The Law of Armed Conflict and the Operational Relevance of Gender: The Australian Defence Force's Implementation of the Australian National Action Plan


Prescott, Jody. 2016. "The Law of Armed Conflict and the Operational Relevance of Gender: The Australian Defence Force's Implementation of the Australian National Action Plan." In Imagining Law: Essays in Conversation with Judith Gardam, edited by Dale Stephens and Paul Babie, 195-216. South Australia: University of Adelaide Press.

Author: Jody Prescott


“Australia, like many other nations, has now promulgated a national action plan (NAP) to implement UNSCR 1325 across the whole of its government's activities. Unlike other nations' militaries, however, the speed and the thoroughness with which the Australian Defense Force  (ADF) has moved to incorporate the requirements of UNSCR 1325 and related Security Council resolutions as reflected in the Australian NAP into its activities and operations is both heartening and amazing. What is not clear at this point is whether the ADF's implementation of the NAP will culminate in dealing only with the aspects of LOAC and human rights law where they coincide, such as preventing, investigating and prosecuting instances of sex- and gender-based violence (SGBV) in operations. In arguing that the ADF needs to follow the path set out by Professor Gardam and her colleagues regarding the operational relevance of gender to law of armed conflict (LOAC) to its logical and fundamentally transforming conclusion, this chapter will first briefly describe how the differentiated impact of armed conflict and climate change upon women and girls might influence the modern international security environment in which the ADF operates. Mindful of these operational facts, and consistent with the NAP's requirement to enhance normative mechanisms related to the greater protection of women and girls in armed conflict, this chapter will explore the status of women under the LOAC. Next, it will explore ADF doctrine as it exists at the time of this writing, in order to set a baseline against which to measure the ADF's implementation progress. This chapter will then examine the tasks assigned to the ADF by the NAP which are particularly operational in nature, and the way in which these tasks have been translated into action as ADF implementation has progressed. Against this factual, policy and legal backdrop, how the ADF might more fully deal with the broad application of UNSCR 1325 to operational issues involving LOAC will be explored, and certain measures that might foster this result will be recommended” (Prescott 2016, 196-197). 

Topics: Armed Conflict, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, International Law, International Human Rights, Peacebuilding, Sexual Violence, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325 Regions: Oceania Countries: Australia

Year: 2016

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