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Haiti: Seminar on women’s needs in wartime

11-07-2005 News Release 05/62

Since 27 June an ICRC specialist has been taking part in a training seminar organized by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research in Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien for civilian personnel of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti.

The seminar, which will end on 13 July, aims to emphasize the needs of women and children in armed conflict. The ICRC’s contribution focuses more specifically on women in war.

In 2001 the ICRC published a study on the impact of armed conflict on women. Based on more than two years of research, it examined the needs of women confronted by war, the protection to which they are entitled under international humanitarian law and the ICRC’s activities in their behalf in the framework of its worldwide operations.

Lessons learnt from the study and from the ICRC’s experience in the field have led to a better understanding of the needs of women in wartime – they are often the group most seriously affected by the violence – and thus to stronger measures to help them. The ICRC’s aim is also to encourage all those taking part directly or indirectly in a conflict to seek out the best ways of preventing or alleviating the suffering of women and to promote the protection afforded to women under the law.

By taking part in this seminar, the ICRC is attempting to interact with the public and cause it to reflect on women’s special vulnerabilities in conflict situations, on the unfamiliar roles they can be forced into and on their ability to develop coping mechanisms and to reinvent everyday life in the midst of war.

Over the last three years the ICRC has taken part in similar seminars in Ethiopia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Timor-Leste.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Wolde Saugeron, ICRC Port-au-Prince, tel. +509 257 7143 or +509 525 6268  

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