We support women and girls in war and crisis zones

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medica mondiale Media Centre

medica mondiale supports this open letter:
The open letter prepared by the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security calls on all Member States to prioritize gender equality and women's rights and to support women civil society and women human rights defenders ahead of the annual Security Council open debate on women, peace and security on October 27th.
It takes the approach of the 17th anniversary of the adoption of SCR 1325 (2000) as an opportunity to reiterate the fundamental principles enshrined in the WPS agenda and urges each Member State to more consistently promote and abide by them.


Subdued lighting, colourful wall hangings, and a cosy fire crackling in the stove, all within a yurt built in authentic Mongolian style. Men and women – including Monika Hauser – are listening attentively to Dishani Jayaweera, a peace activist from Sri Lanka. These intimate moments build trust and togetherness: 30 experienced peacebuilders from all over the world have come together for the second time at the Global Peacebuilders Summit in Paretz, near Berlin, Germany. Monika Hauser: “We are united by the obstacles and resistance we encounter in our daily work: our joint struggle for human rights and peace.” In Monika Hauser’s photo travelogue, she tells us about these rewarding encounters. This extraordinary gathering was made possible by the joint support of the Culture Counts Foundation, the Helga Breuninger Foundation and the German Foreign Office.


Dear readers,
The past year began with bad news: sexual assaults on women and girls attending New Year’s Eve celebrations in Cologne. Sexualised violence suddenly became a major topic of discussion.
Yet, instead of prompting an open-minded debate on the long-standing criticism of the loopholes in criminal prosecution, it provoked frantic political posturing focusing on the asylum laws. The second hastily passed asylum package included measures to ease deportation. This was followed in the summer by the long overdue reform of §177 of the German criminal code on sexual assault by use of force or threats; rape.
Simultaneously, populist factions were using the incidents in Cologne to incite hostility against refugees and migrants. In contrast, the women who had actually been assaulted were quickly forgotten. Meanwhile, the wars in Syria and Iraq continued unabated in 2016.
In Afghanistan, the number of civilians killed or injured in armed hostilities and terrorist attacks rose to a new high of 11,500. Armed conflict also continued in Southern Sudan, Ukraine and Eastern Congo.
In all of these conflicts, women are subjected to sexualised violence – by militias, government troops or other parties.
Yet, despite the many international agreements, political leaders are doing little to stop sexualised wartime violence and address its causes. Instead of promoting the development of adequate health care or organisations providing long-term effective support for survivors, investment in weapons continues.
Instead of actually addressing the root causes of the refugee crisis, Europe’s common migration policy is largely occupied with keeping refugees out. And instead of helping those seeking refuge by providing trauma-sensitive support, the debate is focused on deciding which countries can be declared “safe” countries of origin, to make deportation easier.
Yet, inactivity and resignation are not the solution! It is precisely because of these challenges that standing firm in solidarity with those forced to bear the brunt of these conflicts is more important than ever. Our local partner organisations, supporting survivors and working for women’s rights, are encouraging role models: for example, the women from Medica Afghanistan, who, alongside their counselling services, work tirelessly for the implementation of legislation to protect women against violence; or the psychosocial counsellors in Liberia, Uganda and South Kivu – the first point of contact for women and girls, who, day after day, have to confront the violence they have experienced; or the many people in Germany committed to supporting refugees.
The recent adoption in North Rhine-Westphalia of the concept to protect refugees against violence, which takes up our calls for needs-based accommodation and safe areas for women and girls, demonstrates that our political advocacy is, indeed, making an impact. All this is encouraging and demonstrates that we can achieve a great deal together, to ensure that women and girls are able to live in dignity and justice!


Extract from the open letter:
 "We congratulate Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on his election as Director- General of WHO - a job that literally makes the difference between life and death for millions of people around
the world." (...)
"Women are particularly vulnerable in times of conflict. The scourge of sexual violence has ravaged all parts of the world. In the Balkans, where the war ended more than 20 years ago, rape survivors are still grappling with trauma and stigma. In Eastern DRC, rape has been widely used as a weapon of war, and conflict-related sexual violence is still widespread. Despite several international resolutions, conventions, and guidelines, health care for women in post-conflict situations is clearly deficient, largely unqualified, and often neglected. Providing adequate help and support to survivors of sexual violence must be a common concern of all medical personnel—from surgeons to mental health professionals—and especially international agencies such as WHO. Training in gender and trauma-sensitive health care can professionalise the field and change the attitudes of health-care providers, as medica mondiale’s experience of helping over 70 000 women and girls in war-torn countries shows."
"We are past laureates of the Right Livelihood Award, also known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize”. We declare no competing interests."
Sima Samar, Gino Strada, Monika Hauser, Ran Goldstein, Denis Mukwege

Published Online July 7, 2017 from The Lancet


Medica Afghanistan in partnership with Women for Women International UK (WFWI) provided input to the new national action plan of the UK government on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 “Women, Peace, and Security” (NAP). Both organisations hosted consultation workshops in Herat and Kabul elaborating the current women´s rights situation in Afghanistan.

Key topics were

  • the security,
  • justice and legal framework;
  • the issue of violence against women and girls;
  • as well as their participation in society.

In these workshops women led and women organizations were invited to share their perspective on the needs and concerns of women in Afghanistan. Key recommendations will hopefully be integrated into the new UK NAP. Please find the full report in the attachment. 
Video about the Afghanistan report


The film is intended to offer guidance to refugee women who recently arrived in Germany. The scenes offer a low-threshold way to introduce basic tips for refugee women. The film’s performers and producers are themselves women who fled as refugees to Germany several years ago. They took a look at their own experiences since arriving in the country, reflecting on the difficulties and obstacles which arose on their path of integration. Additionally, suggestions for "recommended action" and examples of empowerment are acted out. The core aspects are:

  • 1. Surround yourself with people who will help you and empower you.
  • 2. Respect and love yourself.
  • 3. Gain training and education.
  • 4. Develop a vision for your life and know your aims.
  • 5. Know your rights.

The group would like to make it easier for other refugee woman to integrate successfully in Germany by sharing the insights they have gained since they arrived in the country. Tips, reflections and specific information all offer practical help.
The film can be shown by anyone working with refugee women, e.g. in self-help groups. This project is a participatory video: the women developed the concept and script themselves, and also learnt how to use a camera and do the editing. So the women are not only performers in the film but also the filmmakers. The film was produced with support from the Ministry of Health, Equalities, Care and Ageing in North Rhine-Westphalia. Workshop Director Lisa Glahn from “myView”


Medica Gjakova and medica mondiale are excited to announce our 2017 conference "Empower Women Now!" - Creating a culture of recognition and reconciliation in Kosovo on 11 and 12 May 2017 in Gjakova (Kosovo). Professionals, representatives of political, social, academic and non-governmental institutions from the Western Balkans will discuss about conflict-related sexual violence, its impact on survivors, their families and the society, share updates on the reparation mechanism on the edge of implementation in Kosovo, and related experiences from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. Further conference themes are creating a culture of recognition and rehabilitation as well as the importance of integrating a gender perspective into all transitional justice processes of a society