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Women Face Increasing Violence In Iraq, Afghanistan And Somalia, Senior U.N. Official Says
ISSUE 249
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The Somaliland Government Denies Leaning Towards One of Somalia’s Factions

We Will Unify All Somali People Including Somaliland, Ethiopia And Kenya: Turki

Shari'ah Law To Be Applied In Somaliland - President Rayale

Why Islamic Courts Can't Win War Against Govt

UN’s Annan Urges Restraint In Somalia

Filming Lands Somali Journalists In Trouble

Written Answers

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Held For Arms Smuggling

Somaliland Pushes For Recognition As Tensions Rise

SA, Somali Traders Meet To Solve Conflict

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U.S. Urges Somalia's Neighbors Not To Interfere

Georgia Trial Believed To Be First In U.S. Over Genital Cutting

U.N. Report Says Somalia Deteriorating

Germany Is Right To Take On A Global Role

Somalia: Up to 12 Countries Could Be Sucked Into Conflict

Camp Falcon : What Really Happened?

A Courageous Man Speaks Out - Hugo Chavez at the UN General Assembly

Islamist Radicals Still On The March In Somalia

Fears Of Jihad In Horn Of Africa

FEATURES & COMMENTARY

A Land In Limbo

Rwandese Business Leaders are keen to invest in Somaliland

Coffee And Controversy In 'Little Mogadishu'

Women Face Increasing Violence In Iraq, Afghanistan And Somalia, Senior U.N. Official Says

OUT OF SOMALIA

Standoff In Somalia

Perilous Somalia Stories Worth Risk, Sacrifice

Food for thought

Opinions

Threat Of A Regional War Looms

A Revolutionary Momentum: Time To Choose Between Freedom And Holy Dictatorship

Silencing The Watchdog

Somaliland and ICU war inevitable or wishful thinking of reactionaries?

Islamophobia, Terrorism and Fragmented Immigrant Communities

Open Letter to Eng. Mohamed Hashi


By EDITH M. LEDERER

UNITED NATIONS, October 27, 2006 -- Women are facing increasing violence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, especially when they speak out publicly to defend women's rights, a senior U.N. official told the U.N. Security Council.

Noeleen Heyzer, executive director of the U.N. Development Fund for Women, called on for fresh efforts to ensure the safety of women in countries emerging from conflicts, to provide them with jobs, and ensure that they receive justice, including compensation for rape.

"What UNIFEM is seeing on the ground -- in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia -- is that public space for women in these situations is shrinking," Heyzer said yesterday. "Women are becoming assassination targets when they dare defend women's rights in public decision-making."

Heyzer spoke at a daylong open council meeting on implementation of a 2000 resolution that called for women to be included in decision-making positions at every level of striking and building on peace deals. It also called for the prosecution of crimes against women and increased protection of women and girls during war.

Undersecretary-General for Peacekeeping Jean-Marie Guehenno said that, in the past year, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became the first woman head of state in Africa, Liberia adopted an anti-rape law, women in Sierra Leone pushed for laws on human trafficking, inheritance and property rights and women in East Timor submitted a draft domestic violence bill to parliament.

Despite these positive developments, he said, women face widespread insecurity and in many societies violence is still used as a tool to control and regulate the actions of women and girls seeking to rebuild their homes and communities.

"In Afghanistan, attacks on school establishments put the lives of girls at risk when they attempt to exercise their basic rights to education," Guehenno said. "Women and girls are raped when they go out to fetch firewood in Darfur. In Liberia, over 40 percent of women and girls surveyed have been victims of sexual violence. In the eastern Congo, over 12,000 rapes of women and girls have been reported in the last six months alone."

Assistant Secretary-General Rachel Mayanja, the U.N. special adviser on women's issues, said that from Congo and Sudan to Somalia and East Timor, she said, "women continue to be exposed to violence or targeted by parties to the conflict ... lacking the basic means of survival and health care."

At the same time, Mayanja said, they remain "underrepresented in decision-making, particularly on war and peace   issues."

Assistant Secretary-General Carolyn McAskie, who is in charge of supporting the new U.N. Peacebuilding Commission which was established this year to help countries emerging from conflict, said her office will try to ensure that "space is created for women's active participation in political, economic and social life."

"We cannot ignore the voices of the women from the time we broker peace onwards," McAskie said. "Peacemaking is not just an exercise involving combatants, it must involve all of society, and that means women."

At the end of the meeting, the council said it "remains deeply concerned by the pervasiveness of all forms of violence against women in armed conflicts." and reiterated its strong condemnation of all acts of sexual misconduct by U.N. peacekeeping personnel.

Allegations of sexual abuse have also been reported in peacekeeping missions in Congo, Bosnia, Kosovo, Cambodia, East Timor and West Africa.

Source: The Associated Press

 


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