Gender Based Violence and Humanitarian Reform

Our national Consultation Process for the World Humanitarian Summit took place over an eighteen-month period that culminated in the highly successful Irish Humanitarian Summit in July 2015, and a set of concrete recommendations and undertakings to guide Ireland’s Contribution to improved humanitarian Action. We were able to identify six thematic areas in which the Irish humanitarian community would seek to drive reforms. And Thematic Area 4 is one that resonates on International Women’s Day 2016:

Thematic Area 4: Systematically integrate protection and gender-based violence initiatives in norms, policy and practice

Gender is a critical cross-cutting consideration for humanitarian action and one of our recommendations form the consultation process is ensuring gender equality in participation, representation and decision making. However our recommendations also identified the pressing need for concrete initiatives to tackle gender-based violence (GBV) in conflict zones. Men and women have different and specific vulnerabilities during crises, but women and girls are disproportionally and uniquely affected by disasters and armed conflict, and extremely high rates of sexual and gender based violence against women and girls, continue to be common-place in many disasters.

Our Recommendations for the World Humanitarian Summit

  • Support dialogue, exchange and capacity building on protection and the prevention of gender based violence at the local level. In particular, support discussion on the needs and experiences of civilians themselves so that they are reflected at policy and operational levels of humanitarian interventions.
  • Systematically provide training on protection and gender-based violence to civilian and military staff in UN and regional peacekeeping missions at the onset of their deployment, and ensure accountability and transparency on gender-based violence with emphasis on zero-tolerance of abuse among humanitarian actors.
  • Prioritise addressing impunity and bringing perpetrators to justice at all levels and across all actors, engaging with affected communities, including using models for local/traditional justice systems.
  • Integrate gender-based violence prevention and response as a priority at the core of intervention planning. Provide funding for GBV programmes immediately without waiting for data, recognizing that GBV occurs in every emergency.

Our SUGGESTED UNDERTAKINGS for the Irish Humanitarian Community

  • Humanitarian actors/government/academia/diaspora: Explore options for building excellence in training and research in protection and gender based violence, building on the advocacy efforts of the Irish Consortium on Gender-Based Violence and in collaboration with international expertise.
  • Humanitarian actors: Demonstrate in all strategic and operational plans for humanitarian engagement that protection is a primary need and response. Increase and strengthen programming on gender and protection in humanitarian crises.
  • Government: increase targeted humanitarian funding for protection and GBV to incentivise more and better quality programmes.
  • Humanitarian actors/government/academia: Ensure training on protection and GBV for all staff.