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Ethiopia: How to stop violence against girls in Africa?

11-05-2006 News Release 06/25

The ICRC is taking part in a two-day conference in Addis Ababa entitled Violence against Girls in Africa.

It is the second such meeting hosted by the African Child Policy Forum, a pan-African organization working to promote children's rights. The first was held two years ago with the theme The African Child and the Family . The purpose of this week's event is to help the international effort to bring about the changes – in policy but also in attitudes – needed to reduce violence against girls, a serious problem across the continent. The organizers hope to initiate dialogue and prompt action in various sectors, particularly government. Attending will be women activists, senior officials from African governments and representatives of organizations involved in the effort to stop violence against women and girls.
 
Protecting and assisting people caught up in armed conflict or internal violence is the ICRC's mandate. Conflict often has a devastating impact on civilians. Indiscriminate attacks frequently kill or injure countless people, and economic collapse resulting from the situation often forces many others to flee their homes whom the fighting has not already driven out.
 
The ICRC recognizes that complex emergencies affect men, women, boys, girls and the elderly in different ways. For some years now the organization has been working to gain a better understanding of the many ways in which women and girls experience war as its victims or as participants. It strives to ensure that their needs are met with an appropriate response whether they have been displaced, separated from loved ones, detained, belong to the fighting forces or are in the process of demobilizing and rejoining society.
 
At the Addis Ababa conference the ICRC will be raising rules of inter national humanitarian law particularly relevant to protecting women and girls and discussing how these can best be complied with.
 
The ICRC has prepared a report for the conference entitled Violence against girls in Africa during armed conflicts and crises.  

 For further information, please contact :  

 Patrick Mégevand, ICRC Addis Ababa, tel. +251 11 551 83 66 or +251 91 148 0921  

 Annick Bouvier, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 22 730 24 58 or +41 79 217 32 24  

 For further information on the conference :   www.africanchildforum.org/ipc/