medica mondiale pursues a holistic approach in the fight against sexualised wartime violence. That is why, alongside direct support for survivors, political advocacy for women’s rights is one or our key concerns. The underlying causes of sexualised and gender-based violence can only be overcome when key political stakeholders are sensitised to the issues women's rights and sexualised violence and when they are persuaded to act with consistency.
Interview with Jessica Mosbahi, advisor human rights and politics
Why is political dialogue so important for medica mondiale?
As a women’s rights organisation, we do not only want to provide direct support for survivors of sexualised wartime violence, but to simultaneously demolish the discriminatory structures that make such violence possible in the first place. An important strategic partner in this is the world of politics, which, through legislation and a strategic policy decisions, could contribute to the creation of more justice and protection for women and girls.
How does this dialogue function in practice?
There are a range of instruments. Policy papers, including concrete demands, can be a good starting point for discussions. For example, one can request an interview to discuss the contents of such a paper in person. The best-case scenario is where politicians approach us because they consider our concerns important. However, even though this personal contact with politicians is important, in the absence of any written positions or demands that can be published and used to exert some pressure, even the most successful conversations can come to nothing.
Is this not sometimes quite tiresome?
Yes, political work can certainly sometimes be tiresome. Partly because in the case of such a taboo issue as sexualised wartime violence, progress tends to be made in small steps rather than huge bounds. But also, unfortunately, partly because too many politicians still underestimate or simply ignore the relevance of the issue and its negative impact on social communities.
How do you know when political advocacy has been successful?
We can speak of success when concrete demands are taken on board and integrated into political strategies or guidelines. Or when politicians call us to discuss issues or invite us to present an expert position to one of the committees. I find it particularly rewarding when I see that a person has changed her or his position on our issue as a consequence of our influence.
Interview from the annual report 2016 (p. 26/27)
medica mondiale acts as advocate of women’s rights – all over the world. This is why, besides its manifold project work, it raises public awareness concerning the worldwide scandal of sexualised violence during war and its consequences. For it we initiate and participate in activities and campaigns which raise awareness about the causes and background of sexualised violence against women and about women’s rights.
"My body is no battlefield" (as from 2018)