“The failures of humanity” in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s compelled the United Nations to review its efforts
to protect unarmed civilians under imminent threat of physical violence. These and other contemporary conflicts brutally demonstrated that “physical violence” includes sexual violence, and that women's perspectives on peace and security could no longer be sidelined.
Despite increased attention over the past decade to the Women, Peace and Security agenda, major analytical and implementation gaps remain. Without detracting from the primary responsibility of national authorities to protect their citizens, an important remaining gap is the potential of uniformed peacekeepers to help fight sexual violence and exert a positive impact on the lives of women and girls and, by extension, civilian communities as a whole. While the focus of this document is on sexual violence, this should be viewed as part of the broader role of peacekeepers in protecting civilian populations, contextualized within the understanding that the restoration of security requires not only protection from physical violence, but establishing a protective environment and finding a lasting political solution.
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