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Iraq: the needs of women in times of conflict

14-12-2006 News Release 06/78

During a round table meeting held by the ICRC in the Jordanian capital Amman from 11 to 13 December, 16 representatives of non-governmental organizations and associations from all over Iraq met to discuss the effects of armed conflict on women in Iraq.

" In times of conflict women face specific challenges. Issues such as missing persons and the implications for their families, detention and reintegration into society following release, sexual violence, access to reproductive health and means of maintaining family links are all difficulties they have to cope with in their daily lives " , said Florence Tercier Holst-Roness, who is in charge of the ICRC’s " Women and war " project. " The plight of women could be alleviated if the rules of international humanitarian law were fully respected " . 

In a rather emotional atmosphere, those present described their experiences and gave their views on the current humanitarian situation. One participant from Baghdad underlined the crucial role played historically by Iraqi women, " a role that has been simultaneously strengthened and undermined by successive wars and years of sanctions, violence and social constraints " .

Working groups identified the specific needs of women in humanitarian terms and explored means of meeting them, while stressing the fact that it is civilians who are bearing the brunt of the ongoing conflict in Iraq.

This event was organized as part of the ICRC’s efforts to engage with different sectors of society in Iraq, including political authorities, academics, religious leaders and representatives of civil society, in order to sustain the organization's activities in behalf of the victims of the situation in this violence-torn country.

  For further information, please contact:
  Annick Bouvier, tel : + 41 22 730 24 58 or mobile + 41 79 217 32 24
  Nada Doumani, tel : +962 777 399 614 or +964 790191 69 27