rights, refugees and internally displaced women, and special protection for girls. In addition to the issue sections, an important component of the handbook will be the Peace Builder's Action Toolkit containing charts, worksheets, handouts, resources and ideas for activists to use in mobilizing women to claim their rights.

One of the underlying assumptions of our work on this handbook is that relatively few people know about these international human rights and humanitarian conventions and even fewer know how to use them. This is true even within the legal community. And not only is there limited knowledge and know-how, but for someone lacking a legal background, reading through these documents can be a long and arduous task. To provide women with more access to this law, we have extracted key points and presented them in a straightforward manner (including by providing the relevant article and paragraph numbers).

In war-torn countries, the challenge of re-building a seriously damaged and fragile justice system may seem daunting. Re-establishing the rule of law is an essential component of the reconstruction process, and we believe women activists can play a vital role. The handbook is in- tended to help them.

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Confronting Sexual Violence in Conflict Situations