IWTC Women's GlobalNet #212
Initiatives and Activities of Women Worldwide
By Anne S. Walker
October 23, 2002
A FACT SHEET ON WOMEN AND ARMED CONFLICT
NOTE: This Fact Sheet was prepared and circulated at the United Nations
on October 23, 2002 by the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and
Security*, in conjunction with a UN Press Conference and UN Security
Council Arria Formula meeting where women from Israel/Palestine,
India/Gujerat State and Northern Uganda spoke on peace activities
undertaken by women in these regions.
"Women who know the price of conflict so well, are also often better
equipped to prevent or resolve it"
Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General, 24th October 2000.
Women and children are generally most affected during times of conflict.
During wartime, women and children are at particular risk of human
rights abuses because of their lack of status in most societies. Such
abuses include sexual and gender based violence, sexual exploitation and
recruitment as soldiers. Women are also disproportionately affected by
lack of basic services endemic to conflict and displacement -such as
adequate medical care, nutrition, sanitation and shelter -due to
discrimination and their own powerlessness. Displaced and refugee women
and girls, elderly women, women heads of household and women held in
detention and detention-like conditions are more vulnerable to the
impact of conflict.
IN CONFLICT AND POST-CONFLICT SITUATIONS, THERE ARE:
30 countries and areas, including: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bosnia
and Herzegovina, Bouganville, Burundi, Central African Republic,
Chechnya, Colombia, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of Congo, East Timor,
Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guatemala, Guinea Bissau, Haiti, India,
Israel, Kosovo, Liberia, Pakistan, Palestine, Rwanda, Sierra Leone,
Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Western Sahara.
15 of the above countries with UN Peacekeeping Operations,
12 of the above countries with UN Political and Peace Building missions
3 of the above UN peacekeeping operations with gender advisers
(Sierra Leone, East Timor and Democratic Republic of Congo.)
WOMEN SERVING IN UN CIVIL AND MILITARY OPERATIONS TOTAL:
4% of the police and
3% of the military
0% in UN military peace keeping missions in Afghanistan, Burundi,
Cambodia, Golan Heights, Liberia or Tajikistan.
WOMEN IN CONFLICT AND POST CONFLICT SITUATIONS
Rwanda: Approximately 500,000 women were raped during the 1994 genocide
and an estimated 5,000 pregnancies resulted from those rapes.
Sierra Leone: Over 50% of women experienced some form of sexualized
violence during conflict in 1999;
Bosnia: An estimated 20,000 to 50,000 women were raped during 5 months
of conflict in 1992.
GIRLS IN WAR:
Sierra Leone: Of an estimated 4,500 children abducted following the 1999
invasion of the capital, Freetown, 60% were girls, the majority of whom
suffered repeated acts of sexual violence.
Worldwide: Approximately 40 million people have fled their homes due to
armed conflict and human rights violations, an estimated 80% of whom are
women and children. There are an estimated 20 million refugees and
persons of concern to the UN High Commission for Refugees around the
world, 80% of whom are also women and children.
Colombia: An estimated 1.5 million people have been displaced internally
by ongoing conflict, with 80% women and children.
Bosnia: An estimated 60% of women trafficked in Sarejevo are between the
ages of 19 and 24.
Albania: Due entirely to the participation of women, a UNDP
weapons-for-development programme collection was highly successful. In
the town of Elbasan, women collected 2332 weapons and 1801 tons of
ammunition. In the town of Diber, women collected 2407 weapons and 855
tons of ammunition
Georgia: 1300 units of arms and ammunition and 210 kg of pure explosives
were collected by the OSCE.
Mali: Women were credited for organizing the first "burning of arms" in
a public ceremony which has since become an annual celebration of a
policy against small arms and light weapons.
Liberia: Women demanded, worked for and achieved 80% disarmament before
elections in 1995 under the leadership of Madam Ruth Perry.
Of the 17 countries with over 100,000 children orphaned by AIDS, 13 are
countries in conflict.
In 1999, 99,000 women signed a WomenÕs Peace Petition presented to the
UN General Assembly, calling for at least 5% of the national military
expenditure each year over a 5-year period to be redirected towards
health, education and employment.
In the last 2 years, women have been actively involved in peace
negotiations in Burundi (the Lusaka Peace process), Afghanistan (the
Bonn process), and the Democratic Republic of Congo (The Sun City
WHAT DO WOMEN WANT?
- To be equal participants in conflict resolution, peace negotiations,
reconciliation and reconstruction
- To be part of peace keeping missions and among key decision making
staff on the ground
- To have gender advisors as part of every mission
- For all peace keepers to be trained to protect the particular rights
and needs of women in conflict
"There can be no peace without gender equality and no development
without both peace and equality."
Angela King, Assistant Secretary-General, UN Special Adviser on Gender
Issues and Advancement of Women
SOURCES:The State of Women in the World Atlas by Joni Seager,
http://www.saferworld.co.uk/usefu.htm; http://www.ipsnews.net/ hivaids;
http://www.unhcr.org; UNIFEM 2002 World Report on Women;
http://www.who.int/frh-wnd/vaw/infopack; The Year in Review - UN Peace
Operations 2001 (DPI)
* The NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security is comprised of the
following organizations: Hague Appeal for Peace (HAP); Women's
International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF); International
Women's Tribune Centre (IWTC); Women's Caucus for Gender Justice on the
International Criminal Court (WCGJ); Women's Commission for Refugee
Women and Children (WCRWC); and International Alert (IA).
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