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Security Council Resolution on Sexual Violence: Ending Impunity and Affirming Women’s Empowerment

28 June 2013

In the lead up to the UN Security Council Open Debate and resolution on sexual violence in conflict June 24th, WILPF reminded states that sexual violence in conflict is a failure to implement all elements of the full Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda.  Rather than provide Band Aid solutions, we urged them to address root causes of such violence in militarized inequality and take concrete steps to move from resolution to action.

Resolution Background

Resolution 2106 was adopted unanimously by the Security Council on Monday, June 24th. Intended to address impunity and operationalize guidance on the issue of sexual violence in conflict, this resolution did not bring any new concepts to the table.

Key areas addressed include justice, women’s empowerment, arms, women’s human rights, and civil society engagement. Weaknesses hinge on perceptions that a fourth resolution on sexual violence may begin to sound like cheap talk, and concern that a continued focus on this area be complementary to continued support for the full Women, Peace and Security agenda.


We welcome the resolution’s support for recourse to avenues of justice including International Criminal Court (ICC) referral, inclusion of sexual violence in ceasefire prohibitions, exclusion of sexual violence crimes from amnesty provisions, and zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel.

We remind global and local policymakers and activists that while efforts to end impunity are important, collecting data and ensuring retribution for violators must be done in ways that are survivor centered  and ensure women’s equal human rights and participation.

Empowering Women

Photo of the UN Security Council
UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

In the strongest Women, Peace and Security resolution language so far, Resolution 2106 affirms women’s political, social and economic empowerment, gender equality and the enlistment of men and boys as central to long-term efforts to prevent sexual violence in armed conflict and post-conflict situations. We welcome this agreed language, and reiterate the need to continue moving forward on the full WPS agenda.

Militarization and Arms

We support the resolution’s recognition of the gender provision of the 2013 Arms Trade Treaty which obligates states to take into account the risk that arms perpetuate gender based violence. We remind states that the full text declares that “states shall not be permitted to authorize [arms] transfer where there is an overriding risk” of gender based violence (GBV), and urge states to ratify and implement this important agreement.

Women’s Equal Human Rights

We affirm the resolution’s recognition that states bear primary responsibility to respect and ensure the human rights of all persons. We support calls for strengthened deployment and training of Gender Advisors and Women Protection Advisors. We also support requests to provide nondiscriminatory and comprehensive health services including sexual and reproductive health, multi-sectorial services, and livelihood support, taking account the needs of persons with disabilities. We urge action on making meaningful these human rights obligations to be made a priority.

Civil Society

We also welcome the resolution’s calls for recognizing and supporting the work of civil society networks, including in their efforts to provide services to survivors of sexual violence. However, we regret that this recognition is not stronger. We recommend that states strengthen recognition and support for civil society work which contributes to preventing sexual and other forms of violence including through women’s human rights awareness raising, capacity-building, and gender-sensitive early warning systems.

Moving Forward

As civil society, member state, and UN work continues to combat sexual violence and promote security for all people, WILPF welcomes efforts aimed at strengthening women’s equal human rights and participation and reducing the militarization and arms that exacerbate violence against women in so many forms.

WILPF sections all over the world will work to hold our governments accountable and ensure practical measures are taken to address impunity and empower women and women’s organizations. We look forward to working with our partners at every level to translate all of the Women, Peace and Security resolutions into concrete action.

Have you read the resolution? What are your thoughts?  Share your reactions in the comment field below.

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Melissa Torres


Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani


Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo


Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

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