Panel on “Sexual violence in Conflict”

As the first annual Secretary General’s report on SCR 1820 on sexual violence in conflict was prepared, there was a great deal of discussion in the international community regarding sexual violence as a security issue. In recognition of this an expert panel co-organized by the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security and the Open Society Institute and hosted by the Mission of Austria to the United Nations, was held to provide some thoughts on understanding patterns of sexual violence by armed groups; how is condemned or condoned; and that sexual violence is not inevitable in conflict.

This was followed by a discussion on how such information can be gathered and used by the Security Council as it moves forward on the implementation of both SCR 1820 and SCR 1325. This panel will followed up on and investigate one of the key issues raised during the discussion on sexual violence data collection hosted at the Austrian mission on 13th January, 2009.


Elisabeth Woods, Professor, Yale University
Ms. Woods is currently undertaking research on patterns and variance of sexual violence by armed groups. She is developing a framework for the study of sexual violence as part of armed groups’ repertoires of violence and seeking to understand when it is or not used as a tactic of war.

Jocelyn Kelly, Researcher, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
Ms. Kelly is currently undertaking research on sexual violence in DRC. She has just completed research on the Mai Mai in order to understand their command structures, communications channels and its use of sexual violence as a tactic. The next phase of her research will be on this same issue with other groups in Congo, including the FDLR and CNDP.