Protection of Women in Armed Conflict

Authored by: Judith Gardam and Hilary Charlesworth

Categories: Human Rights, Violent Conflict
Sub-Categories: International Law, National Security Forces and Armed Groups, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)
Region: No Region
Year: 2000
Citation: Gardam, Judith, and Hilary Charlesworth. “Protection of Women in Armed Conflict.” Human Rights Quarterly 22.1 (2000): 148-66.

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Executive Summary

This article examines the role of the international law in protecting women during armed conflict. The article takes note of role of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in addressing needs of women during armed conflict. Women increasingly bear the major burden of armed conflict. In recent years particular attention has been given to the question of violence against women in armed conflict. The significance of these developments is considerable. Considerable work has been done regarding women and armed conflict by institutions concerned with human rights violations against women generally. Indeed, the process of identifying women’s particular experiences and demonstrating the failure of the law to acknowledge them is more advanced in this context than in organizations focusing solely on armed conflict. It is evident today that women experience armed conflict in a different way than men. The article concludes that the ICRC is finally recognizing the need to address the specific needs of women in armed conflict. However, a serious commitment to real change is needed. As the traditional guardian of International Humanitarian Law, the ICRC must take concrete steps to make the law relevant to the lives of the majority of the world’s population.