Conflict zones: targeting women and children

Photo: Arne Hoel/World Bank
Photo: Arne Hoel/World Bank

A recent news article posted by IRIN, a humanitarian news and analysis project of the UN office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, described the dire situation of women and children in Southern Sudan. According to the online article “women and children are being increasingly targeted in escalating attacks against communities in Southern Sudan…” and further “there is a drastic escalation in violence…different to the traditional violence that occurs.”  Reports of this kind are not new, women and children are typically part of the more vulnerable sectors of society, especially in conflict zones. We see similar humanitarian reports emerging from Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel and Palestine to name a few.

The plight of women is often used as a catalyst for engaging in humanitarian or military intervention. Generally enveloped within a larger political agenda, such as supporting an election or peace process, women issues are seldom the primary focus. According to IRIN, the concern for the Sudanese officials  is that the increasing violence in the Southern States will derail the  Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) under whose auspices elections are being planned for 2010 and possible Southern autonomy in 2011. While the CPA process is worthy cause, it is rather disheartening that the plight of women and children is not a political issue that stands alone.  Instead we are confronted with the dire situation of Sudanese women and then asked to frame the issues as one that fits a larger agenda, bigger than human rights.

A word of caution to supporters and followers of humanitarian intervention: lift the veil and seek to understand the truth behind an intervention. Hold our governments and NGO’s responsible and accountable and ask the tough questions, why are we fighting and what are we fighting for?

To read the full article and form your own opinion click here

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One Response to “Conflict zones: targeting women and children”

  1. aisy griffithsSeptember 15, 2009 at 7:15 pm #

    Nothing is bigger than human rights,but we cannot make deals with the devil to attain them.How are we going to instill respect for women in these men?.Certainly not by following the route of Afghanistan.First we have to be sure of the real reason outsiders are going in.Is`nt it strange that where there is no oil interests western governments dont feel the need to interfere.Why are Haitis problems ignored,no oil just human misery.Why are we not concerned with so many women in the middle east?would it be because their oil is accessable to us?.We should be in Darfore enmass ,but we must be sure we are not a trojan horse