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Times are particularly harsh once again in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In this country elections do not constitute a moment of hope for democracy and change but rather signify a moment of terror and impunity, often leading to disastrous consequences – and this especially for women. Human Rights Watch reported 24 dead and about 100 seriously wounded civilians in the DRC in the two weeks that followed the elections which were held at the end of November 2011. Immaculée Birhaheka, a women’s rights activist and director of a Congolese women’s non-governmental organisation called PAIF (Promotion et Appui aux Initiatives Féminines), reported that most of those victims were women. Women are often the main targets when violence breaks out, due to the legal, economic and physical power inequalities between men and women – inequalities which are common in most countries of the world. Violence against women is one social mechanism and expression of this patriarchal system built on male supremacy and female subordination. PAIF has been one of medica mondiale’s partner organisations in the DRC since 2004. It was active supporting women’s political participation in the presidential and legislative elections which were held on November 28, 2011.


This year women’s and peace activists celebrated International Women’s Day for the one hundredth time. Suffrage for women and an end to war were both among the first issues highlighted by early women’s rights campaigners and their voices were later joined by those of female peace and women’s rights activists from Africa, Asia and Latin America as colonies all over the world gained independence in the 1960s. The UN Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace (1975-1985) gave them a new platform to make their demands heard worldwide. In 1977 the UN General Assembly proclaimed International Women’s Day to be the UN Day for Women's Rights and International Peace.


In September 2009, medica mondiale joined the Ministry of Hajj and Islamic Affairs of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to conduct a groundbreaking workshop in Kabul, attended by thirty-six mullahs and religious authorities. The workshop was so well received that it was repeated in Herat in May 2010 with twenty-five mullahs in attendance. The subject under discussion was the registration of marriages, a topic of vital importance to medica mondiale as it seeks to eliminate violence against women.


From January 2009 to January 2011 Medica Kosova, with funding from the European Commission and medica mondiale, conducted a project that aimed at strengthening the social and political role of women farmers in Kosovo, amongst others through the establishment of a women farmers’ organisation. The following evaluation gives an insight into the project and deals with the question, in how far the women have been strengthened socially and politically, what still need to be done and whether a women farmers’ organisation was actually established after all. The evaluation of the project took place between 8 October and 29 October 2010.


Summary and conclusions of the study „… and that it does not happen to anyone anywhere in the world". The Trouble with Rape Trials – Views of Witnesses, Prosecutors and Judgeson Prosecuting Sexualised Violence during the War in the former Yugoslavia, Gabriela Mischkowski/medica mondiale, December 2009, 23 pages, 180 KB