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Ethiopia: Impact of conflict on women and the family

02-07-2003 News Release 03/47

Geneva / Addis Ababa (ICRC) – A round-table discussion on the effects of armed conflict on women and the family, jointly organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Addis Ababa University, was held in the Ethiopian capital on 30 June.

The event brought together representatives from different sectors of society, including political and military authorities, academics, religious leaders, members of NGOs and victims of armed violence.

Participants discussed the short- and long-term social, economic and psychological consequences of armed conflict for the family, with a particular emphasis on women. They also talked about ways of reducing the suffering caused by war and improving awareness of international humanitarian law.

The meeting was part of a major drive initiated by the ICRC, which included the launch in 2002 of a worldwide campaign called Women Facing War . A previous round table held last year in Addis Ababa focused on Ethiopian society and the limits to war.


During his opening statement, Ethiopian President Girma Woldegiorgis commended the ICRC and Addis Ababa University for their efforts to raise awareness of the plight of society's most vulnerable members. He stressed the importance of learning from the experience of those who had suffered during the conflict and of finding better ways to preserve the integrity of the family, prevent violence against women, children and the elderly and address the needs of vulnerable groups.

ICRC Vice-President Jacques Forster, pointing to the need for greater compliance with the spirit and principles of humanitarian law and human rights law, concluded his introductory remarks with these words: " It is only by preserving a measure of humanity in the midst of conflicts and armed violence that we can ke ep open the road towards reconciliation and harmony between peoples. "

Alain Aeschlimann, head of the ICRC delegation in Addis Ababa, said that the event was intended to pay tribute to the endurance and enormous strength shown day-in day-out by women in conflicts around the world and that it was a major step forward in the endeavour to alleviate the plight of women and the family in armed conflict.

 Further information:  

 Gianni Volpin, ICRC Addis Ababa, tel.: ++2511 51 83 66