Antenna Uit de APC Nieuwsgroep: women.violence

Geschreven door op 12 Jun 1996 15:06:18 met als onderwerp: Habitat II : Women In Conflict Zone

From: "Jagdish Parikh"
Subject: Habitat II : Women In Conflict Zones

Title: Women In Conflict Zones

By Siddhartha Prakash Earth Times News Service

ISTANBUL--"Women are often forced to provide sex in exchange for
food and shelter in zones of armed conflict," said Dr. Debararti
Guha Sapir, Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters,
Belgium. In 1995, there were 30 major civil conflicts on going in
the world, giving rise to over 15 million refugees and 26.5 million
internally displaced citizens. Sapir said women and children are
most adversely affected by war as "they suffer as a direct result of
the event, being the last to leave their beleaguered villages, or
because of social inequities in access to food and other services".

A major difficulty facing these vulnerable groups is the diversion
of emergency food supplies by the military, which has grown so
common that most relief agencies have begun to reserve a certain
amount of the supplies for diversion. In parts of war torn Africa it
is estimated that only 12 percent of the food aid reached the
civilian victims for whom it was destined. To make matters worse,
scores of feeding centers in Liberia, Rwanda, Angola and Sudan are
frequently bombed or attacked. Moreover, in cultures where women
play a secondary role, registering for food or actively obtaining
medical care or relief supplies are traditionally the cultural
domain of a male family member, thus denying women access to
emergency services.

Violence against women has developed into a major crisis in
countries such as Bosnia where mass rapes have been estimated at
20,000 to 50,000. Often women are driven into offering sexual favors
in exchange for food supplies, usurped by army warlords. This has
had widespread implications for sexually transmitted diseases and
unwanted pregnancies. The Rwandan Seroprevalence Study Group for
instance, reported that sex in exchange for security during the
civil war in Uganda partly explains its high rate of HIV. Sexual
violence and family welfare issues affecting refugees still remain
beyond the pale of relief programs. "Since the conditions that
protect women in a village no longer function in a displaced camp,
careful design of shelter, water and sanitation become critical in
order to avoid creating further opportunities for sexual or physical
aggression,"Sapir said.
Source: June 12, 1996

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