ICRW Supports Protection of Women, Girls From Violence During Humanitarian Crises

Article Date

13 November 2013

Article Author

By ICRW Communications Staff

Media Contact

Anne McPherson

Vice President, Global Communications email [email protected]

Ravi Verma, director of the Asia Regional Office of the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), will attend a high-level gathering today in London to encourage intensifying the humanitarian system’s efforts to protect women and girls from all forms of violence in emergency situations.

ICRW and other organizations have signed on to a communiqué to be issued during the event convened by Britain’s secretary of state for international development. Signatories on the communiqué commit to a set of principles that will strengthen collective efforts that promote and protect the rights of women and girls, as well as create a safer environment for them during and in the aftermath of conflict and natural disasters.

According to Britain’s Department for International Development, changing how the humanitarian system responds to the needs of women and girls won’t be realized by a single pledge of funds. Instead, it requires a collection of targeted, unceasing commitments made by repesentatives in areas where progress is most needed.

The primary goal of today’s gathering is to mobilize global leadership to drive such change within the humanitarian system. The event builds on the landmark commitment G8 foreign ministers reached in their Declaration on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict in April, the Conference on the Status of Women conclusions on violence against women and girls agreed to in March, and the Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict that was launched in New York in September.

Organizers contend there has been progress on raising awareness about violence against women in emergency contexts and on putting guidelines and standards into use. However, as has become clear in settings like Haiti and Syria, significant gaps remain; women and girls still aren’t receiving adequate protection or services in emergencies.

ICRW and other organizations that signed the communiqué have committed to, among other efforts: act or fund action to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls in emergencies before waiting for specific evidence to emerge; strengthen accountability at all levels to promote gender equality and address violence in humanitarian responses; and promote comprehensive mental health, psychosocial and sexual and reproductive health services from the onset of an emergency through the duration of the humanitarian response.