Rape and other forms of sexualised wartime violence against women are serious human rights violations. The UN Human Rights Convention of 1996 is an international acknowledgement that rape and other forms of sexualised wartime violence against women are extreme forms of violence and torture and thus constitute serious breaches of human rights. Only recently, the Security Council of the United Nations in Resolution 1820 described the use of sexualised violence as a war tactic for the first time, establishing sexualised violence as a threat to world peace and international security.
However, gender-specific violence – usually directed against women – is not a phenomenon exclusive to warlike conflicts. In times of peace, too, violence and lack of rights in family and society are part of daily life for women in many countries. The war just shows with radical clarity the final consequences that misogynist attitudes can lead to.
In action for the rights of women
medica mondiale campaigns for women’s rights to be protected and upheld. It seeks an end to human rights violations against women and raises public awareness of the violations that occur.
Protecting women against sexualised wartime violence
medica mondiale demands that politicians protect women’s rights and take action on the issue of human rights violations against women and girls by pressing for perpetrators to be prosecuted. medica mondiale demands a public condemnation of these crimes in order to end terror and violence against women once and for all. If their society recognises sexualised violence for the crime it is, this also re-establishes a sense of justice for the victims, helping them to process and integrate their traumatic experiences.
Zero tolerance for sexual exploitation of women
medica mondiale works to ensure awareness of how trafficking in women and forced prostitution flourish in post-war countries such as Bosnia, Kosovo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. medica mondiale denounces the sexual exploitation of women and girls by soldiers in international peacekeeping forces and the staff of humanitarian organisations. medica mondiale advocates the implementation of resolutions banning trafficking in women and demand that governments, institutions and organisations take preventive measures to both protect women from violence and sexual exploitation during military and peacekeeping interventions and to prosecute the perpetrators.
Against violence and the lack of rights for women in Afghanistan
In Afghanistan, a focal country of medica mondiale's political work, the efforts are aimed at stopping unlawful imprisonment, forced marriage of women and girls and the general increase in militarisation. To that end, the organisation addresses politicians with concrete demands for action and proposals of how to avoid violence in future and how to improve protection of women by carrying out surveys and information campaigns on the topic of violence against women.
Sexualised wartime violence - breaking the taboo to talk about it
medica mondiale carries out actions and campaigns to draw attention towards the worldwide scandal of sexualised violence in war and its consequences for those affected – to break the silence and counter the suppression in society around this issue. Together with colleagues in the project countries, medica mondiale documents and researches the causes and backgrounds of sexualised wartime violence. Using these results, medica mondiale demands a public debate about the issue of rape during war and conflicts.
Participation of women in peace negotiations
medica mondiale urges governments around the world to comply with UN Resolution 1325 from the year 2000, which was the first international treaty to provide for practical preventive measures to protect women against sexualised violence and an increased participation of women in peace negotiations. In the same way, medica mondiale demands a rapid implementation of UN Resolution 1820, which calls for all parties in an armed conflict to immediately stop actions of sexualised violence against civilians and to proceed with the prosecution of the perpetrators.
Political participation of women in society
Together with local women’s organisations in our project countries, medica mondiale demands and supports an equal chance for women to take part in all societal processes and defends the rights of women against misogynist attitudes in society and legislation.
Together with others
Human rights work needs allies. medica mondiale networks with organisations working in the fields of health and development policy, humanitarian aid, peace policy work, refugee assistance and human rights work. This policy of strategic cooperation enables medica mondiale to exert an influence at national and international levels. For example, some of the organisations medica mondiale works together with are: Forum Menschenrechte, Platform for Peaceful Conflict Management, Terres des Femmes, Amnesty International, VENRO (Association of German Development NGOs), Heinrich Böll Foundation, Human Rights Watch, United Nations Population Fund, UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women), Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the UN, medico international and the International Security Information Service Europe.