Thousands of women are beaten or raped every day, the often forgotten victims of conflicts all across the world. Join us in helping stop the violence.
As many as 50,000 women were raped during the war in Bosnia. In conflicts in West Africa and Northern Uganda thousands of young girls have been kidnapped and forced into sexual slavery and prostitution.
Rape is rampant in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it has again been used as a weapon of war, a tactic used to terrorise, destroy and humiliate communities. Its impact is devastating.
The European Council has called for significant scaling-up of programmes to combat violence against women, including in conflict and post-conflict situations. But we need to keep up the pressure to see these words turned into action.
We need your help.
We're calling all our supporters to write to the presidency of the European Union, which for the first half of 2008 will be held by Prime Minister Janez Jansa of Slovenia, urging Europe to take the lead in global efforts to end violence against women.
Dear Prime Minister Janez Jansa,
I call on you to make combating violence against women and girls a priority for European Union foreign policy and development assistance, especially in countries affected by conflict.
In May, the European Council called for significant scaling-up of programmes to combat violence against women, including in conflict and post-conflict situations. I urge you to provide the political leadership to turn these words into action.
Women and girls are often particularly targeted during war as a way to terrorise populations. Even when the fighting has stopped, abuse and exploitation often continue, sometimes unacknowledged and undetected. Yet women's health and socioeconomic wellbeing are essential for sustainable development, and war-torn communities will struggle to recover as long as social cohesion is undermined by attacks on women.
I call on the EU to:
-- Provide earmarked funding for international programmes that tackle violence against women, particularly in countries affected by conflict;
-- Support initiatives that allow survivors of violence to recover their dignity, health, livelihood and families;
-- Support community awareness and education programmes that also target men and boys so that they can begin to break the cycle of violence;
-- Provide technical assistance to countries in developing the political, legal and institutional structures needed to address violence against women and girls;
-- Make progress on combating violence against women and girls an indicator of human rights performance when assessing relations with third countries;
-- Speak out and take the lead on combating violence against women internationally.
I believe that with sufficient commitment the European Union can make a real difference in the lives of millions of women and girls around the globe.
The Stop violence against women and girls petition to Gender,women, child organizations in Europe was written by Cécile Petereit and is in the category Gender Rights and Issues at GoPetition.