Giving the Appropriate Place to Gender and Human Rights in the Common Security and Defence Policy


Leinonen, Kati. 2010. "Get It Right! Giving the Appropriate Place to Gender and Human Rights in the Common Security and Defence Policy." In CMC Finland Yearbook 2010 on Peacebuilding and Civilian Crisis Management Studies, edited by  Kirsi Henriksson, 74-97. Kuopio: Crisis Management Center Finland.

Author: Kati Leinonen


The present article argues that it is only when human rights and gender aspects are effectively considered throughout a CSDP mission – from its initial planning to its implementation and evaluation – can one “get it right”, that is, plan and implement a CSDP mission successfully. While doing this importantly corresponds to the legal obligations of the EU and its political objectives, systematic consideration of human rights and gender brings about non-deniable operational advantages and increases a mission’s efficiency and effectiveness. While in different missions, depending on their focus and nature, different kinds of approaches to human rights and gender issues are called for, the present article argues that there are no missions, whether civilian or military, to which these aspects would not be relevant.

Although the EU has since 2005 elaborated a robust policy on human rights and gender in CSDP, the picture is mixed if one looks at the Joint Actions establishing the current CSDP missions. A clear reference to human rights and gender aspects at this level would, however, be very important. Today, all the ongoing CSDP missions have human rights and/or gender advisers or focal points; however several amongst them are “double-hatted” between missions or tasks. Although the missions are implementing a number of interesting, specific actions related to human rights and gender, the impact of these should be systematically evaluated in order to further institutional learning. The setting up of the new European External Action Service (EEAS) in 2011 has a potential to further strengthen the human rights and gender mainstreaming in CSDP, and this opportunity will hopefully be fully embraced. Considering the EU’s limited capacity to deploy simultaneous missions across the world, it needs to carefully weigh the different elements of a given situation before deciding to launch CSDP action. The protection of human rights should play a strategic role in this decision making, including as triggers for initiating or for discontinuing EU action.

Keywords: gender, human rights, security policy, defense policy, EU, CSDP mission

Topics: Gender, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Rights, Human Rights, Security, Human Security Regions: Europe

Year: 2010

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