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  • Writer's pictureThe Gender Security Project

WPS Agenda: Resolution 1888 (2009)

The third resolution constituting the WPS Agenda was United Nations Security Council Resolution 1888. Unanimously adopted on September 30, 2009, the key additions this resolution made to the WPS agenda was the establishment of a special representative to address sexual violence in armed conflict.

The run up to Resolution 1888

The resolution was introduced by the United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who also presided over the session. The United States held the September Presidency of the Security Council. Led by the US, over 60 nations urged the Security Council to adopt the resolution and to expand the scope of protections provided to prevent sexual violence and other forms of violence against women in conflict zones. These states also called for the consideration of imposing sanctions on countries where such violence against women is used as a weapon of war. Hillary Clinton addressed the Security Council, saying:

“Even though women and children are rarely responsible for initiating armed conflict, they are often war’s most vulnerable and violated victims. While the UN has been making special efforts since 2000 to prevent violence against women globally, violence against women and girls in conflict-related situations has not diminished; in fact, in some cases, it has escalated. In too many countries and in too many cases, the perpetrators of [such] violence are not punished, and so this impunity encourages further attacks. Our failure as an international body to respond concretely to this global problem erodes our collective effectiveness. We must act now to end this crisis not only to protect vulnerable people and promote human security, but to uphold the legitimacy.”

What does Resolution 1888 say?

Resolution 1888 affirms Resolutions 1325 and 1820, and calls for attention to the continued perpetration of sexual violence in armed conflict. It mandates peacekeeping missions to protect women and children from rampant sexual violence in armed conflict. It also calls upon the Secretary-General to appoint a special representative to coordinate a range of mechanisms to fight the crimes, and to rapidly deploy a team of experts to situations of particular concern in terms of sexual violence, to work with United Nations personnel on the ground and national Governments on strengthening the rule of law.

The resolution affirmed that the Security Council would consider the prevalence of rape and other forms of sexual violence when imposing or renewing targeted sanctions in situations of armed conflict. In order to enhance the effectiveness of measures for the protection of women and children by peacekeeping missions, the Security Council also decided to identify women’s protection advisers among gender advisers and human rights protection units. Other provisions of the text included the strengthening of monitoring and reporting on sexual violence, the retraining of peacekeepers, national forces and police, and calls to boost the participation of women in peacebuilding and other post-conflict processes. 

The key provisions of the resolution include the following:

  1. It calls for the appointment of a Special Representative to provide leadership and coordination to the United Nations efforts’ in addressing sexual violence in armed conflict.

  2. It urges legal and judicial reforms by States to end impunity of sexual violence during conflict and bring about justice to victims.

  3. It discusses the inclusion of acts of rape and sexual violence as designated sanctions.

  4. It calls for peacekeeping mandates to include specific provisions on the prevention and response to sexual violence, as well as provisions on the protection of women and children led by women’s protection advisers.

  5. It invites local and national leaders to sensitize communities on sexual violence in order to avoid stigmatization of victims and assist with their reintegration in society.

  6. It urges the inclusion of issues related to sexual violence in areas of pre-ceasefires, human rights agreements, and disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration.

  7. It calls for the deployment early-warning indicators of the use of sexual violence.

Engaging further

Read the resolution here.


UN Security Council Resolution against Sexual Violence (Read) The importance of Resolution 1888 (Read) UN Security Council Resolution 1888 (Read) Sexual violence: A War Tactic (Read)

Documented by Kirthi Jayakumar


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