Sylabus Topic

Whose Zero Tolerance Counts? Reassessing a Zero Tolerance Policy against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by UN Peacekeepers


Kanetake, Machiko. 2010. "Whose Zero Tolerance Counts? Reassessing a Zero Tolerance Policy against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by UN Peacekeepers." International Peacekeeping 17 (2): 200–14.

Author: Machiko Kanetake


The UN's commitment to zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, which has been strengthened ever since the Secretary-General's 2003 ‘Bulletin’, must be understood against the general public's non-tolerance of sexual misconduct by peacekeepers. While the UN has devoted its energy to restoring the public's confidence, the implementation of the policy cannot be effective, due to the limits of the UN's command authority, without the adoption of the same policy in contingent-contributing countries, who assume even greater roles under the revised model memorandum of understanding in 2007. Furthermore, not all victims approve the UN's zero tolerance pledge, out of fear that they may lose their only recourse to making a living. While it will likely take time to alleviate existing obstacles to align all the actors involved, the general public may not be tolerant enough to allow a further moratorium.

Topics: International Organizations, Peacekeeping, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

Year: 2010

Addressing Sexual Violence in Internationally Mediated Peace Negotiations


Jenkins, Robert, and Anne Marie Goetz. 2010. "Addressing Sexual Violence in Internationally Mediated Peace Negotiations." International Peacekeeping 17 (2): 261–77.

Authors: Robert Jenkins , Anne Marie Goetz


Negotiated peace agreements rarely address the legacy of wartime sexual violence committed by state and non-state armed actors, even in cases where mass rape has been a prominent feature of the conflict. This article examines why this has been the case. It assesses the implications of UN Security Council resolution 1820 (June 2008), which calls for internationally mediated peace talks to address conflict-related sexual violence; advances reasons why doing so may contribute to more durable peace; and outlines where specific textual references to sexual violence in peace agreements could enhance the well-being of survivors and reduce the chances of brutal and widespread sexual violence persisting in the post-conflict period. The article focuses on five types (or elements) of peace agreement: (1) early-stage agreements covering humanitarian access and confidence-building measures; (2) ceasefires and ceasefire monitoring; (3) arrangements for demobilization, disarmament and reintegration (DDR) and longer-term security sector reform (SSR); (4) post-conflict justice institutions; and (5) provisions relating to reparations for victims of serious human rights abuses.


Topics: DDR, Economies, Gender, Women, Girls, Gender Roles, Gender-Based Violence, International Human Rights, Justice, Crimes against Humanity, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Reparations, Transitional Justice, War Crimes, Peacekeeping, Post-Conflict, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325, UNSCR 1820, Security Sector Reform, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

Year: 2010

The Role of Women in Global Security


Norville, Valerie. 2011. The Role of Women in Global Security. 246. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace.

Author: Valerie Norville


This report examines women’s roles in peacebuilding, postconflict reconstruction, and economic development. It draws on discussions at the conference on The Role of Women in Global Security, held in Copenhagen on October 29–30, 2010, and co-hosted by the U.S. Embassy in Denmark and the Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in partnership with the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). Ambassador Laurie S. Fulton, U.S. ambassador to Denmark and former member of USIP’s board, brought together participants from the United States, Nordic-Baltic countries, Afghanistan, Liberia, and Uganda to focus on the roles that women can play as leaders in areas of active conflict and postconflict. Participants from the public and private sector, including the military, civilian, NGO, academic, and corporate worlds, joined to share experiences and best-practice recommendations on how to increase women’s participation in their communities to effect positive change: resolving active conflicts, assisting in postconflict reintegration, and furthering economic development. Ambassador Fulton noted that men and women with first-person practical experience were able to share their recommendations with those “who represent political leadership from host countries and international organizations who can encourage implementation of those recommendations.”



• Building lasting peace and security requires women’s participation. Half of the world’s population cannot make a whole peace.

• Ten years after the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1325 on increasing women’s participation in matters of global security, the numbers of women participating in peace settlements remain marginal.

• While improvements have been made, women remain underrepresented in public office, at the negotiating table, and in peacekeeping missions.

• The needs and perspectives of women are often overlooked in postconflict disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR), as well as in security sector reform, rehabilitation of justice, and the rule of law.

• Many conflicts have been marked by widespread sexual and gender-based violence, which often continues in the aftermath of war and is typically accompanied by impunity for the perpetrators.

• A continuing lack of physical security and the existence of significant legal constraints in postconflict societies hamper women’s integration into economic life and leadership.

• Best practices for increasing women’s participation include deployment of gender-balanced peacekeeping units, a whole-of-government approach to security sector and judicial reform, and more intentional solicitation of the input of women at the community level on priorities for national budgets and international programs. 

Topics: Economies, Economic Inequality, Peacebuilding, Peacekeeping, Peace Processes, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Security, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325, UNSCR 1820, UNSCR 1888, UNSCR 1889

Year: 2011

Reform or More of the Same? Gender Mainstreaming and the Changing Nature of UN Peace Operations


Barnes, Karen. 2006. “Reform or More of the Same? Gender Mainstreaming and the Changing Nature of UN Peace Operations”. YCISS Working Paper 41, Department of International Relations, London School of Economics, London.

Author: Karen Barnes

Topics: Conflict Prevention, Gender, Gender Mainstreaming, Governance, Post-Conflict Governance, Peacebuilding, Peacekeeping, Peace Processes, Post-Conflict, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325, Violence

Year: 2006

Nordic Exceptionalism and Gendered Peacekeeping: The Case of Iceland


Loftsdóttir, Kristín, and Helga Björnsdóttir. 2015. “Nordic Exceptionalism and Gendered Peacekeeping: The Case of Iceland.” European Journal of Women’s Studies 22 (2): 208–22. doi:10.1177/1350506814543839.

Authors: Kristín Loftsdóttir, Helga Björnsdóttir


The Nordic countries have been major contributors to peacekeeping, often seen as particularly well suited due to their lack of ties to colonialism and supposedly peaceful nature. The article critically addresses this idea in relation to how gender equality has been conceptualized in peacekeeping taking as an example Icelandic peacekeeping. Iceland’s recent engagement in peacekeeping has strongly emphasized gender issues but has lacked an engagement with issues of power and domination and thus reflects a particular idea of ‘Nordic exceptionalism’. The authors emphasize in their discussion the need to maintain critical feminist perspectives that take diverse relations of power into account.

Keywords: exceptionalism, Gender, Iceland, peacekeeping, racism

Topics: Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Peacekeeping, Race Regions: Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Iceland

Year: 2015

Feminist Knowledge and Emerging Governmentality in UN Peacekeeping


Reeves, Audrey. 2012. “Feminist Knowledge and Emerging Governmentality in UN Peacekeeping.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 14 (3): 348-69.

Author: Audrey Reeves


Since the 1970s, gender expertise has achieved a high degree of salience in global governance processes in general, and, over the last decade, within institutions concerned with international peace and security in particular. This study addresses the question of what happens when feminist knowledge is incorporated into the discourse of security institutions. It draws on Michel Foucault’s concept of governmentality to examine the contingent encounters of feminist discourses with the liberal peace paradigm and traditional conceptions of security in the context of United Nations multidimensional peacekeeping operations over the period 1999–2010. Throughout these encounters, political rationalities of peacekeeping tend to subjugate feminist objectives to the broader goal of conflict resolution. Simultaneously, feminists and women’s rights activists who engage with mainstream peacekeeping rationalities are turning into potentially influential ‘gender experts’, who contest and redefine traditional meanings of peace and security. As bureaucratic machineries become involved in the collection of data on post-conflict gender dynamics, such as violence against women and girls, women’s formal political participation and acts of sexual violence committed by peacekeepers, feminist knowledge increasingly informs technologies of population management in post-conflict settings. In the process, certain gendered and racialized identities are normalized, and certain rationales for military intervention in the post-colonial world are put forward, thus contributing to creating new marginalities and consolidating existing ones.

Keywords: gender mainstreaming, governmentality, peacekeeping, power/knowledge

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Girls, Femininity/ies, Gender-Based Violence, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Governance, International Organizations, Peacekeeping, Political Participation, Post-Conflict, Security, Sexual Violence, SV against Women

Year: 2012

Resolution 1325 and Post-Cold War Feminist Politics


Harrington, Carol. 2011. “Resolution 1325 and Post-Cold War Feminist Politics.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 13 (4): 557–75. doi:10.1080/14616742.2011.611662.

Author: Carol Harrington


Social movement scholars credit feminist transnational advocacy networks with putting violence against women on the United Nations (UN) security agenda, as evidenced by Resolution 1325 and numerous other UN Security Council statements on gender, peace and security. Such accounts neglect the significance of superpower politics for shaping the aims of women's bureaucracies and non-governmental organizations in the UN system. This article highlights how the fall of the Soviet Union transformed the delineation of ‘women's issues’ at the UN and calls attention to the extent that the new focus upon ‘violence against women’ has been shaped by post-Cold War US global policing practices. Resolution 1325's call for gender mainstreaming of peacekeeping operations reflects the tension between feminist advocates’ increased influence in security discourse and continuing reports of peacekeeper perpetrated sexual violence, abuse and exploitation.

Keywords: Cold War, transnational advocacy networks, new wars, democratization, peacekeeping, human rights, feminism, violence against women, United Nations

Topics: Armed Conflict, "New Wars", Democracy / Democratization, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Gender-Based Violence, Gender Mainstreaming, International Organizations, NGOs, Peacekeeping, Rights, Human Rights, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325, Sexual Violence, SV against Women Regions: Asia, Europe Countries: Soviet Union (former)

Year: 2011

Peacexploitation? Interrogating Labor Hierarchies and Global Sisterhood Among Indian and Uruguayan Female Peacekeepers


Henry, Marsha. 2012. “Peacexploitation? Interrogating Labor Hierarchies and Global Sisterhood Among Indian and Uruguayan Female Peacekeepers.” Globalizations 9 (1): 15–33. doi:10.1080/14747731.2012.627716.

Author: Marsha Henry


As a result of UNSCR 1325, the UN has been eager to decrease incidents of sexual exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping operations, improve local women's security, and balance out the number of women and men in the police and military at both local and international levels. As peacekeeping missions begin to include more female peacekeepers, questions are raised about what this means for women in national militaries, local women in peacekeeping missions, and soldiers or militarized laborers from the ‘developing’ world. While countries such as Uruguay have been sending increasing numbers of female peacekeepers to various UN missions, it was not until 2007 that an all-female contingent was first deployed from India to Liberia and hailed as a gendered success. But in altering the gendered landscape, will the UN merely continue to exploit the cheap military labor of the global South? Will countries like India and Uruguay (major troop-contributing countries to UN peacekeeping operations) continue to bear the burden of providing security? This article examines the limits of a conventional interest in gender and gender relations in thinking about peacekeepers and advocates for an intersectional approach to the issue of female peacekeepers, importantly including the role of geography (and therefore ‘race’, empire and colonialism) in the thinking through the social, cultural, and political effects of peacekeeping deployments.

Keywords: femininity, Gender, geopolitics, global south, Haiti, humanitarian intervention, India, Liberia, masculinity, peacekeeping, United Nations, Uruguay

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Women, Gender Balance, Globalization, International Organizations, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Peacekeeping, Race, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Regions: Africa, West Africa, Americas, South America, Asia, South Asia Countries: India, Liberia, Uruguay

Year: 2012

Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by Peacekeeping Operations in Contemporary Africa


Utas, Mats, and Fanny Ruden. 2009. Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by Peacekeeping Operations in Contemporary Africa. 2. Uppsala, SE: The Nordic Africa Institute.

Authors: Fanny Ruden, Mats Utas


In international peacekeeping operations (PKOs) some individuals are involved in sexual exploitation and abuse of the host country’s population, buying of sexual services and trafficking of prostitutes. Far from being a new phenomenon it goes back a long time, and reports on the issue have increased over the years. All too frequently we read about peacekeepers visiting prostitutes, committing rape, or in other ways sexually exploiting host populations. Some peacekeepers are taking advantage of the power their work gives them, and becoming abusers rather than protectors in situations where the host population is powerless and in dire need of protection. Peacekeepers’ abuse of their mandate is inflicting severe damage on host societies and often results in a number of unintended consequences such as human rights violations, rapid spread of HIV, decreased trust in the UN as well as other international aid agencies, and harmful changes to gender patterns. Women and children, both girls and boys, are especially exposed. Having already suffered from war and instability they risk becoming even more physically and mentally wounded. Peacekeeping operations risk doing more harm than good in African war zones, and if they cannot learn from previous mistakes maybe they ought to stay at home. We do not argue for the latter; rather, we point towards the urgent need to change explicit and implicit patterns and habits in international peacekeeping operations in relation to sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) in Africa. In this Policy Note we focus predominantly on military staff, but acknowledge that the civilian staff of PKOs, and international aid workers, are also implicated. On the other hand it should initially be pointed out that most PKO staff are not sexual exploiters and abusers.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Health, HIV/AIDS, Humanitarian Assistance, International Organizations, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Peacekeeping, Rights, Human Rights, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Africa

Year: 2009


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