UN Peacekeeping and Protection from Sexual Violence

Authored by: Karin Johansson and Lisa Hultman

Categories: Peace Support Operations
Sub-Categories: Peacekeeping, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)
Year: 2019
Citation: Johansson & Hultman (2019) UN Peacekeeping and Protection from Sexual Violence. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 63(7): 1656-1681

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Recent years have seen an increased emphasis on both protection of civilians and the problem of sexual violence. We explore the impact of United Nations (UN) peacekeeping on the occurrence of wartime sexual violence. Acknowledging the difficulty in reducing sexual violence, we propose two conditions under which peacekeepers are more likely to be successful: when the mission has a protection mandate and when the conflict actors exercise a high level of control over their forces. We find that the ability of peacekeepers to reduce sexual violence in general is weak. Only police within protection missions reduces the risk of sexual violence by rebels. However, when the actors exercise control, the number of peacekeepers is associated with a lower risk of sexual violence by both governments and rebels. We conclude that dealing with sexual violence by weak and fragmented actors is a challenging task beyond the current capacity of UN peacekeeping.