UN Women - United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

Security Council

The 15-member UN Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It meets as needed to determine threats to peace or acts of aggression, and to take measures to maintain or restore international peace and security.

The Council has issued a number of resolutions linking women, peace and security. They include the following:

UN Security Council resolution 1325 was unanimously adopted in 2000. A landmark legal and political framework, it acknowledges the importance of the participation of women and the inclusion of gender perspectives in peace negotiations, humanitarian planning, peacekeeping operations, post-conflict peacebuilding and governance.

In 2008, UN Security Council resolution 1820 became the first resolution to recognize sexual violence as a tactic of war, either when used systematically to achieve military or political ends, or when opportunistic and arising from cultures of impunity. It identifies sexual violence as a matter of international peace and security that necessitates a security response. It recognizes that such acts can exacerbate situations of armed conflict and impede the restoration of peace and security. It further notes that rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute a war crime, a crime against humanity, or a constitutive act with respect to genocide.

UN Security Council resolution 1888, adopted in 2009, strengthens resolution 1820 by establishing leadership, deploying expertise and improving coordination among stakeholders involved in addressing conflict-related sexual violence.

Also in 2009, resolution 1889 stressed the need to strengthen the implementation and monitoring of resolution 1325. It calls for the establishment of global indicators, reiterates the mandate for increasing women’s participation and reinforces calls for mainstreaming gender perspectives in all decision-making processes, especially in the early stages of post-conflict peacebuilding.

Adopted in 2010, UN Security Council resolution 1960 provides an accountability system for stopping conflict-related sexual violence. It requests lists of perpetrators and annual reports on parties suspected of committing or being responsible for sexual violence. It stipulates strategic, coordinated and timely collection of information for and briefings to the Security Council on conflict-related sexual violence, and calls for countries to establish specific time-bound commitments to address the issue.

In 2013, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 2106, the sixth resolution on Women, Peace and Security, and the fourth one focused on conflict-related sexual violence. This resolution, which adds greater operational detail to previous resolutions on this topic, reiterates that all actors, including not only the Security Council and parties to armed conflict, but all Member States and United Nations entities, must do more to implement previous mandates and combat impunity for these crimes.