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16 October 2013

Press Release: Conference on the 20th anniversary “Working Towards Dignity“

Cologne, 15 October 2013. “A large proportion of Bosnian women who were traumatised during the war have still not received any support from the government,“ explains Sabiha Husić, director of the Medica Zenica therapy centre. “In contrast, we have been providing committed support to the survivors for many years.“ On 23 and 24 October 2013, the two women’s rights organisations Medica Zenica and medica mondiale invite you to attend a conference in Zenica entitled: Working Towards Dignity – 20 years of fighting conflict-related sexualised violence.

"Our conference in Zenica (Bosnia and Herzegovina, BiH) should serve to remind the Bosnian government of their responsibility; both financial and in the way they deal with women whomake statements in court,” added Ms Husić. The two-day event will focus on enabling dialogue between survivors and experts from non-governmental organisations, scientists and government representatives. In addition, challenges faced when working with war-traumatised women and girls will benamed and discussions will be held on future tasks and demands. "

I set off for Bosnia 20 years ago because I was angry about the violence against women, their sensationalist portrayal in the media, and the lack of appropriate action by the aid agencies," said Monika Hauser, founder of medica mondiale. "I wanted to counter this insanity with something practical: solidarity,professional support and empathy.” Since then, medica mondiale has expanded to offer integrated assistance to survivors of sexualised wartime violence around the world. "We hope the conference will help make the demands of the women in Bosnia heard," emphasised Ms Hauser, "and enable them to participate equally. It is also designed to highlight the achievements of Medica Zenica and medica mondiale."

Participants at the conference include: Saliha Duderija, Assistant Minister, Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees BiH, Vesna Kaknjo, Chief Prosecutor of Prosecutor’s office of Zenica Doboj Canton, NadaGolubovic, President of United Women, Banja Luka, BiH, Anne-Marie Esper Larsen, UN Women, BiH, and Madeleine Rees, Secretary General of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, USA. Additionally, representatives of medica mondiale’s partner organisations in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Liberia are expected.

About Medica Zenica and medica mondiale

Shocked by the mass rapes of Bosnian women, at the end of 1992 the doctor Monika Hauser set off for the warzone in former Yugoslavia. Just a short while later in April 1993, with about 20 local female psychologists and doctors she opened the women's therapy centre Medica Zenica in the town of Zenica – the first centre of its kind. This laid the foundations for work which has been continued by local colleagues up to the present day. In Germany, supporters raised donations to help fulfil Ms Hauser's intentions, organised supply convoys into the warzone, and generated publicity. In June1993 they founded the charitable association medica mondiale in Cologne. Since then, the organisationhas been committed to supporting women and girls in war zones and crisis areas. In addition to gynaecological treatment and psychosocial and legal assistance, medica mondiale also offers programmes to help women secure their own livelihood and it carries out political human rights work.

Contact:

medica mondiale
Mechthild Buchholz
Press Spokeswoman
Phone: +49 (0) 221 - 93 18 98 25
E-Mail: mbuchholz(at)medicamondiale.org

Medica Zenica
Sabiha Husić, Leiterin Medica Zenica
Phone: 00387 32 463 930; 00387 61 153 763
E-Mail: medica1(at)bih.net.ba