Sven Torfi nn / Panos Pictures
Part III examines the impact of war on those generally considered to be
the most vulnerable—refugees, women and children. As is often the case
in this field, analysis is complicated by the lack of reliable data.
Assault on the Vulnerable
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Assault on the Vulnerable
The plight of the displaced
While the number of refugees fell dramatically in the 1990s, the number of displaced persons has
increased. Many are sick and hungry, most lack protection, and few have adequate shelter.
War and sexual violence
In the world’s war zones, women and girls are acutely vulnerable to sexual attack. Chronic
under-reporting and lack of reliable data have allowed governments to turn a blind eye to the
problem, and growing international attention to the issue has thus far had little impact.
Child soldiers
It is difficult, if not impossible, to estimate how many child soldiers serve in armed forces around
the world. But their exploitation remains widespread.
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When conflict causes people to . ee their homes,
their vulnerability to predation, disease and mal-
nutrition increases—often dramatically. Gender
is also an important determinant of wartime
vulnerability—often in surprising ways.
Although war-induced displacement is one of the few
human security issues for which there are official data, de-
termining trends is hampered by the fact that more than
half the displaced persons around the world are not count-
ed by the UN.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR) collects data only on what it calls
‘persons of con-
cern’ to the organisation. This includes all refugees, but less
than half of the estimated 24 million internally displaced
persons (IDPs).
The plight of IDPs is generally worse than that of ref-
ugees. As a new survey by the Global IDP Project of the
Norwegian Refugee Council points out:
IDPs did not receive sufficient humanitarian assistance
from their governments. In fact, three in four IDPs, more
than 18 million people, could not count on their national
authorities for the provision of adequate assistance.
But refugees and IDPs are not simply victims. As Fred
Tanner and Stephen Stedman point out, ‘Throughout the
1990s, refugee camps were used as staging grounds and
resource bases for combatants in areas experiencing some
of the world’s most protracted wars.’ (See: ‘Militarising ref-
ugee camps’.) In fact, according to the UNHCR some 15%
of refugee camps are militarised.
The question of people’s vulnerability to the various
impacts of war is more complex than often assumed. For
example, one of the most frequently cited claims about
today’s displaced persons is that 80% of them are women
and children—an assertion that conveys the impression
of unique vulnerability to displacement.
In fact, a recent
UNHCR analysis of refugee and IDP trends indicates that
women and children make up 70.5%
—not 80%—of dis-
placed persons.
Since women and children (i.e., boys and
girls under 18 years of age) make up at least 70% of the
population in many war-affected countries, this figure does
not constitute evidence that they are uniquely vulnerable.
In armed conflict women and girls are far more vul-
nerable to sexual assault and predation than men. Here
again the absence of reliable data makes tracking trends
extraordinarily difficult. It is not even possible to determine
whether wartime sexual violence is increasing or decreas-
ing. Such information is critical for governments seeking to
Leo Erken / Panos Pictures
H U M A N   S E C U R I T Y   R E P O R T   2 0 0 5
understand if policies designed to reduce the incidence of
wartime sexual violence are working or not.
Despite the absence of global data, case study evidence
suggests that displaced women may be twice as vulner-
able to sexual assault as those who do not see their homes.
Insofar as this finding is generally true, the more than five-
fold increase in the numbers of displaced people between
1970 and the early 1990s was likely associated with a major
increase in war-related sexual assaults.
Similarly, the decline in both the number of displaced
persons and the number and deadliness of armed conflicts
since the end of the Cold War may well have led to a net
decrease in wartime sexual violence—notwithstanding the
recent wave of assaults in Darfur, the Democratic Republic
of the Congo and elsewhere.
Amoung children, those under five
years of age are by far the most vul-
nerable to death from war-induced
malnutrition and disease.
With the critically important exception of sexual
violence, there is considerable evidence to suggest that
men, not women, are more vulnerable to the major im-
pacts of armed conflict. Of course, it is not surprising that
far more men get killed on the battlefield than women,
since they make up the overwhelming majority of com-
batants. But case study evidence also suggests that wom-
en are less likely to be victims of ‘collateral damage’, and
non-combatant males are more likely to be subject to mass
killing than non-combatant females. Further, some recent
epidemiological survey evidence finds that males are more
likely to die from war-induced malnutrition and disease
than females.
What these findings suggest is that women are more
resilient and less vulnerable to the impacts of armed con-
flict than much of the literature that focuses on women as
victims suggests. The increased participation of women in
government military forces, rebel groups and even terror-
ist organisations also serves to remind us that depicting
women simply as passive victims of political violence can
be profoundly misleading.
Of course, children are the most vulnerable of all. The
discussion on child soldiers draws on recent research by the
Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers and Brookings
Institution analyst Peter W. Singer. Here the focus is not
so much on the economic and strategic imperatives that
impel the recruitment of children and that were briefly re-
viewed in Part I, but on how children under arms are used
and abused.
Most analysts believe that there has been a dra-
matic increase in the use of child soldiers over the past
three decades, driven in part by economic imperatives.
Physically vulnerable and easily intimidated, children
make cheap, expendable soldiers. Armed with modern
light weapons, they can be swiftly transformed into ef-
ficient, low-cost killers.
But lack of reliable data again confounds attempts to
determine whether numbers of child soldiers have recently
been increasing or decreasing. Both governments and reb-
el forces routinely lie about their use of child soldiers and
few if any records are kept, making the task of estimating
numbers extremely difficult.
The estimate of 300,000 child soldiers worldwide dates
back almost a decade, yet it is repeatedly cited as if it were
current. However, given the dramatic decline in the num-
ber of wars since then—and the consequent demobilisa-
tion of fighters, including children—it would be surprising
if child soldier numbers had not fallen along with those of
regular forces during this period.
Whatever the numbers, there is no doubt that children
generally—and not just child soldiers—suffer most from
the impact of armed conflict and displacement. Among
children, those under five years of age are by far the most
vulnerable to death from war-induced malnutrition and
disease. In some conflicts more than 50% of the ‘indirect
deaths’ from armed conflicts are children in this category.
This ‘indirect death’ phenomenon is examined in more
depth in Part IV, and will be a major focus of the Human
Security Report 2006.
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The plight of the displaced
While the number of refugees around the
world has steadily declined in recent years,
the number of internally displaced persons
has grown considerably. Many are sick and
hungry, most lack protection and few have
adequate shelter.
For four decades the number of refugees around the
world has tracked the number of armed conflicts—grow-
ing inexorably, though unevenly, from the 1960s to the
early 1990s, then falling commensurately as the numbers
of wars declined in the 1990s, from a record high of 17.8
million in 1992 to 9.7 million in 2003. The recent upsurge of
peace agreements in Africa, the world’s most violent con-
tinent, suggests that this trend will continue, at least in the
short term.
Most displaced persons are not refugees, however.
Of the estimated 33 million displaced people around
the world in 2003, about 24 million were internally dis-
placed persons (IDPs), and although the data are unreli-
able, it appears that their numbers have increased signifi-
cantly since 1995 (see Figure 3.1).
Unlike refugees, IDPs
do not cross national borders in search of safety—they re-
main within their home country.
Sven Torfi nn / Panos Pictures
Displaced persons (total)
Internally displaced persons
Source: Philip Orchard, 2004
From the mid-sixties to the early 1990s, numbers
of all displaced persons, both refugees and IDPs,
rose dramatically, from about 5 million to 42 mil-
lion. But while the number of refugees declined
between 1992 and 2003, the number of IDPs
Note: Refugee figures from 1964–1975 are es timates by UNHCR based on
the arrival of refugees and/or recognition of asylum seekers.
Figure 3.1 Refugees and internally displaced
persons, 1964–2003
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World War II and its aftermath
More than 30 million people were displaced as a re-
sult of World War II, confronting the new UN Relief and
Rehabilitation Administration (now the United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR) with a huge
task of repatriation and local integration.
By 1946, howev-
er, the looming Cold War made the repatriation of refugees
to the Soviet Union and Soviet-controlled areas politically
unpalatable to Western governments. Resettlement became
the preferred option. As James Hathaway put it, accepting
refugees from Communist regimes, ‘reinforced the ideo-
logical and strategic objectives of the capitalist world’.
Cold War politics rather than humanitarian need tended to
determine who was granted asylum. In the 1980s, for ex-
ample, the United States accepted only 3% of Salvadorean
and Guatemalan applications for asylum, but 75% of those
from the Soviet Union.
For much of the Cold War the UNHCR and host and
donor states assumed that most refugees would remain in
their country of asylum for extended periods.
But over
the years the rising numbers of asylum seekers and the in-
creasing reluctance of host countries to absorb them, plus
opportunities for some refugees to return home, led to a
major shift in policy. Once again, repatriation became the
name of the game. Between 1991 and 1996 the UNHCR
repatriated more than 9 million refugees.
In the West the end of the Cold War swept away any re-
maining ideological motive for accepting refugees, most of
whom now came from the poorest countries of the devel-
oping world.
Opportunistic European politicians began
blaming unemployment and rising crime rates on refugees,
asylum seekers and illegal migrants. Governments argued
that many who claimed to be asylum seekers were really
economic migrants with no real need of international pro-
tection. The claim was doubtless true in some cases.
And governments had reason to be concerned about
costs. In 2002–03 the cost of housing and support for the
41,000 asylum seekers in the UK was nearly US$2 billion—
‘roughly twice the amount the UNHCR spends each year
to support and care for 21 million refugees in its camps
around the world’.
IDPs: Greater numbers, greater problems
In 2003 there were an estimated 23.6 million IDPs world-
wide, up from an estimated 3 million in 1982. The protec-
tion provided for these displaced people varies from non-
existent to barely adequate. According to the Norwegian
Refugee Council, in 13 of the 52 countries that have IDPs,
governments provide no protection at all, while 9 million
IDPs in 22 other countries receive occasional protection.
UN humanitarian agencies operate in only 21 countries—
less than half the number of countries with IDPs.
It isn’t obvious why IDP numbers apparently rose be-
tween 1995 and 2002 while both the numbers of armed
conflicts and refugees fell. Several possibilities present
In the West the end of the Cold War
swept away any remaining ideologi-
cal motive for accepting refugees.
First, the scope of the problem is better under-
stood now than it was a decade ago—despite attempts
by governments to invoke sovereignty and non-interfer-
ence to quash criticism. This is thanks in part to the work
of the Representative of the Secretary-General on Internal
Displacement, but also to the increased numbers of
NGOs and UN agency staff on the ground. So part of the
increase in IDP numbers may be due simply to an increase
in reporting.
Second, in many countries embroiled in conflict, ‘eth-
nic cleansing’ campaigns mean that returning refugees
have no secure homes to go to. When refugees return to
their own countries, the global refugee total goes down,
but the global IDP total may go up.
Third, in many contemporary wars, civilians are not
only victims of ‘collateral damage’, they are deliberately
targeted by rebel groups and even government forces.
Mass killing of civilians in guerrilla wars is most likely to
occur when guerrillas pose a major threat to the regime
and are strongly supported by the civilian population.
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Between July 14 and 18, 1994, some 850,000
people fled from Rwanda into eastern Zaire (now the
Democratic Republic of the Congo), joining several
hundred thousand who had travelled there in the pre-
vious month. By August, between 1.7 and 2 million
Rwandans were living in makeshift camps in Zaire
and Tanzania.
Many of the displaced were not fleeing the geno-
cide; they were its perpetrators. The slaughter of more
than 800,000 Rwandan Tutsi and moderate Hutu had
ended in the middle of July 1994, not because the in-
ternational community had finally been galvanised
into action, but because the Rwandan Patriotic Front
(RPF), a largely Tutsi force that had been fighting the
Rwandan government for three years, had prevailed.
The genocide had been organised and directed by
elements of the Rwandan government and army that
had opposed a power-sharing deal with the RPF to
end the civil war. When all seemed lost militarily, the
genocideurs forcibly marched hundreds of thousands of
Rwandan Hutus out of the country—an exodus fueled
by Hutu fears that the RPF would seek violent retribu-
tion. But the genocide’s organisers and killers blended
into the refugee camps in Zaire—where they, like oth-
er refugees, received assistance—and quickly gained
control. As Médicins Sans Frontières has pointed out,
‘those responsible for the genocide ... remained living
with impunity in camps run by the United Nations,
and the very system established to protect the refu-
gees became the source of their peril.’
According to the UNHCR, militarised camps such
as those in Zaire now pose the single largest threat
to refugee security. Although the great majority of
refugee crises do not foment refugee militarisation, a
small but significant number (15%) do have this ef-
fect. Throughout the 1990s refugee camps were used
as staging grounds and resource bases for combat-
ants in areas experiencing some of the world’s most
protracted wars: Afghanistan, Bosnia, Burundi, East
Timor, Liberia, Rwanda, Sudan and the Palestinian
The fact that some of the most powerful member
states of the United Nations used refugees as pawns
in larger geopolitical conflicts ensured the UNHCR
was denied resources necessary to stop the use of
camps as de facto military bases. In its commitment to
long-term relief assistance, the UNHCR was inadver-
tently supporting warring groups intent on exploiting
refugee populations and humanitarian assistance as a
means of continuing their violent struggles.
Recognising the dilemma, some refugee workers
argue that host governments should provide better
camp security. But in today’s world, many host gov-
ernments are either complicit in the political and mili-
tary manipulation of refugees (as in Pakistan, Thailand
and the Democratic Republic of the Congo) or simply
lack the capacity to protect refugee populations (as in
The UNHCR has proposed measures to deal with
the problem—ranging from modest preventive initia-
tives, to the creation of an international military force
tasked with policing the camps and separating com-
batants from refugees.
While admirable in principle, these proposals will
have little impact in practice as long as the interna-
tional community continues to ignore the manipu-
lation of refugees by host governments, neighbours,
regional powers and, not least, the major powers.
The flight of Rwandans following the genocide in 1994 may have been the largest and most rapid
mass exodus in African history and is deeply misunderstood.
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In such cases, flight is often the only option. But seeking
sanctuary across borders may not be possible for a variety
of reasons—including the refusal of governments to allow
displaced persons to leave the country and the reluctance of
governments in potential host countries to accept them.
Finally, while the number of armed conflicts declined
between 1995 and 2002, the number of people killed in
sub-Saharan Africa increased dramatically, but temporarily,
at the end of the century. Some of the increase in IDPs was
almost certainly a response to this increase in violence.
Failures to protect the displaced
When civilians become strategic targets, those who seek
to help them—including humanitarian agencies—may
themselves be targeted. This is one reason for the upsurge
of attacks on humanitarian workers during the 1990s.
The greater the danger to humanitarian workers, the more
likely those workers are to be withdrawn from the field and
the less protection and assistance will be available to the
displaced and vulnerable.
In 2002 a four-year survey by the Norwegian Refugee
Council’s Global IDP Project reported that:
The global IDP crisis is one of the great humanitarian
challenges of our time. In most of the 48 countries cov-
ered, IDPs struggle to survive with inadequate shelter,
few resources and no protection. Warring parties often
block humanitarian aid, unnecessarily worsening mal-
nutrition and disease. Moreover IDPs—mainly women
and children—have no one to protect them from mul-
tiple human rights violations: including attacks, torture,
forced labour and sexual exploitation.
2 0
IDPs are entitled to the same legal protection under
human rights and humanitarian law as other civilians, and
they are supposed to be protected by their governments.
But some governments lack the capacity to protect dis-
placed citizens; others simply don’t care. Sometimes gov-
ernments themselves cause displacement. When this hap-
pens IDPs have no one to turn to for protection—except
on those rare occasions when the international community
can be persuaded to mount a ‘humanitarian intervention’.
And even when governments—often grudgingly—permit
aid agencies access to internally displaced populations, the
situation on the ground is often too dangerous to allow
unprotected agency personnel to operate effectively.
The ability of the international community to assist the
displaced is further complicated by inadequate response
capacity. In February 2004 Refugees International reported
that field assessments by its staff revealed that UNHCR
was failing to meet its core responsibility in protecting
refugees—let alone IDPs—in every country assessed. Even
official agency reports on the response to IDP needs are
negative. A recent assessment by the UN’s new Internally
Displaced Persons Unit concluded that the internation-
al community’s response to IDP needs was ad hoc and
plagued by egregious failures.
When civilians are stategic targets,
those who seek to help them—
including humanitarian agencies—
may themselves be targeted.
Agency turf battles are a further impediment, but the
fundamental problem is that humanitarian agencies simply
lack the capacity to address protection needs in the field ef-
fectively. Among official agencies and NGOs, there is gen-
eral agreement that the most effective way to address this
is through better collaboration. But while the ‘collaborative
approach’ is widely agreed to be sensible, it requires a de-
gree of cooperation that has yet to be achieved.
In the meantime—unable to depend on either their
own governments or the international community—most
displaced persons have no choice but to rely on their own
coping mechanisms.
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War and sexual violence
Sexual violence has been an intimate partner of
armed conflict throughout human history, but
because of chronic under-reporting by both vic-
tims and authorities, determining its extent in
war is extraordinarily diffi cult.
Men and women die—and suffer—in wars quite dif-
ferently. Far more men are killed in battle than women.
Indeed, according to the World Health Organization
(WHO) nearly 90% of all direct war deaths in 2002 were
But women are far more vulnerable to sexual vio-
lence and predation.
In the world’s war zones, women
and girls are overwhelmingly non-combatants—and rarely
have the means to protect themselves.
The history of sexual violence in 20th century wars il-
lustrates the scope of the problem:
During Japan’s infamous assault on the Chinese city
of Nanking in December 1937, more than 20,000 and
possibly as many as 80,000 women were raped and
killed. In 1934–1945 the Japanese forced between
100,000 and 200,000 mostly Asian women, most of
them Korean, into prostitution as ‘comfort women’.
In the final phases of World War II, Russian soldiers
raped and gang-raped hundreds of thousands of
women in the assault on, and subsequent occupation
of, Germany.
In 1971 hundreds of thousands of Bengali women
were sexually assaulted by West Pakistani forces in
the uprising and subsequent savage repression that
killed more than a million people and eventually led
to the creation of Bangladesh from what had been
East Pakistan.
In the 1994 Rwandan genocide, as many as 500,000
women and girls may have been victims of sexual
According to Gerald Chamina, Rwanda’s
prosecutor general, ‘Rape was the worst experience of
victims of the genocide. Some people paid to die, to
be shot rather than tortured. Their prayers were for a
quick and decent death. Victims of rape did not have
that privilege.’
In the war in Bosnia, an estimated 20,000 to 50,000
women were sexually assaulted.
In the new century the assaults have continued:
In Burma, Refugees International reported in 2003 that
a government-backed reign of terror had resulted in
the sexual violation of thousands of women from the
Karen, Karenni, Mon and Tavoyan ethnic minorities.
In Sudan in early 2005, government forces and militias
were responsible for rape and other acts of sexual vio-
lence throughout the region of Darfur. These and other
Nick Danziger / Press Images Europe
H U M A N   S E C U R I T Y   R E P O R T   2 0 0 5
acts were conducted on a ‘widespread and systematic
basis, and therefore may amount to crimes against hu-
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, government
troops and rebel fighters have raped tens of thousands
of women and girls, ‘but fewer than a dozen perpetra-
tors have been prosecuted by a judicial system in dire
need of reform’.
Displacement and sexual violence
A major survey in post-war Sierra Leone found that the
rate of sexual assault against women and girls who had
been displaced was 17%, almost double that of those who
had not fled their homes.
Nationwide that rate translates
into 94,000 to 122,000 victims among the displaced females
Nearly a third of the assault victims among the dis-
placed had been gang-raped.
Unarmed and rarely able to exercise their rights, dis-
placed women and girls become easy targets for sexual vi-
olence and exploitation. And while refugee camps provide
food and shelter for women fleeing the chaos of war, they
often fail to protect them from predation.
No one knows whether the inci-
dence of sexual violence in war is
increasing or decreasing.
There have been a number of well-documented recent
cases of aid workers and peacekeepers coercing women
and girls into providing sexual services in exchange for
protection, assistance and support for children and other
family members:
One 2002 report on camp conditions in Guinea, Liberia
and Sierra Leone cited numerous stories of sexual vio-
lence and exploitation by peacekeepers and humani-
tarian workers.
In January 2005 a UN inquiry substantiated allega-
tions of sexual abuse by peacekeepers and civilian UN
workers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Is the violence increasing or decreasing.
No one knows whether the incidence of sexual violence in
war is increasing or decreasing. Statistics on rape and other
forms of sexual assault in conflict zones remain virtually
non-existent and many post-conflict epidemiological sur-
veys do not ask questions about sexual violence because
they are too sensitive.
Victims are often reluctant to report that they have
been sexually assaulted because they fear being stigma-
tised or further victimised. M any hold a well-founded be-
lief that authorities will do little to provide redress.
This chronic under-reporting has allowed authorities
to downplay the problem, with the result that rape and
related crimes have tended to be treated as an unfortu-
nate form of ‘collateral damage’. As Human Rights Watch
has argued:
Rape has long been mischaracterised and dismissed
by military and political leaders as a private crime,
the ignoble act of the occasional soldier. Worse still, it  
has been accepted precisely because it is so common-
place. Longstanding discriminatory attitudes have
viewed crimes against women as incidental or less seri-
ous violations.
3 8
Despite the lack of reliable statistics, wartime sexual vi-
olence has received far more attention in recent years—and
few doubt that it is widespread. But it is unclear whether
the incidence of attacks is increasing, or simply that more
are being reported. Both could be true. However, some in-
ferences can be drawn from the association between sexual
violence and population displacement.
As noted earlier, in the civil war in Sierra Leone the
sexual assault rate among displaced women was close to
twice that of those who had not fled their homes. If a simi-
lar relationship exists in other conflict zones around the
world, then war-related sexual violence would have risen
as the numbers of displaced people increased.
From the beginning of the 1970s to the early 1990s,
the number of people displaced, many as a result of armed
conflict, increased from 8 million to more than 40 million.
So if the Sierra Leone pattern applies universally, then the
H U M A N   S E C U R I T Y   R E P O R T   2 0 0 5
incidence of conflict-related sexual violence would also
have risen massively over the same period.
After 1992 the numbers of displaced persons around
the world declined, so the same logic would suggest that—
all other things being equal—the number of victims of
sexual violence would have declined as well.
Another possibility is that the rate of sexual assaults
per hundred thousand of the population increased in some
conflicts, while the total number of victims of such assaults
decreased worldwide as the number of conflicts declined.
Clearly more research is needed before any definitive
conclusions can be reached on this issue. And researchers
need to bear in mind that rates of sexual violence can dif-
fer dramatically from conflict to conflict. One recent study
found, for example, that wartime sexual violence rates
in the conflicts in Bosnia and Sierra Leone were many
times higher than those in Israel-Palestine, Sri Lanka and
El Salvador.
Rape as a weapon of war
There is some case study evidence to suggest that ‘strategic
rape’—sexual assault that is encouraged by military leaders
as a means of furthering war aims—has been rising. One
recent study reported that rape had been used as a ‘weapon
of war’ in at least 13 countries between 2001 and 2004.
Rape can be used to humiliate and demoralise enemies,
while the mere threat of sexual violence can induce people
to see their homes—a central goal of ‘ethnic cleansing’. For
example, in July 2004 Amnesty International reported that
the Arab militias (‘Janjawid’) in the Darfur region of Sudan
had raped women in public as part of a deliberate effort
to humiliate, punish, control, engender fear and displace
whole communities.
During the Rwandan genocide a
decade earlier, rapes were ‘often staged as public perfor-
mances to multiply the terror and degradation.’
So-called strategic rape is particularly effective against
traditional ‘honour and shame’ societies, where the per-
ceived integrity of the family and the community is bound
up with the virtue of women. When used this way rape be-
comes a cultural weapon as well as a physical outrage, one
that brings shame and humiliation to the victim’s entire
family. This happened in Kosovo, where Muslim women
were specifically targeted, in part because the perpetrators
believed that once women had been raped, traditional cul-
tural norms would ensure that they would be ostracised
and could then neither marry nor have children.
Sexual violence is most prevalent when, as is the case
with strateg ic rape, it is encouraged and legitimised by
political authorities. But even without of ficial encourage-
ment most wars involve a dramatic erosion in the norms
that restrain anti-social behaviour in times of peace.
And the general lawlessness and impunity that war brings
in its train means that once the fighting starts there is
often little to deter individuals from acting out their vio-
lent desires. Where pre-war social norms against sexual
violence are weak, the risk of rape in war is correspond-
ingly greater.
The fate of the victims
Many wartime victims of sexual violence confront a tragic
dilemma. If they do not reveal that they have been vio-
lated they cannot seek treatment, which puts their health,
and sometimes their lives, at risk. Disclosing that they have
been raped, on the other hand, may mean being stigma-
tised and rejected by the very people they would normally
turn to for support.
Sexual violence is most prevalent
when it is encouraged and legiti-
mised by political authorities.
Victims of sexual violence are at high risk of contract-
ing diseases from their attackers—the most deadly being
HIV/AIDS. Other diseases, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea,
syphilis and venereal warts, often produce no symptoms
in women, so infections go untreated. This can result
in more serious conditions—the most common being
pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility. In poor coun-
tries, non-existent or inadequate health services compound
the problem.
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In December 2004 Amnesty International re-
leased a major report on the vulnerabilities of women
in armed conflicts. The press release stated, ‘Women
and girls bear the brunt of armed conflicts fought to-
day both as direct targets and as unrecognised “col-
lateral damage”.’
The Amnesty report is part of a growing body of
policy-oriented research that uses gender as a lens to
study the impact of armed conflict. This research has
helped sensitise policymakers to the special vulner-
abilities of women in war and in post-war environ-
ments. But the ‘gender lens’ has been inconsistently
applied, creating a distorted picture of reality.
Notwithstanding Amnesty’s claim, it is men—not
women—who ‘bear the brunt’ of armed conflict. Both
in uniform and out, men have been, and continue to
be, killed, wounded and tortured in far greater num-
bers than women. Men are also, overwhelmingly, the
major perpetrators of violence. Sexual violence is the
area where women, not men, make up the majority
of victims.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates
that in 2002 approximately nine males were killed in
armed conflicts around the world for every female.
WHO’s annual estimates of the gender ratios of war
victims vary considerably, but all its reports show that
far greater numbers of males than females are killed
in warfare.
WHO’s global estimates are broadly in line with
epidemiological case study evidence. For example, a
1999 survey of 1197 households in post-war Kosovo
found that 75% of total deaths and 90% of war-related
trauma deaths during the conflict were males.
vary from war to war, but the consistent pattern of far
more male than female casualties is not surprising
given that men make up the overwhelming majority
of combatants. War is primarily an institution that pits
males against other males.
Amnesty’s claim that women ‘bear the brunt’ of
collateral damage—civilians who get caught in the
crossfire—is unsupported by any global data. In fact,
case study evidence suggests that here again males,
not females, are the primary victims.
One major epidemiological survey following the
first Gulf War found that while men made up 51% of
the Iraqi population they suffered an estimated 62% of
the civilian deaths.
And a 2004 study of civilians who
had been killed in the current Iraq conflict found that
males were even more likely to be killed than in the
first Gulf War. The study, which focused on individuals
who could be identified by name, reported that for ev-
ery female killed there were three male victims.
explanation for the difference may be that women had
moved to safer locations.)
The gender breakdown of ‘indirect deaths’ from
war-induced malnutrition and disease—particularly
in refugee and internally displaced persons camps—
is also at odds with the conventional wisdom.
Amnesty’s claim that in war ‘it is women and children
that are forced to leave their homes’ is not borne out
by the available evidence.
According to the UNHCR
there are actually slightly more male refug ees (51%)
than female.
The common assumption that women are more
likely to be adversely affected by displacement than
men has some supporting case study evidence,
most of the case study data point in the other direc-
tion. A comprehensive review of 46 epidemiological
Many analyses of gender and conflict ignore or underestimate the gender-based violence directed
against males, and pay little attention to the active roles women play in warfare.
H U M A N   S E C U R I T Y   R E P O R T   2 0 0 5
surveys commissioned by the Human Security Centre
for the Human Security Report found that the death
rate for displaced males was generally higher than
that for females.
What about ‘gender-based violence’ in war—that
is, violence that deliberately targets individuals or
groups of individuals because of their gender. We
know that women are far more likely to be the victims
of rape and other sex crimes, but sexual violence is
only one form of ‘gender-based violence’.
Men, too, are targeted because of their gen-
der. There is, for example, compelling evidence that
non-combatant males, ‘have been and continue to
be the most frequent targets of mass killing and
genocidal slaughter as well as a host of lesser atroci-
ties and abuses’.
Following the 1999 war in Kosovo, a report by the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
(OSCE) noted that the most systematic atrocities
were inflicted disproportionately and overwhelmingly
on non-combatant males.
The explanation. Part re-
venge and part bleak strategic logic: killing battle-age
males minimises future threats to the victors.
Men are also disproportionately victimised by
violent state repression. One major study used census
data to show that the population of the Soviet Union
in 1959 was ‘some 20 million lower than Western
observers had expected after making allowance for
war losses.’
The deaths that led to the lower-than-
expected population total were the result of Stalin’s
purges in the 1930s. Most of the victims were men.
Given that males constitute a more likely source of
challenge to repressive regimes than females this is
again not surprising.
A comprehensive gender analysis of human
insecurity would examine how men as well as wom-
en are victimised because of their gender. And rather
than presenting women primarily as passive victims
of armed conflict, it would pay more attention to
the growing role they play in fighting forces around
the world.
In many countries women now make up between
5% and 15% of government armed service person-
nel. The ratios are even higher in some guerrilla or-
ganisations, especially those that espouse a commit-
ment to gender equality. Women made up 30% of
both soldiers and leaders in the Sandinista National
Liberation Front in Nicaragua, for example.
rebel groups with a large female membership include
Peru’s Shining Path, the Revolutionary Armed Forces
of Colombia (FARC) and Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers.
Over the past 50 years women have also played
important roles in terrorist organisations—from
Germany’s Red Army Faction and the Japanese Red
Army to Chechnya’s Black Widows. And according to
Jane’s Intelligence Review, there has been a dramatic
upsurge in the number of women suicide bombers.
For example, some 30% of suicide bombings by the
Tamil Tigers have been carried out by women, as have
most of the suicide missions perpetrated by Turkish
terrorist groups.
Finally, some 40% of child soldiers around the
world are girls.
One recent study found that female
child soldiers were involved in fighting forces in 55
countries between 1990 and 2003. They were involved
in combat in 38 of them.
Bringing a gender perspective to the study of
armed conflict has provided many valuable insights
and forced policymakers to focus on the unique threats
that women and girls confront in conflict zones. But
the huge costs that political violence imposes on males
have been mostly ignored, while women’s agency re-
mains largely invisible and women themselves have
been presented primarily as passive victims.
H U M A N   S E C U R I T Y   R E P O R T   2 0 0 5
Unwanted children resulting from wartime rape are
yet another burden for many survivors. Women may be
stigmatised for bearing ‘enemy’ offspring—known as ‘chil-
dren of hate’ in Rwanda. But the alternative—usually a
backstreet abortion—poses grave health risks.
In the past decade, there have been
signs that the international com-
munity has begun to take war and
sexual violence more seriously.
Rape victims are also prone to deep psychologi-
cal harm—including depression, psychotic episodes and
post-traumatic stress disorder.
For some, reliving and re-
counting the details of their trauma can trigger renewed
feelings of vulnerability, humiliation and despair. Health
workers in the former Yugoslavia reported that survivors
of rape experienced severe clinical depression and acute
psychotic episodes after they talked with journalists, hu-
man rights workers and medical personnel. Some attempt-
ed suicide.
Humanitarian organisations have also reported high
rates of suicide among rape victims. For some of Rwanda’s
genocide survivors, the mere sight of their persecutors—
many of them neighbours and colleagues—going about
their daily business with neither guilt nor fear of reprisal
has been almost too much to bear. As one victim put it:
Since the war has ended, I have not had my monthly pe-
riod. My stomach swells up and is painful. I think about
what happened to me all the time and I cannot sleep.  
I even see some of the Interahamwe who did these
things to me and others around here. When I see them I
think of committing suicide.
Changing times.
During the past decade, there have been signs that the in-
ternational community has begun to take the issue of war
and sexual violence more seriously:
In 1993 and 1994 the statutes of the International
Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for
Rwanda defined rape as a crime against humanity.
In September 1998 the International Criminal Tribunal
for Rwanda convicted Rwandan mayor, Jean-Paul
Akayesu, of committing rape as genocide and a crime
against humanity.
This was the first such finding by
an international tribunal.
In February 2001 the International Criminal Tribunal
for the former Yugoslavia convicted three Bosnian
Serbs of rape, which it designated a crime against
The statutes of the new International Criminal Court
(ICC) stipulate that when rape is committed as part of
a widespread attack against a civilian population it is
both a war crime and a crime against humanity.
On the political front, the UN and its agencies, the
World Bank and most governments now routinely affirm
the need to address the special needs of women and chil-
dren in armed conflicts. Speeches are given, reports written
and resolutions passed. But rhetorical affirmation of the
need for change, while important, has yet to be matched by
real commitment to act where action is most needed—on
the ground in wartorn societies.
H U M A N   S E C U R I T Y   R E P O R T   2 0 0 5
Child soldiers
In the many countries af. icted by violent con-
flict, child soldiers are doubly victimised—as vul-
nerable targets and as cannon fodder for armies
devoid of conscience. But as in so many areas of
human security, there is an absence of reliable
global statistics from which to determine trends.
Throughout much of the world child soldiers play criti-
cally important, sometimes decisive, roles in government
and rebel military forces—even in terrorist organisations.
They serve as infantry shock troops, raiders, sentries, spies,
sappers and porters.
Children are recruited because
they are plentiful, cheap, malleable
and expendable—and because
light and deadly modern weapons
more than offset a child’s lack of
physical strength.
A 1996 UN report, Impact of Armed Conflict on Children,
notes that ‘Children as young as 8 years of age are be-
ing forcibly recruited, coerced and induced to become
combatants. Manipulated by adults, children have been
drawn into violence that they are too young to resist and
with consequences they cannot imagine.’
In a new study on child soldiers, Brookings Institution
analyst Peter W. Singer argues that the norms of warfare
that once provided a degree of protection for children have
eroded dramatically—and with tragic consequences.
Not only have children become the new targets of vio-
lence and atrocities in war, but many have now become
perpet rators.’ Singer points out that ‘of ongoing or re-
cently ended conflicts, 68 % (37 out of 5 5) have children
under 18 serving as combatants’ and ‘80% of these
conflicts ... include fighters under the age of 15.
Children are recruited because they are plentiful, cheap
(often they are unpaid), malleable and expendable—and
because light and deadly modern weapons more than
offset their lack of physical strength.
The numbers of children under arms
Determining how many child soldiers serve in armed
forces around the world is no easy task. The Coalition to
Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, which defines child soldiers
as persons under 18 years old associated with armed forces
Giacomo Pirozzi / Panos Pictures
H U M A N   S E C U R I T Y   R E P O R T   2 0 0 5
both in and outside conflict zones, puts the total at 300,000,
with one-third serving in Africa.
But the reliability of this
much-cited figure is highly questionable. The Coalition re-
port simply notes that it dates back to 1998 and that it is
‘believed to have remained relatively constant’.
It is estimated that there are more
than 75,000 child soldiers in Burma,
one of the highest numbers in any
country in the world.
In fact, the 300,000 figure can be traced back to 1996.
It has been endlessly repeated, but almost never ques-
tioned. It is unclear what evidence there was to support
the original claim and it seems highly unlikely that the
true number of child soldiers would have remained un-
changed for nearly a decade while the number of wars
declined sig nificantly.
A worldwide problem
Children under arms can be found on every continent, but
sub-Saharan Africa is the epicentre of the child soldier
One of the worst affected countries is the Democratic
Republic of the Congo. The 2005 Coalition to Stop
the Use of Child Soldiers’ report found that all par-
ties in the long-running conflict ‘recruited, abducted
and used child soldiers, often on the front line’.
Children in armed political groups were sometimes
abused by commanders and other soldiers and many
were required to commit atrocities against civilians.
In 2003 approximately 30,000 children were awaiting
In Sierra Leone’s 10-year civil war, as many as 70%
of combatants were under the age of 18.
When the
war ended in 2002, some of the children were recruit-
ed into armed groups fighting in neighbouring Liberia
and the Côte d’Ivoire.
When Charles Taylor seized power in Liberia in the
early 1990s he did so at the head of a mainly youth
rebel army. In 2003 Taylor was defeated by rival rebel
groups that also relied heavily on child soldiers. An
estimated 20,000 of the fighters in Liberia were chil-
dren—some 70% of all combatants.
Northern Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)
has abducted an estimated 20,000 children during two
decades of conflict, forcing them to wage war against
government forces as well as civilians.
The LR A ini-
tiates children with beatings and forces them to kill
other children who attempt to escape.
With a core of
only 200 adult fighters, the bulk of its force consists of
abducted children.
This child army has sustained a
civil war that has killed thousands, displaced 1.5 mil-
lion and been described by the U N as one of the worst
humanitarian disasters in the world.
In October
2005 the International Criminal Court issued its
first-ever arrest warrants, against LRA leader Joseph
Kony and four others. Although the indictments are
sealed, they are believed to include changes relating
to child soldiers.
Sub-Saharan Africa is the epicentre
of the child soldier phenomenon.
In the Middle East and Central Asia children are or
recently have been involved in combat in Algeria,
Abzerbaijan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine,
Sudan, Tajikistan and Yemen.
In the Iran-Iraq War, Iranian children were used in
the first wave of attacks to help clear paths through
minefields. An estimated 100,000 Iranian children
were killed in the fighting. In the current conflict in
Iraq children as young as 12 serve in the Mahdi Army
of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
In Latin America Colombia has the dubious distinction
of using more child soldiers than any other country in
the region. In early 2004 as many as 14,000 children
were serving in the country’s paramilitary and rebel
H U M A N   S E C U R I T Y   R E P O R T   2 0 0 5
Children have also been used by insurgent
groups in Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico,
Nicaragua and Peru.
In Asia children have served in rebel and/or govern-
ment forces in Burma, Cambodia, East Timor, India,
Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea,
the Philippines, Sri Lanka and the Solomon Islands.
In Burma it is estimated that ‘there are more than
75,000 child soldiers, one of the highest numbers of
any country in the world’.
They serve in both govern-
ment and rebel forces. One children’s militia was led
by 12-year-old twin brothers.
In Indonesia ‘thousands of young Muslim and Chris-
tian boys have formed local paramilitary units’ that
take part in intercommunal violence.
In Europe child soldiers serve or have recently served
in rebel military forces in Chechnya and other parts
of the former Soviet Union, and in the Balkans.
Recruitment and indoctrination
Although many child soldiers are recruited at age 16 or 17,
some are much younger. In one survey in Asia, the aver-
age age of recruitment of child soldiers was 13; an African
study found that 60% of the children under arms were 14
or younger.
Often separated from home and family, many child
soldiers are recruited through offers of food, camaraderie
and protection; some join rebel groups to seek revenge
for government assaults on their families.
And as the
HIV/AIDS crisis continues to generate millions of or-
phans, the pool of children susceptible to recruitment will
inevitably grow.
The threats and privations that children confront in
war zones are often so great that joining a rebel or of-
ficial armed group may seem attractive by comparison.
For example, in a 2003 International Labour Organization
survey in Africa, researchers found that nearly 80% of
child soldiers inter viewed had witnessed some form of
combat, 70% had seen their family home destroyed, and
about 60% had lost a family member to war.
At least as
combatants they are fed and provided with a measure
of protection.
Once inducted into a military organisation, children
are often subjected to threats, violence and psychological
manipulation—all tactics designed to gain their unques-
tioning submission. To deter them from escaping and re-
turning to their home communities, they may be forced to
kill friends, neighbours or relatives.
The purpose of indoctrination is to detach children
psychologically from their former lives, imbue them with
a sense of group loyalty and, above all, to instill obedience.
Some are given drugs to reduce their fear of combat, and
their subsequent addiction provides their commanders
with yet another level of control.
Often separated from home and
family, many child soldiers are
recruited through offers of food, ca-
maraderie and protection; some join
rebel groups to seek revenge for gov-
ernment assaults on their families.
The consequences of using children to fight wars
are as predictable as they are tragic. Having less experi-
ence and training than adult fighters, children are more
likely to be killed or injured. Seen as more expendable
than adult fighters they are often g iven the most dan-
gerous duties—including leading near-suicidal ‘human
wave’ attacks and mine clearance missions. And because
their inexperience puts them at a disadvantage against
regular soldiers, they are more likely to be used to target
civilians—including other children.
Signs of hope.
According to Amnesty International, ‘increasing numbers
of children are exposed to the brutalities of war’.
In a
similar vein, the BBC has claimed that the child soldier
numbers are increasing every year as ‘more children are
recruited for use in active combat’.
H U M A N   S E C U R I T Y   R E P O R T   2 0 0 5
These are common views, but they are not supported
by any evidence. There is no doubt that new child soldiers
are recruited every year, but, as this report has shown, the
number of armed conflicts has been declining for more
than a decade. And when wars end, soldiers—includ-
ing child soldiers—are usually demobilised. So it is more
likely that the number of child soldiers serving around the
world has declined rather than increased in recent years.
In November 2004 the Coalition to Stop the Use of
Child Soldiers reported that ‘overall, the use of child
soldiers ... appears marginally improved’.
Africa is the epicentre of the child soldier phenomenon.
In Sierra Leone, Liberia, Uganda and elsewhere, chil-
dren—most of them under 14 years old—have been
turned into cheap and expendable killers.
Georges Gobet / Getty Images
H U M A N   S E C U R I T Y   R E P O R T   2 0 0 5
part iII
1.   Global I DP Project, Internal Displacement: Global Ove rview of Trends and Developments in 2004 (Geneva: Global IDP
Project, 2005).
2.   UN Development Fund for Women, ‘A Portal on Women Peace & Security: Women, War, Peace and Displacement’, www (accessed 19 April 2005).
3.   UN High Commissioner for Refugees, ‘2003 Global Refugee Trends’, 15 June 2004,
statistics/opendoc.pdf.tbl=STATISTICS&id=40d015fb4 (accessed 20 April 2005).
4.   The 70.5% figure is calculated by adding the 49% of ‘persons of concern’ who are female (children as well as adults) to the
21.5% who are male children.
5.   This finding comes from a study commissioned by the Human Security Centre, the results of which will be published in the
Human Security Report 2006.
6.   This section relies on data that have been compiled by University of British Columbia researcher Philip Orchard from a
variety of sources, including the Global IDP Survey/Norwegian Refugee Council, Internally Displaced People: A Global Survey
(London: Earthscan Publications, 1998); UN High Commissioner for Refugees, The State of the World’s Refugees: Fifty Years of
Humanitarian Action (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000); UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Statistical Yearbook 2001:
Refugees, Asylum-seekers and Other Persons of Concern—Trends in Displacement, Protection and Solutions (Geneva: UN High
Commissioner for Refugees, 2002); ‘The Global Response to Internal Displacement: Time to Close the Accountability Gap’,
Refu gees International website, 11 February 2004, (ac-
cessed 13 September 2004); and US Committee for Refugees, World Refugee Survey 2003 (Washington, DC: US Committee
for Refugees, 2003).
7.   The plight of the displaced is complicated by the fact that although the legal definition is quite clear, who gets defined—and
counted—as a refugee is often both contested and highly politicised. For example, some 300,000 North Koreans have fled
into neighbouring China. But the Chinese refuse to categorise them as refugees, claiming they are merely illegal economic
8.   Data supplied by Philip Orchard, University of British Columbia, 2004.
9.   Gil Loescher, Beyond Charity: International Cooperation and the Global Refugee Crisis (Oxford: Oxford University Press,
10.   James C. Hathaway, ‘Can International Refugee Law Be Made Relevant Again.’ in James C. Hathaway, ed., Reconceiving
International Refugee Law (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1997).
11.   Bill Frelick, ‘Evolu tion of the Term “Refugee’’’, US Committee for Refugees website,
refugee_definition.htm (accessed 6 September 2004; site discontinu ed).
12.   Jeff Crisp, Mind the Gap! UNHCR, Humanitarian Assistance and the Development Process, New Issues in Refugee Research,
working paper no. 43, May 2001 (Geneva: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 2001).
13.   Ibid.
14.   Roberta Cohen and Francis Deng, Masses in Flight: The Global Crisis of Internal Displacement (Washington, DC: Brookings
Institution, 1998); Asha Hans and Astri Suhrke,
‘Responsibility Sharing’, in James C. Hathaway, ed., Reconceiving International
Refugee Law (Boston: Kluwer Law International, 1997).
15.   James Bissett, ‘Scrap the Refugee Board’, National Post (Toronto), 3 March 2004. In fact, only 10 million of the 21 million
‘refugees’ referred to in the article were actually refugees; the rest were IDPs, asylum seekers and others.
16.   Norwegian Refugee Council, ‘Overview’, Global IDP Project website, (accessed 6
September 2004).
17.   Benjamin Valentino, Paul Huth and Dylan Balch-Lindsay, ‘Draining the Sea: Mass Killing, Genocide and Guerrilla Warfare’,
International Organization vol. 58, 2 (Spring 2004): 375–407.
H U M A N   S E C U R I T Y   R E P O R T   2 0 0 5
18.   Fiona Terry, Condemned to Repeat: The Paradox of Humanitarian Action (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2002).
19.   M. Sheik, M.I. Gutierrez, P. Bolton, P. Spiegel, M. Thieren and G. Burnham, ‘Deaths Among Humanitarian Workers’, British
Medical Journal 321 (15 July 2000): 166–168.
20.   Global IDP Project, ‘25m Internally Displaced by Conflict’, press release, 23 September 2002, Global IDP Project website, (accessed 6 September 2004).
21.   Refugees International, ‘The Global Response to Internal Displacement: Time to Close the Accountability Gap’, Refugee
International website, (accessed 9 Ap ril 2005).
22.   World Health Organization, World Health Report 2004: Changing History (Geneva: World Health Organization, 2004). The
WHO gend er breakdown estimates are based on a relatively small sample of country data and should be taken as indicative
of the small share of female war deaths rather than an exact figure.
23.   The UN and the World Bank use the term ‘gender-based violence’, which includes violence against males. Most of the lit-
erature, however, is about violence against women.
24.   Shana Swiss and Joan E. Giller, ‘Rape as a Crime of War. A Medical Perspective’, Journal of the American Medical Association
270, 5 (August 1993): 612–615.
25.   Anthony Beevor, The Fall of Berlin 1945 (New York: Penguin Books, 2002).
26.   Gendercide Watch, ‘Case Study: Genocide in Bangladesh, 1971’, Gendercide Watch website,
bangladesh.html (accessed 8 March 2005).
27.   Elisabeth Rehn and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Women, War, and Peace (New York: UN Development Fund for Women, 2002).
28.   Peter Landesman, ‘A Woman’s Work’, New York Times Magazine, 15 September 2002,
landesman.pdf (accessed 25 September 2004).
29.   Peter Gordon and Kate Crehan, ‘Dying of Sadness: Gender, Sexual Violence and the HIV Epidemic’, UN Development
Programme website, (accessed 9 April 2005); Amnesty
International UK, ‘Amnesty International Launches Global Campaign to Stop Violence Against Women—A ‘Cancer’ and
‘Human Rights Atrocity’,’ Amnesty International website, (accessed 9
April 2005).
30.   Betsy Apple and Veronika Martin, No Safe Place: Burma’s Army and the Rape of Ethnic Women (Washington, DC: Refugees
International, 2003).
31.   United Nations, Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur to the United Nations Secretary-General (Geneva:
United Nations, 2005).
32.   Human Rights Watch, ‘D.R. Congo: Tens of Thousands Rap ed, Few Prosecuted’, 7 March 2005,
docs/2005/03/07/congo10258.htm (accessed 8 March 2005).
33.   Lynn L. Amowitz, Chen Reis, Kristina Hare Lyons, et al., ‘Prevalence of War-Related Sexual Violence and Other Human
Rights Abuses Among Internally Displaced Persons in Sierra Leone’, Journal of the American Medical Association 287, 4
(23–30 January 2002): 520.
34.   Ibid. The number of female IDPs in Sierra Leone was estimated at between 550,000 and 715,000.
35.   UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and Save the Children UK, ‘Note for implementing and operational partners by
UNHCR and Save the Children UK on sexual violence and exploitation: The experience of refugee children in Guinea,
Liberia, and Sierra Leone’, 26 February 2002,
unhcr-scuk%20wafrica%20report.pdf (accessed 8 March 2005).
H U M A N   S E C U R I T Y   R E P O R T   2 0 0 5
36.   United Nations, ‘Investigation by the Office of Internal Oversight Services into Allegations of Sexual Exploitation and
Abuse in the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’, 5 January 2005, http://www. (accessed 17 January 2005).
37.   See Lynn L. Amowitz, Chen Reis, Kristina Hare Lyons, et al., ‘Prevalence of War-Related Sexu al Violence’ for a discussion of
the reasons that Sierra Leone rape victims did not report the crimes against them.
38.   Human Rights Watch, ‘Human Rights Watch Applauds Rwanda Rape Verdict’, 2 September 1998,
sept/rrape902.htm (accessed 8 March 2005).
39.   Elizabeth Wood, ‘Sexual Violence During War: Explaining Variation’, paper presented at the Order, Conflict and Violence
Conference, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 30 April–1 May 2004.
40.   Thomas Plümper and Eric Neumayer, ‘The Unequal Burden of War: The Effect of Armed Conflict on the Gender Gap in Life
Expectancy’, Department of Political Science, University of Konstanz and London School of Economics, 2005.
41.   Amnesty International, ‘Sudan, Darfur: Rape as a Weapon of War: Sexual Violence and Its Consequences’, 19 July 2004, (accessed 8 March 2005).
42. Peter Landesman, ‘A Woman’s Work’, New York Times Magazine, 15 September 2002.
43.   Human Rights Watch, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia—Kosovo: Rape as a Weapon of ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ (New York: Human
Rights Watch, 2000).
44.   Paul B. Spiegel and Peter Salama, ‘War and Mortality in Kosovo, 1998–99: An Epidemiological Testimony’, Lancet 355 (24
June 2000): 2204–2209.
45.   World Health Organization, World Health Report 2004. WHO claims that there were 155,000 male direct deaths in wars
in 2002, but only 17,000 female direct deaths. The ratio for 2001 is similar. It should be noted that the WHO estimates of
male/female death ratios are based on a relatively small sample of countries and should be viewed with caution.
46.   Paul B. Spiegel and Peter Salama, ‘War and Mortality in Kosovo, 1998–99: An Epidemiological Testimony’.
47.   Beth Osborne Daponte, ‘A Case Study in Estimating Casualties from War and Its Aftermath: The 1991 Persian Gulf War’,
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War website,
(accessed 28 April 2005).
48.   Iraq Body Count, ‘Named and Identified Victims of the War in Iraq’, September 2004,
htm (accessed 2 May 2005). The study found that 2192 of the victims were male and just 630 were female.
49.   Amnesty International, Lives Blown Apart: Crimes Against Women in Times of Conflict (London: Amnesty International
Publications, 2004).
50.   UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 2003 Global Refugee Trends. UNHCR’s data cover only a small percentage of internally
displaced persons (IDPs), but a new study commissioned by the Human Security Centre for the Human Security Report 2006
shows that the ratios are very similar for IDPs.
51.   Michael J. Toole, ‘Displaced Persons and War’ in Barry S. Levy and Victor W. Sidel, eds., War and Public Health (New York:
Oxford University Press, 1997); Thomas Plü mper and Eric Neumayer, ‘The Unequal Burden of War: The Effect of Armed
Conflict on the Gender Gap in Life Expectancy’. The Plümper and Neumayer paper describes a new study that focuses on
the impact of war on male and female life expectancy and finds that in the long term war has a greater negative impact on
female than male life expectancy.
52.   These findings will be released in the Human Security Report 2006. All of the surveys were by Médicins Sans Frontières and
most involved displaced persons.
53.   Adam Jones, who has undertaken an extensive study of ‘gendercide’, has presented a series of case studies that support this
claim. See Adam Jones, Gendercide and Genocide (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press 2004).
H U M A N   S E C U R I T Y   R E P O R T   2 0 0 5
54.   Adam Jones, Gendercide and Genocide.
55.   Gendercide is analogous to genocide except that people are targeted because of their gender rather than their religion or
56.   Adam Jones, Gendercide and Genocide.
57.   Cited in Tsjeard Bouta, Georg Frercks and Ian Bannon, Gender, Conflict and Development (Washington, DC: World Bank,
58.   Rohan Gunaratna, ‘Suicide Terrorism: A Global Threat’, Jane’s Intelligence Review, 20 October 2000,
international_security/news/usscole/jir001020_1_n.shtml (accessed 5 May 2005).
59.   Save the Children, ‘Girls Are the Greatest Casualty of War’, 24 April 2005, (accessed 5 May 2005).
60.   Cited in Tsjeard Bouta, Georg Frercks and Ian Bannon, Gender, Conflict and Development.
61.   World Health Organization, World Report on Violence and Health (Geneva: World Health Organization, 2002).
62.   Shana Swiss and Joan E. Giller, ‘Rape as a Crime of War. A Medical Perspective’.
63.   Human Rights Watch, Shattered Lives: Sexual Violence During the Rwandan Genocide and Its Aftermath (New York: Human
Rights Watch, 1996).
64.   See Article 5 of the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at
/index.htm and Article 3 of the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda at
65.   International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, ‘The Prosecutor versus Jean-Paul Akayesu’, CHAMBER I, Case No. ICTR-96-
4-T, (accessed 25 April 2005).
66.   International Criminal Court, ‘Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court’, International Criminal Court website, (accessed 8 March 2005).
67.   Graça Machel, Impact of Armed Conflict on Children (New York: United Nations, 1996).
68.   Peter W. Singer, Children at War (New York: Pantheon, 2005).
69.   Ibid.
70.   Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers,
‘Child Soldiers: Some Facts’, Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers website, (accessed 2 March 2005).
71.   Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Child Soldiers Global Report 2004 (London: Coalition to Stop the Use of Child
Soldiers, 2004), 51, (accessed 1 March 2005).
72.   Ibid.
73.   Ibid.
74.   Ibid.
75.   Peter W. Singer, Children at War.
76.   Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Child Soldiers Global Report 2004.
77.   Ibid.
78.   Martin Plaut, ‘Profile: Uganda’s LRA Rebels’, BBC News, 6 February 2004,
stm (accessed 3 March 2005).
79.   International Crisis Group, ‘Northern Uganda: Understanding and S olving the Conflict’, International Crisis Group web-
site, ganda_conflict.pdf (accessed 3 March 2005).
80.   Peter W. Singer, Children at War.
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81.   Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Child Soldiers Global Report 2004.
82.   Peter W. Singer, Children at War.
83.   Ibid.
84.   Ibid.
85.   Ibid.
86.   Ibid.
87.   Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Child Soldiers Global Report 2004.
88.   International Labour Organization, ‘Wounded Childhood: The Use of Children in Armed Conflict in Central Africa’, April
2003, (accessed 25 May 2005).
89.   Amnesty International, ‘Child Soldiers: A Global Issue’, Amnesty International website,
childsoldiers-background-eng (accessed 25 May 2005).
90.   BBC World Service, ‘Children of Conflict: Child Soldiers’, BBC World Service website,
people/features/childrensrights/childrenofconflict/soldier.shtml (accessed 19 May 2005).
91.   Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Child Soldiers Global Report 2004.