In contemporary conflict, characterized by an increased civilian-combatant interface, Conflict-related Sexual Violence (CRSV) is not only a side-effect but a frontline consideration. Civilians are not only random, incidental victims of conflict, but frequently the targets of it. Women and children are frequently the focus of armed violence - waged for the control of populations, as much as territory. In the last decades there has been an increase of reporting on the use of CRSV as a tactic of war. CRSV in armed conflict and post-conflict situations disproportionately affects women and girls, as well as groups (including Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender [LGBT]) that are particularly vulnerable or may be specifically targeted. It also affects men and boys as well as family and community members who are forced witnesses of CRSV against family and community members. The acts of CRSV in situations of armed conflict severely impede:
a. The full enjoyment of Women’s and girl’s rights;
b. The critical contributions of women to society;
c. Durable peace and security; and,
d. Sustainable development.
As war-affected populations, women in particular are at risk to arbitrary violence and deprivation of physical, material and legal safety, UN peacekeeping operations play a vital role in protection of civilians (PoC) and in advancing human rights through their functions. While human rights mandates have featured in UN operations since the 1990s, the Security Council now systematically includes human rights mandates in multi-dimensional missions. As the Secretary-General has highlighted, the credibility of UN missions often rests on their ability to protect people from further human rights violations. The Security Council is increasingly authorizing UN missions to “protect civilians under imminent threat of violence within their capabilities and deployment.” Such mandates are usually adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which allows the use of force beyond self-defence. The ROE of most contemporary UN missions allows military personnel to use deadly force, within their capacity and in areas where they are deployed, to carry out their mandated tasks.