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Analysis of the quality of health care for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Afghanistan and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq



As part of medica mondiale’s Transnational Health Training Programme (THTP), a comparative study of the current situation of the quality of health care for survivors of sexualized and gender-based violence (SGBV) was conducted in Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Afghanistan and the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan in Iraq (KRI).


The purpose of the study was to analyse and to compare the structural obstacles and barriers that survivors of sexualized and gender-based violence face when they try to access health care services. The focus was the degree to which heath care services are offered to SGBV survivors in a stress- and trauma-sensitive way. This was done by comparing country studies conducted in each of the four countries.


Based on this analysis, recommendations were made to promote the institutionalization of stress and trauma sensitivity in the health care services at country and at international level.

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1 October 2020: Open Letter to Permanent Representatives to the United Nations on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Resolution 1325 (2000)


Co-signed by medica mondiale and other members of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security.


"(...) Twenty years ago, the architects of Resolution 1325 created history, not only by recognizing the brutal and disproportionate reality of conflict for women and girls around the world, but also by recognizing the importance of their equal participation in all aspects of peace and security. Yet reflecting on these founding principles of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, it is clear that while there has been some progress, these words have remained rhetoric rather than lived reality for the 264 million women and girls living in conflict across the globe. (...)
Participation without the ability to influence the outcome is not participation, it is observation. (...)
On the 20th anniversary of the adoption of Resolution 1325, we join our voices with those of women leaders and activists around the globe to reiterate the principle at the foundation of the WPS agenda – nothing less than the full, equal and meaningful participation of women in all aspects of peace and security. (...)"



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Rapport annuel 2019


Chères lectrices, chers lecteurs,


Que faire, lorsque tout change d’un coup ? L’éclatement mondial de la pandémie de corona nous a montré à quelle vitesse la réalité peut changer. Les écoles, les hôpitaux et des états entiers doivent adapter leurs structures et plans - avec de lourdes conséquences pour chacun et chacune d’entre nous.


Les problèmes sociaux sont encore plus manifestes pendant les périodes de crise, apparents comme sous une loupe. Les groupes marginalisés sont plus affectés et sont moins pris en compte dans les solutions. Toutes les crises nous montrent que les structures patriarcales se renforcent - avec des conséquences fatales pour les femmes et le tissu social. Les femmes défavorisées sont particulièrement concernées.


Malheureusement, l’année 2019 n’a pas été une exception à cet égard. La situation des femmes yézidies m’a particulièrement bouleversée. Le génocide perpétré contre la minorité yézidie par ce qu’on appelle « État islamique » comprenait aussi l’enlèvement, le mariage forcé et le viol des milliers de femmes yézidies. Selon le droit irakien, les enfants que ces femmes avaient mis au monde dans la captivité, presque toujours à la suite de viols, ne sont pas considérés comme yézidis, mais comme musulmans en raison de leurs pères. Les autorités yézidies n’ont rien fait eux non plus pour accepter les enfants comme partie de la communauté yézidie. Par conséquent, les mères ont été contraintes soit d’abandonner leurs enfants, soit de renier leur communauté.


Pour pouvoir défendre les droits des femmes pendant les périodes de crise également, nous devons agir ensemble, et ce, avant qu’il ne soit trop tard. Actuellement, nos partenaires démontrent l’importance du développement de réseaux forts d’organisations pour les droits des femmes qui restent opérationnelles sous pression également. À cet égard, il y a eu des évolutions impressionnantes l’année dernière. Ainsi, dans la région des Grands Lacs d’Afrique, trois de nos organisations partenaires ont commencé de collaborer de façon transnationale. De même, en Afghanistan et en Irak ainsi qu’en Europe du Sud-Est, nous avons soutenu le lancement des échanges réguliers sur des sujets spécialisés et des stratégies politiques.


C’est précisément ces réseaux de militantes pour les droits des femmes qui me donnent du courage et de l’espoir. Ces alliances doivent être soutenues et encouragées afin que nous puissions affronter les crises de manière déterminée et vigoureuse.


Dr. Monika Hauser

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Dear Reader,


What should we do when everything is suddenly different? The global outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has shown us how quickly realities can change. Schools, hospitals and whole countries have to adapt their structures and plans – with drastic consequences for each and every one of us.


Crises can magnify society’s problems as marginalised groups are affected more but considered less when devising solutions. In all crises we see that patriarchal structures strengthen – with fatal consequences for women and social cohesion. And the women who particularly suffer are those who need particular protection.


In this respect, the year 2019 was unfortunately no exception. I was shaken, among others, by the situation of the Yazidi women. The genocide committed against the Yazidi minority by the so-called Islamic State also involved the kidnapping, forced marriage and rape of thousands of Yazidi women. According to Iraqi law, the children who these women gave birth to while in captivity – who were almost always born of rape – do not count as Yazidi but assume the Muslim identity of their biological fathers. The Yazidi authorities were also unable to persuade themselves to accept the children as part of the Yazidi community. This forced the mothers to either say goodbye to their community or give up their children.


In order to continue defending women’s rights during times of crisis we have to take action together before it is too late. Our partners are currently demonstrating how important it is to establish strong networks of women’s rights organisations which can still function under pressure. During the past year there were impressive developments in this regard. In the region of the Great Lakes in Africa, three of our partner organisations began to work together across borders. In Afghanistan and Iraq, and in south-eastern Europe too, our support helped our partners to initiate regular networking meetings on specialist topics and political strategies.


It is these networks of women’s rights activists who give me courage and hope. We need to support and fund these alliances so that in the face of crises, we are powerful and determined.


Dr Monika Hauser

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July 11, 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the genocide of Srebrenica. More than 8,000 Bosniak men and boys were murdered by Bosnian Serb troops who had captured the city of Srebrenica. This genocide during the Bosnian war is considered the most serious war crime in Europe since the Second World War. Tens of thousands of women and girls experienced sexualised violence during the Bosnian war. More than 100,000 people lost their lives.


To this day – 25 years after the Dayton Peace Agreement – there are hardly any measures to come to terms with the past and no common policy of remembrance. Politicians tend to promote the division of the population instead of initiating a reconciliation process. Many war criminals are still worshipped as heroes.


Sabiha Husic of Medica Zenica commemorates the victims of the massacre on the occasion of the 25th anniversary and recounts how Medica Zenica supported surviving women and girls after the genocide. She highlights the importance of acknowledging suffering for trauma management, coming to terms with the past and reconciliation.


The video was broadcast at the event "Srebrenica: 25 years on – Remembrance. Justice. Reconciliation" by the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen Bundestagsfraktion.

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In June 1999, the war in Kosovo ended. As in every conflict, sexualised violence against women and girls was widespread. The traumatic experiences of war and war rape run deep through Kosovarian society. What is the effect of the Corona pandemic on societies in transition, and in particular on survivors of violence?


The Kosovarian women’s rights organization Medica Gjakova warns that the state of emergency takes a heavy toll on the mental health of survivors. On the one hand, the situation can lead to feelings of insecurity, which are particularly harmful for women working through trauma. On the other hand, the retreat to “the private” is for many women not a safe option.


What do survivors of violence need during this time? What can their supporters do to accommodate their needs? And how can the supporters take care of themselves?


Leonita Gojani, who is a psychosocial counsellor at the Kosovarian women's rights organization Medica Gjakova, discusses war trauma, the risk of retraumatization and ways to support survivors with Jennifer Marchand, trauma advisor at medica mondiale.


Related topics


Video: Corona-Talk – How to fight for Women`s rights in a Crisis

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Policy Briefing on the Third National Action Plan of the German government


20 years ago, after continuous pressure by international civil society, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted ground-breaking Resolution 1325, “Women, Peace and Security”. Nine follow-up resolutions expanded the pillars of the Women Peace and Security Agenda: participation of women in peacebuilding, protection of women and girls in armed conflict, prevention of armed conflicts as well as gender-equitable help, reconstruction, and reintegration.


The German government is currently implementing Resolution 1325 in the context of the Second National Action Plan. The Women, Peace and Security Agenda is also a focal point of its current non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council. The German government has made some significant progress especially during the current legislative term under the leadership of Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas. And yet, Germany still has fundamental issues with its national and international implementation. The political will to implement the Agenda as consistently as, for example, demonstrated by Sweden’s feminist foreign policy, is still lacking.


German civil society has compiled this policy paper as a contribution to the development of the Third National Action Plan. Based on the four pillars of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, it illustrates the obligations of the German government and the current state of implementation. Furthermore, it contains recommendations for action.


Signed by:


Amica e.V., Care Deutschland e.V., Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy, Deutscher Frauenrat e.V., Deutscher Frauenring e.V., Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung, Frauennetzwerk für Frieden e.V., Gunda-Werner-Institut, Internationale Frauenliga für Frieden und Freiheit, International Rescue Committee, medica mondiale e.V., OWEN e.V., The Canaan Project, UN Women, Nationales Komitee Deutschland e.V.

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