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2013 | Refugees International Field Report - South Sudan: investigating sexual violence in conflict proves challenging

In 2009/10 the United Nations Security Council passed Resolutions 1888 and 1960 establishing Women’s Protection Advisors (WPAs), who are mandated to address conflict-related sexual violence in peacekeeping missions in situations where sexual violence is used as a tactic of war. The mandate includes building capacity and reporting incidents of sexual violence for extensive data collection. Six of these WPA’s are assigned to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). However, the implementation of WPAs in South Sudan has been slow. According to this 2013 Field Report this is due to a lack of guidance and leadership, which ccurrently onstrains the effectivity of the mandate.

A second challenge is the fact that  the current recruitment plan does not always guaruntee selecting WPA's that are seasoned experts in the field of conflict-related sexual violence. Furthermore, the Field Report argues that the definition of conflict-related sexual violence used by the WPAs is too restricted and out of date. The Field Report recommends that the UN carry out an external evaluation of the UNMISS WPAs. The pursued goal is welcomed by Refugees International, but the methods that WPAs are currently using are, according to RI actively endangering survivors.