On September 30th 2009 under the Presidency of the United States and chair of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1888 – the third resolution adopted by the Council under the agenda item of “Women, Peace and Security”, following resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008). Like SCR 1820, SCR 1888 is primarily focused on addressing and preventing sexual violence in conflict. It follows the August 2009 Open Debate on women, peace and security that considered the Secretary-General's report on resolution 1820 (2008) and takes up many of the recommendations contained in that report.
The Debate was monitored by the PeaceWomen Project and information on this and the Secretary General's report on 1820 can be found here.
Resolution 1888 outlines actions the UN and Member States can take to prevent conflict related sexual violence and end impunity and calls for various structural changes within the UN system to meet these aims.
Specifically, resolution 1888:
This resolution fills some gaps left by resolutions 1820 (2008) and 1325 (2000) in several ways.
In addition, the resolution calls for an additional report to be submitted within 3 months on how to more effectively address sexual violence both on the field and within the UN system. This report in particular will be an opportunity to keep these issues on the agenda of the Security Council and the UN and ensure that sexual violence continues to be prioritized.
Gender Architecture: This resolution also identifies the link between the new UN gender architecture established in a recent General Assembly resolution and ending impunity for perpetrators on sexual violence, which is an important part of the overall goal of coordinating UN efforts on these issues in order to more effectively address them.
Women Protection Advisors: The creation of the position of “Women Protection Advisors” (WPAs) within UN peacekeeping missions mirrors the already established “Child Protection Advisors.” It is believed that WPAs will serve the same function and ensure systematic training for peacekeepers as well as support for missions in reporting incidents of sexual violence and implementing the resolutions on the ground.
Team of Experts: The resolution creates a new mechanism called a “team of experts” as needed to situations of particular concern with respect to sexual violence in armed conflict. Once deployed to a specific country, the team will:
1. Work closely with national officials to address impunity by strengthening national judicial and legal capacity to deal with the issue of sexual violence;
2. Identify gaps in the national response to sexual violence and encourage a holistic approach to the issue by enhancing criminal accountability, responsiveness to victims, and judicial capacity;
3. Make recommendations on how to coordinate existing efforts domestically and internationally to reinforce the government's ability to address sexual violence;
4. Work with all UN offices present in the country as well as the newly established Special Representative to fully implement resolution 1820 (2008).
With the adoption of resolution 1888 (2009), sexual violence in conflict is once again recognized as an issue of the highest importance that must be addressed immediately and comprehensively .Although the resolution leaves some holes left to fill, it is a step forward in ensuring that sexual violence in conflict is prevented and responded to systematically by the Security Council, UN System, and Member states.