Women in the Crosshairs: Expanding the Responsibility to Protect to Halt Extreme Gender-Based Violence

TitleWomen in the Crosshairs: Expanding the Responsibility to Protect to Halt Extreme Gender-Based Violence
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsBailey, Christopher M.
JournalThe Air Force Law Review
Date Published03/2018

The current international legal framework does not sufficiently protect women who are victim of methodical violence and mistreatment during armed conflict. To best tackle the abuses perpetrated by groups like ISIS and Boko Haram, this article argues, it is important to understand the current legal environment to assess what gaps exist. The article argues firstly that the responsibility to protect (R2P)'s most controversial component, the international community's obligation to use force to stop a predetermined list of extreme crimes, when applied "gender neutral" leaves women and children generally more vulnerable to becoming victims of these crimes. Next, the article argues that to best overcome the protection gap, the UN Security Council should issue a new resolution, building off UN Security Council Resolutions 1674 and 1888, explicitly recognizing gender as a protected class akin to ethnicity, nationality, or religion. This new resolution will trigger a responsibility to protect by the host State, and if they are unable or unwilling to stop such violence, authorize the international community to intervene militarily in cases involving extreme gender-based violence (EGBV). With an expanded and robust UN Security Council Resolution recognizing gender within the R2P context through the UN Security Council, regional intergovernmental organizations like the African Union, Organization of American States, and the Arab League, can initiate regional monitoring missions to assess ongoing conflicts in their regions to determine if any involve EGBV rising to a level like crimes against humanity or genocide. Finally, the article argues, with a solid framework at both the international and regional levels recognizing a R2P because of gender, States will be better equipped to pressure offending States to take the necessary actions to protect vulnerable populations or face the risk of legitimate armed force.

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