Humanitarian Health Action

IASC Gender Based Violence Interventions in Emergency Settings

1 September 2005


The Inter-Agency Standing Committee has issued these Guidelines for Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Emergencies: Focusing on Prevention and Response to Sexual Violence to meet the need for a coherent and participatory approach to prevent and respond to gender-based violence. This is a tool to for field actors to establish a multisectoral coordinated approach to gender-based violence programming in emergency settings.

Sexual violence in armed conflict is a crime against humanity and is being used as a method of war to brutalise and instil fear in the civilian population, especially women and girls. The humanitarian community must come together and act together to put into place systems to prevent violence from occurring and when it does, to respond to the needs of survivors/victims. The Guidelines provide practical advice on how to ensure that humanitarian protection and assistance programmes for displaced populations are safe and do not directly or indirectly increase women’s and girls’ risk to sexual violence. The Guidelines also detail what response services should be in place to meet the need of survivors/victims of sexual violence.

I call upon all those who are involved in the provision of protection and humanitarian assistance to use these Guidelines and work together to prevent and respond to gender-based violence. We need a collective effort to put an end to the brutality of sexual violence and respond compassionately and more effectively to those affected.

Jan Egeland
Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs