Women and girls in conflict situations throughout the world suffer the trauma of war. They lose loved ones, they’re driven from their homes, they suffer the hardships of lack of food, shelter, and medicine.
Women and girls can also be a soft target for enemy soldiers trying to humiliate and inflict pain on opponents. The use of sexual violence as a weapon of war is of deep concern to Caritas In Colombia’s civil war, a fifth of women who have been forced from their homes cite fears of sexual violence as the main factor For the most part, women and girls are innocent civilians caught in the crossfire.
International humanitarian law provides protection for all civilians in conflicts regardless of their sex and has specific codes for the security of women.
Caritas says there has been a collective failure of governments to protect women and girls in conflict situations from rape and other forms of violence and exploitation Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga says that women should be the focus of the work of aid agencies like Caritas in bringing about development and peacebuilding.
Caritas members from 11 countries will be at the annual consultation with UN’s Refugee Agency (UNHCR). They’ll be calling for increased attention to the suffering of women during armed conflicts
Other issues Caritas will raise will be peace and sustainable solutions for people driven from their homes in Colombia’s civil war and the protection and access to services for displaced people in Urban settings.
The week will start up with a briefing session at the Geneva office of Caritas Internationalis on Sunday the 28th of June and a special event on 30 June on the forgotten refugees in Latin America
Please contact our Geneva office on telephone: +41 22 734 4005 or +41 22 734 4007 for further details.