International recognition and acceptance of women’s inclusion in peacebuilding activities have increased globally, bolstered by the development of a policy framework on women, peace and security that began with the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 in 2000.
I couldn’t resist the urge to ask since when have women been in existence and victimised by war and conflicts why has it taken this long to adopt the framework. I hate to admit that I feel its long overdue.
Women can now participate in issues that concern them and that’s what matters.
Let’s look at the conflict situation in Sub-Saharan African and how the Boko Haram has displaced women and children causing many to die of hunger and diseases.
“There is no Sufficient Data for Women Experienced Conflict”
Women practice armed conflict in diverse ways as victims, survivors, leaders and peacemakers. Violence against women in conflict zones is often an extension of the gender discrimination that exist in conflict. Because women are often marginalized in the society, their social status remains very poor. Although this does not affect wealthy women as much as it affects the poor women. Within society women are systematically excluded from decision-making opportunities, they are often stereotyped as victims and their experiences and contributions are virtually ignored in conflict zones and in nations emerging from war. Despite this women can also play a significant part in peacemaking if they are properly supported and genuinely included.
Sexual slavery encompasses most, if not all, forms of enforced prostitution. Sexual slavery is used as an adjective to describe a form of slavery, not to denote a separate crime. In all respects and in all circumstances, sexual slavery is slavery and it is prohibited. Girls are often abducted for sexual and other purposes by armed groups and forces. Sexual violence includes both physical and psychological attacks directed at a person’s sexual characteristics such as forcing a person to strip naked in public, genital mutilation or slicing off some flesh a female‘s private part.
Another Area of Concern is theTrafficking of Women
Trafficking of women during and after the armed conflict is a gender-based human rights violation and criminal activity. Important contributing factors are the economic vulnerability of women, the existence of war and post-war economies built on criminal activities, and the lack of an accountable justice system which leads to the impunity of the perpetrators of gender-based violence. The abduction of girls during situations of armed conflict occurs primarily for two purposes: their use in fighting forces and groups, and for forced physical and sexual labor.
Increasing attention within the international community is, therefore, being paid to the inter-connections between sustainable peace-building and socioeconomic development within a “post-conflict” environment.
Before Data Let’s Look Critically at These Instances
In addition to these criteria, there are four important sets of enabling conditions, including the state of security which will determine how far normal economic activities can resume; international commitment to the country (including physical support in the way of troops as well as economic flows and debt relief); bureaucratic capacities, which will influence the nature of support needed and also the type of policies possible; and the nature of the government – particularly its inclusivity, which will determine whether the government is likely to be politically committed to inclusive economic recovery policies.
As a result of these gendered experiences, many women-in-conflict-zone are suffering trauma despite the cessation or escape from the conflict zone. This trauma acts to disempower these women and to prevent them from actively participating in the important processes of post-conflict reconstruction currently taking place in humanitarian camps. One of the areas of concern is the abducted girl child rescued by the Nigerian Armies, who are now being reintegrated into the society, they are bound to be stigmatised.
In the Nigerian society, many people will hesitate to mingle with them and will find them uncomfortable companions for security reasons. This article aims to analyse the approach taken by the humanitarian organisation for Women-Victims-of -Conflict-Stigma. (An upcoming project IIMGC wishes to unveil the Stigma these women/children experience on a daily basis and to provide a healing therapy for easier integration into the society.
The conclusions derived from this research process are as follows:
1. By understanding the complexity of their problem/case per individual and group.
2. And by incorporating mental health into the gender and development programme, because of the importance of a gendered approach to healing in the post-conflict context. This form of approach has the potential to empower women to reconstruct their gendered identities so that they are able to actively participate in efforts to eradicate, inequality and poverty that continues to plague them.
3. Because it is evident that a sustainable empowerment approach will equally aid healing, create room for an improved social life that yield success in empowering women in post-conflict
4. The geolocation, region, culture and family tradition plays a vital role in every women’s upbringing and this is another key factor we need to consider when analysing the data we collect from women in conflicts and post-conflict survivors. We also need to look into their overall relationship and state of mind before and after conflicts. With these in mind, we will be able to make better-informed decisions.
Let us unite as one and build a peaceful world, peace is possible…
By Sylva Clinton
Undocumented Women Victims and Survivors of Violence and their Stigma Experiences