Rule of law: Justice and security

The legacy of conflict endures long after a peace agreement is signed. Re-establishing the rule of law is foundational to protect women’s rights and security, prevent relapse into conflict, and, ultimately, to achieve sustainable peace.

Our solutions

Rule of law

UN Women works to protect women’s rights and enhance their security by supporting gender mainstreaming and strengthening gender-responsive rule of law institutions by advising on law and policy reforms, promoting access to justice for women and girls, and supporting accountability for conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence.

UN Women is an active member of the Global Focal Point (GFP) on Rule of Law and supports efforts to enhance knowledge and capacity to improve women’s access to justice and security in conflict and post-conflict settings, and compliance with gender policies at the country level.

Read more about the GFP and UN Women’s involvement in the 2018 GFP review.

Transitional justice

Transitional justice is the range of mechanisms used to achieve redress for serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, often used in countries recovering from conflict or repressive regimes to address widespread abuse. Transitional justice mechanisms are key to re-establishing the rule of law.

Gender-sensitive transitional justice ensures that processes secure justice for individual women’s human rights violations and address the context of gender inequality and injustice that gives rise to conflict.

Read more about how UN Women has supported transitional justice in Chad, Guatemala, Kosovo* and Liberia. Learn more about our project with Justice Rapid Response to deploy sexual and gender-based violence justice experts to investigations and accountability mechanisms around the world.

Gender-responsive security sector reform: Achieving security

Security sector reform (SSR) is an integral part of UN assistance to countries and regions affected by conflict, a key component of UN peacekeeping operations, and is increasingly recognized as an essential element in post-conflict peacebuilding. SSR helps build more accountable, effective, and efficient defence and security institutions; it is also key to prevention of violence, as security and justice institutions provide the foundations for resilient societies based on the rule of law and respect for human rights.

Gender-responsive SSR is essential to successfully ensuring that public institutions and security services contribute to the safety and security of women of all ages. To assist security institutions in becoming more gender-responsive, UN Women promotes women’s leadership in decision-making, advocates for increasing the number of women in police and other security organizations, and supports national bodies to develop plans and initiatives focused on women and girls.

Read more about our work with the Inter-Agency SSR Task Force (IASSRTF). 

Read more about how UN Women is supporting women’s participation in police, military and other security services in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, Palestine and Ukraine, as well as across Africa.

*All references to Kosovo shall be understood to be in full compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).