News

UN Says Women, Children Are Biggest Victims of War

The United Nations and International aid agencies say women are among the worst victims of war.  Tens of thousands suffer from sexual violence, rape, and lack of access to life-saving health care.  On the occasion of International Women's Day, the International Committee of the Red Cross is underlining the plight of women in war.  

Every year, more than half a million women die as a result of pregnancy or childbirth complications. This includes about 70,000 girls and young women aged 15 to 19.

The International Committee of the Red Cross reports the highest rates of maternal deaths occur in 10 countries that either are at war today or have recently emerged from war.  They include Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  

The Red Cross Advisor on  Women and War, Nadine Puechguirbal, says this is not surprising.  She says pregnant women in war zones who face serious medical emergencies and need immediate care too often are unable to reach a health care facility.

"And again, remember that women's mobility can also be restricted during a conflict because of the threat of violence or the result of cultural restrictions," said Puechguirbal. "And, you heard, of course you know about the situations of armed conflict that increase a woman's risk of becoming a victim of sexual violence.  That is why we are very concerned about that access to health care in times of war."  

The Red Cross says the health needs of women often are neglected and ignored in areas ravaged by conflict.  While the war wounded are given priority, it says women's needs, and in particular the needs of pregnant mothers and their children, are often given little attention.

It says in some war-torn areas, women are at high risk of sexual violence, including rape.  Some of the worst examples of the horrors  women face in these settings are found in eastern Congo.

The United Nations reports between June 2007 and 2008, more than 6,700 cases of rape were reported in Ituri province alone.  And 43 percent of these cases involved children.  But the UN notes for every rape that is reported, 10 to 20 go unreported.

Puechguirbal says many women traumatized by rape also have to endure the suffering and shame of being cast out of their communities.  She says the Red Cross tries to help these women through, what she calls, an integrated approach.

"We are also in this integrated approach trying to work with the local community in mediation and reconciliation because those women, as you know, who have been victim of sexual violence, they are very much ostracized and marginalized and they feel guilty of what happened to them," she said. "So, we have to reconcile the entire community so that those women are able to come back and to be integrated within the community."  

As part of this integrated approach, Puechguirbal says the Red Cross is trying to train local nurses, doctors, and traditional birth attendants to treat victims of sexual violence with particular sensitivity.

She says they try to provide the appropriate medical services and offer them psychosocial counseling. 
 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs