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The dialogue of difference: gender perspectives on international humanitarian law

31-03-2010 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 877, by Helen Durham and Katie O'Byrne

This article examines the meaning and potential usefulness of a ‘gender perspective’ on international humanitarian law (IHL). In order to do so, it considers a number of ‘gendered’ themes found within IHL, including the role of women as combatants, and the gendered use of sexual violence during times of armed conflict.

 

Dr Helen Durham is the Strategic Advisor for International Law and Special Projects at the Australian Red Cross and a Senior Fellow at the Asia Pacific Centre for Military Law, Melbourne Law School.
Katie O’Byrne is a solicitor at Freehills in Melbourne and a former assistant legal officer at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). 
 
Abstract 
This article examines the meaning and potential usefulness of a ‘gender perspective’ on international humanitarian law (IHL). In order to do so, it considers a number of ‘gendered’ themes found within IHL, including the role of women as combatants, and the gendered use of sexual violence during times of armed conflict. The authors suggest that further development and understanding of a gender perspective will contribute to the resilience and effectiveness of IHL as a system of law, and will strengthen the protection of those who are victimized and disempowered during times of war.  


 
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