The Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) underlined the importance of women’s participation in conflict resolution and the promotion of lasting peace. It also recognised that women have the right to protection, as they are at particular risk of being targeted by violence in conflict, such as conflict-related sexual violence and forced displacement.

These themes were later incorporated in the United Nations Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security (e.g. Resolutions 1325 and 1820), which constitute the foundation of the EU’s policy framework in addressing Area E of the BPfA.

A central issue facing the EU concerns the protection of asylum seekers, many of whom are displaced by armed conflict. While there are greater numbers of men seeking asylum, women experience particular challenges compared with men, related to stress and trauma, health complications (particularly for pregnant women), injury, and the risk of exploitation and violence.