HRC39 | Strengthening the gender perspective of UN investigative teams


Are UN investigations taking a too narrow approach in examining the gender-based violations perpetrated during conflicts? A high-level panel at the Human Rights Council examined the need for investigative teams to widen their perspectives of gender-based violence in order to develop deeper analysis.

UN human rights investigations in recent years have documented considerably the targeted violence faced by women and LGBTI individuals in the context of conflict. The Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar reported at the most recent Human Rights Council session that systematic and targeted sexual violence may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, including in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan states. The importance of authoritatively documenting such cases goes a long way towards ensuring accountability of perpetrators.

At the same time, ISHR and FORUM-ASIA joined a number of experts, States and civil society representatives to reflect on how to more effectively integrate gender perspectives into the work and findings of UN human rights investigations. 

In a statement, ISHR and FORUM-ASIA called in investigative teams to ensure an intersectional approach in order to address root causes for violence. This requires that narratives of context and pre-existing discrimination that compound the risk for specific groups and individuals are well documented. 

Ongoing and consistent engagement with women human rights defenders is key in this regards. "Women human rights defenders are often the first to document gender-based violations and crimes" said Pooja Patel, programme director at ISHR. 

"Women human rights defenders are also agents of change. UN investigative teams should also highlight clearly their role in the follow-up and implementation of the recommendations they make" added Patel.

Watch the statement here: 


Read the full statement here.  

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Zlatica Hoke




  • United Nations
  • Women's rights and WHRD
  • UN Human Rights Council