We support women and girls in war and crisis zones

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medica mondiale Media Centre

Practiced by medica mondiale and its partner organisations
Underlying direct forms of violence are other more pervasive forms of violence that are often unseen and unrecognized, such as: structural violence, through which people are unequally treated or deprived of their fundamental human rights, and symbolic violence, which legitimizes direct and structural violence e.g. through discriminatory narratives. All three forms of violence are the bases for conflict-related sexualised violence. The graph shows how medica mondiale acts against it.


Copyright: Deutsche Welle

Sybille Fezer, Executive Member of the Board Programs at medica mondiale, speaks in an interview with Deutsche Welle about UN Resolution 2467, which was adopted on 22.04.2019.

The UN Security Council calls on UN member states in Resolution 2467 to strengthen their legislation on sexual violence in war and crisis areas and to expand the persecution of perpetrators.

Sybille Fezer welcomes the fact that german Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and the German government are campaigning for the Agenda "Women, Peace, Security" and sexualized violence in wars as part of their non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council. "Even within the UN-Security Council there are still a lot of backlashes towards women's rights in the members that we have there. It's not about having the legal framework, it's about implementing it."


Towards a Survivor-Centered Approach: Five Elements to Support Women and Girls after Sexualized and Gender-Based Violence in Armed Conflict
Rape is a massive attack on a person’s dignity. In times of peace, 50-65 percent of people affected develop traumatic stress reactions with severe long-term consequences. These might include a tendency to withdraw from social life, as well as chronic pain or sleep disturbances. In war and war-like conflicts, the effects of sexualized violence are exacerbated. Women who have experienced gender-based violence often face ongoing insecurity, endangerment and poverty, as well as – as a consequence of rape – stigmatization and social exclusion. To address the needs of women and girls after gender-based violence in armed conflicts, the women’s rights organization medica mondiale has developed an integrated, survivor-centered approach.


As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Germany will be helping to shape international security policy in the years 2019 to 2020. Against this backdrop, the German government has declared the «Women, Peace and Security» agenda to be one of the focal points of its work. It is envisaged that Germany’s presidency of the UN Security Council in April 2019 will be devoted to the struggle against sexualised violence during conflicts. One of the German government’s declared aims is to introduce a further resolution in the UN body with its stated objective of plugging the «normative gaps» and thus affording women and girls greater protection from violence.

The undersigning organisations expressly welcome the fact that Germany is addressing this core issue. However, a source of concern to us is the initiative to adopt a further resolution. Given the further hardening of antidemocratic and decidedly misogynistic stances in the UN Security Council, we believe there is a danger of a weak resolution text ultimately being negotiated and adopted. Some powerful members of the Security Council, such as Russia, China and the USA, are undermining women’s rights and once again questioning, for example, women’s and girls’ right to self-determination. Through such actions, the achievements that have already been made could be shattered and the «Women, Peace and Security» agenda overall decisively weakened.

Signed by:
Heinrich Böll Stiftung
medica mondiale
Deutscher Frauenrat
OWEN – Mobile Akademie für Geschlechterdemokratie und Friedensförderung e.V.
UN Women
Frauen Netzwerk für Frieden
CFFP – Center for Feminist Foreign Policy
The Canaan Project
Deutscher Frauenring e.V.


Medica Afghanistan position paper on amending article 640(2) of the penal code on virginity testing and criminalising gynecological and rectal examinations as torture in a separate provision under the penal code 2018.
On the occasion of celebrating 8th of March Women's International Day 2019, Medica Afghanistan declares its position on amending Article 640 of the Penal Code and criminalizing all forms of gynecological and rectal testing as an act of torture under the Penal Code.

Gynecological and rectal examinations, so called "virginity tests", are conducted to prove adultery and sodomy. But the examination has no scientific basis and causes severe trauma.

Medica Afghanistan is against these examinations and calls for the serious attention of the government, especially H.E President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, to order for its complete prohibition in adultery and sodomy cases and the implementation of the Ministry of Public Healths (MOPH) Gender Based Violence Treatment Protocol in Rape cases.


Sybille Fezer, Managing Director of Programs and Content Development at medica mondiale, joined the Women In International Security ( anniversary conference "Is the Future Democratic? Democracy, Security, Technology" on November 15, 2018.

Breakout session 2 focused on the future of security and was facilitated by Anna Jandrey, Desk Officer in the Middle East and North Africa Department of Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS).

Sybille Fezer emphasized the need to consider women's interests in the creation of international security and explained why self reflection is necessary for peace makers and aid organisations: "If those are not reflecting the power they have over others or their own priviledges when they work abroad – as we saw with the #aidtoo scandal – then we can not claim to contribute to peace building."

Further speakers:
Julie Brethfeld, Representative of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in the Working Group on Peace and Development (FriEnt)
Mariam Safi, Founder and Director of the Organization for Policy Research and Development Studies (DROPS) in Afghanistan
Dr. Almut Wieland-Karimi, CEO of the Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF)

Copyright: Women in International Security Deutschland


Almost one in two Bosnian women have experienced violence in their lives. Yet only five percent of those who suffered abuse report it. Support from the police is not self-evident. "For the new generation of police, education is very important. They need to protect survivors of violence and they need to listen to survivors of violence" says Sabiha Husic, Director of Medica Zenica.

Copyright: Thomson Reuters Foundation


Global Peacebuilders Summit, Paretz
4 September 2018

The Workshop “Dealing with war-related sexual violence: Experiences and challenges” responded to requests from participants in a session on “Dealing with the past/Transitional Justice” during the Global Peacebuilders Summit in September 2017. They expressed specific interest in discussing the possibilities for dealing with war-related sexual violence in Transitional Justice policies. Peacebuilders and women’s rights activists in many post-war societies face the question of how to deal with these issues in an appropriate way that addresses truth, justice, healing and relationship-building.

In the past 25 years, the issue of war-related sexual violence has been addressed by international law and by mechanisms that aim at accountability after violent conflict, such as international and domestic courts in war crimes prosecution. Truth commissions have also addressed the issue. These transitional justice mechanisms helped to inform the debate and supported progress in this field; however, they also show clear limitations in terms of acknowledgement of the survivors. The question of what kind of restorative approaches have been applied so far and how more victim-centred approaches can be offered was therefore a main focus of the workshop.