According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Switzerland, countries must do more to protect women and girls in wartime. This call was made on the tenth anniversary of the UN Security Council’s resolution on women, peace and security.
Resolution 1325 targeted the huge impact of armed conflict on women.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC,) Colombia and Afghanistan, to name a few, millions of girls and women are systematically targeted as a tactic of war. They are subjected to sexual violence and other injuries. They are often separated from their family members, with little access to food and healthcare.
Women are supposed to be protected in wartime, mainly through the Geneva Convention.
The rules of this convention are violated to the extreme. The DRC is one prime example of this violation. Countries that ratified the Geneva Convention are supposed to ensure that these violations do not take place, but the reality is another story.
This Red Cross release goes on to say that some progress has been made, but there is still a long way to go.
Armed groups must recognize that sexual violence is a war crime and that violators should face punishment. The ICRC does its training and dissemination in the field of international humanitarian law. The ICRC insists that countries fulfill their obligations in the enforcing of this law.
Prevention of war crimes is a key factor. Sexual violence can profoundly disrupt a society even after the conflict ends. Victims can be rejected, cultural norms can be broken, and economic instability can occur.
The ICRC believes that women should be part of the solution to their problems if any success is to be achieved. Countries and aid organizations must see to it that women are involved. Women must not be consigned to the role of passive victims, furthering disempowering them, and therefore excluding them from peacekeeping efforts.