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Women and Children

Caught in Conflict

women

and children face revolving


cycles of conflicts and disasters.
the country typically experiences
annual displacement due to political
conflict or natural disaster.

such natural disasters, along with


protracted armed conflict and
exposure to violence, hinder
attempts to alleviate the effects of
poverty, unsafe water and
inadequate sanitation facilities,
limited health-service delivery and
poorly functioning governance.

Of the total population of 93+


million, 48 million are vulnerable to
conflict or natural disaster, and
170,000 families are typically
displaced by disaster annually.

Displaced families suffer sporadic


disease outbreaks, and under
nutrition is endemic among children.

Prolonged displacement and


continued insecurity mean families
are without income, a push factor for
children to enter hazardous labour
situations.

Destruction

of school buildings, long


distances between schools and
evacuation centres, hidden costs and
loss of important documents are
factors limiting education for
displaced students, causing many
children to drop out.

Violent incidents due to family


feuds, local elections and typhoons
interrupted childrens education in a
number of provinces, particularly
those in northern and central Luzon.
In Maguindanao Province, schooling
for an estimated 14,000 children was
affected in 2010.

adopted

by the United Nations in 1974


and went into force the same year
proposed by the United Nations
Economic and Social Council
on the grounds that women and
children are often the victims of wars,
civil unrest, and other emergency
situations that cause them to suffer
"inhuman acts and consequently suffer
serious harm

Declaration

states that women and


children suffer victimization during
armed conflict due to "suppression,
aggression, colonialism, racism, alien
domination and foreign subjugation"

The

Declaration specifically prohibits


attacks and bombing of civilian
populations (Article 1) and the use of
chemical and biological weapons on
civilian populations (Article 2).

Article

3 requires states to abide by


the Geneva Protocol of 1925 and the
Geneva Convention of 1949.

The

Declaration also requires countries


to take measures to end "persecution,
torture, punitive measures, degrading
treatment and violence" especially
when they are targeted against women
and children, as well as recognizing
"imprisonment, torture, shooting, mass
arrests, collective punishment,
destruction of dwellings, and forcible
evictions" as criminal acts.

Certain

inalienable rights are also


enshrined in the Declaration, such as
access to food, shelter, and medical
care, which are to be provided to
women and children caught in
emergency situations.

Finally,

the Declaration cites the


binding nature of other international
law instruments, naming the
Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights, International
Covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights, Declaration of the
Rights of the Child.

Those

who remained in their


communities temporarily stopped
going to school for a few days to as
long as over a month
Those displaced stopped going to
school during the period of
displacement, and their schools were
destroyed in the fighting

The

diets of those who remained in


their communities was reduced,
when their families were prevented
from procuring food
Those displaced had poor diets due
to meager rations in evacuation
centers and collapsed family
livelihoods

Various

manifestations of trauma:
nervousness, sleeplessness, lack of
appetite and others
Anxiousness triggered by sudden
loud noises or seeing fatigue
uniforms

Children

were accused and


threatened
physically attacked and shot at
Detained
forced to do errands, guide soldiers,
or spy for them

Children

reveal the capacity for


active involvement in production
work, domestic tasks and cultural
activities in their communities.
Their most commonly expressed
desire was to finish school and help
their families

Added

economic burdens due to less


time working on their farms,
slaughtered animals and destroyed
farms
Heavier domestic tasks and family
responsibilities
Fragmented families

Stress-related illnesses
Complications in pregnancies,

particularly in more stressful and


unhygienic evacuation centers

Sexually

suggestive comments made


by soldiers or rebels
Alleged fondling of women
Rape

Women

are able to bear greatly added


burdens and family responsibilities
Women have the capacity to take
action and overcome the stereotype of
weak and dependent women
Women can mobilize themselves and
their children, coordinate with
peoples organizations, and negotiate
directly with armed groups

Only

recently has it been internationally


recognized that war and conflict affect
women and children differently.
The first UN Security Council resolution
ever to specifically recognize the issue
(Resolution 1325) was adopted in
October 2000.
It advocated increased participation by
women in peace-keeping activities and
recognized the special vulnerability of
women in times of conflict.

Women and children are disproportionately


targeted in contemporary armed conflict and
constitute the majority of all victims, and that
during conflict, women and girls are
vulnerable to all forms of violence, in particular
sexual violence and exploitation, including
torture, rape, mass rape, forced pregnancy,
sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, and
trafficking. They face numerous health threats
grounded in biological differences, and the high
rate of infection and death increases womens
workload in maintaining their households and
community and providing care to orphaned
children.

The

economic, social, political, legal


and cultural structures that
perpetuate gender inequality are still
in place throughout the world, and in
no nation do women have complete
equality within these structures to
participate as fully as men.

These

hierarchical structures
resulting in discrimination against
women and their second-class status
in society during peacetime limit
womens ability to cope with the
consequences of war, especially in
countries with a fundamentalist
interpretation of religion which is
repressive of womens rights.

Patriarchy

means that women are


regarded as mens property, an
addition to the territory and other
things that men possess. Rape is to
male-female relations what
conquering troops are to occupied
territories, and imperial authority is
to colonialism.

Women

experience war differently than do

men.
The inequities that women around the
world face during peacetime are
compounded by the enacting of nationalist,
social, and cultural notions of gender and
state.
These conditions render them especially
vulnerable to stress, trauma, and disease
at every time of warduring conflict, flight,
displacement, and the aftermath of war.