Sexual Violence in African Conflicts

PRIO Policy Brief

Nordås, Ragnhild (2011) Sexual Violence in African Conflicts, CSCW Policy Brief, 1. Oslo: PRIO.

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This policy brief summarizes key findings from a pilot study of conflictrelated sexual violence in conflicts in 20 African countries, encompassing 177 armed conflict actors – state armies, militias, and rebel groups.

  • Mostly indiscriminate
  • Committed only by some conflict actors
  • Often committed by state armies
  • Often committed in years with low levels of killings
  • Often committed post-conflict

The present study forms part of a larger research initiative on Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict (SVAC). The aim of the SVAC project is to collect data that may be used to facilitate the prevention of sexual violence. To achieve this goal, the SVAC research group recommends: (a) that the pilot presented here be extended to the global level, (b) that future research focus on the location and timing of sexual violence; and (c) that increasing attention be paid towards policies of preventing sexual violence in conflict as well as post conflict situations.

PRIO Research Informs Debate about Sexual Violence in Conflict

​​​The Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict is taking place in London on 10-13 June, co-chaired by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The summit is an effort to join forces internationally to combat the culture of impunity, take practical steps, support survivors, and change attitudes towards the issue. At PRIO, researchers have been working on issues of sexual violence in conflict for some time already, teaming up with international experts to perform groundbreaking research and convene large conferences.

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