Robert U. Nagel

Robert U. Nagel

Public Engagement

Addressing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence Through Multilateral Sanctions - Learning from Myanmar

We discuss potential actions to improve accountability and reduce impunity for conflict-related sexual violence in Myanmar and beyond, including five key recommendations:

  1. Following the model of designation for the recruitment of child soldiers, the UN should systematically incorporate conflict-related sexual violence as a stand-alone criterion when adopting new sanctions regimes.
  2. The UN sanctions committee should adopt a thematic sanction regime for conflict-related sexual violence that is automatically triggered when the UN Secretary-General report on sexual violence in armed conflict lists an individual or entity for consecutive years.
  3. The US government should use the Global Magnitsky Act to impose targeted sanctions on any individual or entity listed in consecutive years in the UN Secretary-General report on sexual violence in armed conflict.
  4. As Member States revise their National Action Plans on Women, Peace and Security, they should integrate targeted sanctions for repeat perpetrators of conflict-related sexual violence, as identified in the UN Secretary-General’s report on sexual violence in armed conflict.
  5. The US, Canada, UK, and EU should strengthen their coordination efforts to ensure that targeted sanctions are part of a coherent global strategy for improving accountability and reducing impunity for conflict-related sexual violence.

Preventing and Addressing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (CRSV) as a Tool of War

An event at the margins of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly, co-hosted by: U.S. State Department's Secretary's Office for Global Women's Issues, Search for Common Ground, and the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security.

Opening remarks by Under-Secretary-General Pramila Patten, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict

Closing remarks by Rachel Vogelstein, Senior Advisor, White House Gender Policy Council.

You can access the recording here:

Gendered Military Culture and Policies for Change

To achieve the Department of Defense’s three SFIP objectives and increase compliance with IHL, the United States armed forces must foster an inclusive environment that encourages the participation of women. Our policy brief includes recommendations to increase the meaningful participation of women across the Joint Force and increase compliance with IHL.

5 things to know about the instability in eastern Congo (co-authored with Kate Fin) - Washington Post Monkey Cage

New violence that left 50 dead — and tens of thousands of people fleeing the vicinity of Mount Nyiragongo after a volcano erupted in late May — prompted the Congolese government to extend a temporary “state of siege” in the eastern provinces of Ituri and North Kivu.

Before the volcanic eruption, youth activists in eastern Congo protested to demand the departure of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO), claiming that the U.N. peacekeeping mission was not protecting civilians from armed groups. The protests came on the heels of reports of a deteriorating security situation in the country’s east and the ambush killing of the Italian ambassador to Congo in February.

Here are five things to know about the instability in the region....

Effectiveness of United Nations Peacekeeping: Gender Matters

Launch event for the report “Gendered Impacts on Operational Effectiveness of UN Peace Operations,” supported by Global Affairs Canada’s Elsie Initiative, on the impact of gender on the effectiveness of peace operations. Leading policymakers including H.E. Jean-Pierre Lacroix (UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations) and Ms. Gwyn Kutz (Director General for the Peace and Stabilization Operations Program, Global Affairs Canada), peacekeepers from UNFYICP and UNIFIL, and I discuss the difference women in uniform make and how to incorporate a gender lens in data collection and analysis, as well as share recommendations for advancing gender-responsive peacekeeping.

Report Back Better (co-authored with Ragnhild Nordås) - Foreign Policy

The State Department's yearly human rights report may be the United States' best tool for fighting sexual violence. Biden needs to get it right.

Q&A with Dr Dani Gilbert (US Air Force Academy)

25 min

The COVID-19 Pandemic’s Effects on United Nations Peacekeeping (co-authored with Julia Maenza) - Georgetown Journal of International Relations 

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented new challenges for United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, but also provides the opportunity to redefine the typically-masculinized idea of peacekeeping. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of gendered community engagement to ensure access to healthcare and humanitarian services. This should serve as another impetus to increase the number of women in peacekeeping.

Twenty years after UNSCR 1325: Any progress ending wartime sexual violence?

Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of the groundbreaking UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women Peace and Security (WPS). Where are we on the road to ending conflict-related sexual violence? There is good news and bad news.


"Women and Rebel Legitimacy" - with Hilary Matfess

This policy roundtable looks at the role of gender and gendered analysis in conflict and security. The authors highlight ways in which gender intersects with political violence and security policy. As the chair observes, the analysis, "defies efforts to make gender a problem of ideology or an issue best relegated to the human resources department."

“New UN Handbook on Sexual Violence in Conflict Helps, But Still Falls Short”

Nagel, Robert U. & Kate Fin (2020) Just Security

Equal opportunity, unequal burden? Women in U.N. peacekeeping

Speaking with members of the Mercersburg Academy community

“What the Pandemic means for UN Peacekeeping Work”

Nagel, Robert U. & Melanne Verveer (2020) PassBlue

The Venezolana Perspective: Women and the Venezuelan Crisis

CSIS event in early March 2020

“Gendered Violence and Political Agendas”

Matfess, Hilary, Nagel, Robert U. & Meredith Loken (2019) Political Violence at a Glance

Continued Failure to End Wartime Sexual Violence

with Ragnhild Nordås | PRIO Policy Brief, 7. Oslo: PRIO

​A decade after United Nations Security Council Resolution 1820, and four years after the Global Summit in London in 2014, wartime sexual violence has not abated. An update of the Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict (SVAC) dataset (Cohen & Nordås 2014) for 2010–2015 shows little sign of improvement. We also find that state forces are still frequent perpetrators of sexual violence. Further, a clear and worrying trend has emerged in the past decade: an increasing number of insurgent groups perpetrate sexual violence.

“Game of Thrones: Will There Ever be Peace in Westeros?”

Nagel, Robert U., Kirkpatrick, Daniel & Luke Abbs (2017) The Conversation, UK