Policy Brief - Peace Research Institute Oslo

Sexual Violence in African Conflicts, 1989–2009

| December 2012

CSCW Policy Brief

What the data show

This policy brief summarizes key trends in conflict-related sexual violence in 48 conflicts in 33 African countries, encompassing 236 armed-conflict actors, including state armies, militias and rebel groups.

Findings from study area:

  • Sexual violence was reported to be perpetrated by a minority of armed-conflict actors 
  • African state armies were frequently reported as perpetrators
  • Sexual violence was often reported when there were relatively few reported killings
  • Sexual violence at times continued at a high level in the post-conflict period


  • Maintain a focus on the prevention of sexual violence 
  • Pressure all relevant actors — and especially states — to end their practice of committing sexual violence 
  • Do not lose sight of conflict actors that are not especially lethal, as such actors may still commit sexual violence
  • Increase attention to sexual violence by armed actors in post-conflict settings

Download the entire policy brief here: http://file.prio.no/publication_files/cscw/Nordas-Cohen-Sexual-Violence-in-African-Conflicts-1989-2009-CSCW-Policy-Brief-02-2012.pdf

For more information on this publication: Please contact International Security
For Academic Citation: Nordas, Ragnhild and Dara Kay Cohen. “Sexual Violence in African Conflicts, 1989–2009.” Policy Brief, Peace Research Institute Oslo, December 2012.

The Authors