Queen Rania launches Arabic version of the ICRC 'Women and War' study
Regional-Jordan, Culture, 11/29/2002
A celebration was held in Amman on November 25th, on launching of the Arabic version of the ICRC "Women and War" study and the inauguration of the photo exhibition. The event was held under the patronage of her Majesty the Jordanian Queen Rania al-Abdullah.
The aim of this study was to gain a better understanding of the needs of women affected by armed conflict and the protection afforded to them through International Humanitarian Law IHL.
The study concludes that women have a significant role to play for they possess tremendous strength. The study also indicates that women in many parts of the world are mobilizing for national and world peace, for the development of their communities, for the support of their families in times of conflict and in times of peace.
In an inaugural speech, Queen Rania expressed great pleasure to take part in launching, from Jordan, the Arabic version of the "women and War" study. She said that this study is part of the courageous and constructive initiatives taken by the International Committee of the Red Cross to alleviate the suffering of a wide stratum of women, children and the elderly who have fallen victim to disasters, wars, armed conflicts and violations of human rights.
The Queen added that the launch of the "Women and War" study comes at a critical time when humanity must revive its conscience and go through a process of self- assessment, especially as the effects of war and armed conflicts are increasing and claiming a tragic number of victims.
The study's specific focus on women stems from an awareness of their suffering as a result of these conflicts, especially in the absence of the main provider for the family because he had either joined the combatants, been taken prisoner, or been killed. This forces the woman to become the sole provider for the family, and to secure the basic necessities of life while confronting all the risks that women encounter under such circumstances. She also explained that woman may also find herself a target, of being taken captive, rape, kidnapp, killed, or disabled in the midst of conflicts that lead to ethnic cleansing and occupation.
She added that "the suffering of any woman is directly reflected on the other members of her family unit; which is a significant building block in the development process.. for an unsettled woman breeds an unsettled family, which is often characterized by deteriorating health and educational conditions, as well as the deprivation of the necessities for a dignified life."
Urging the need to enforce the international laws, the Queen said that " what we saw" in the film displayed during the ceremony on women under war and the stories "we heard as told by the victims themselves," all confirm that the time has come for implementing international laws and charters. She indicated that there is also a need for the international community, especially developed nations to exert more efforts in order to provide the appropriate assistance for improving the living conditions of victims of war.
The Queen notes the role of the "Women and war" study in succeeding to convey the message that it carries through a better understanding of the impact of war on women and through defining their needs under these abnormal circumstances. It demonstrates how to respond to these needs and reaffirms the rights of victims of war, especially women, as guaranteed by UN charters and the International Humanitarian Law, Queen Rania commented.
Highlighting the situation of the Arab women under the Israeli occupation and in Iraq, The Queen said that this ( Arab ) region of the world has suffered from events in which the Arab woman has been, and continue to be, the main victim, adding that the women of Palestine and Iraq provide the most significant testimony to this suffering.
The Queen noted the Palestinian woman's defiance of occupation, noting that while "we witness the suffering of Arab women in the heart of conflict and under siege, we also witness bright images of steadfastness and the overcoming of challenges." She underlined the significance of the event and described the launching of the report as a courageous initiative that requires all of us to take responsible stand to reevaluate and to gear our efforts towards achieving the development and security of humanity, regardless of the gender, race, or religion.
The ICRC head of mission in Amman, Guy Mellet, concentrated in his speech on the ceremony which he said has two main objectives.
The first objective is that the ceremony is a typical example of the preventive work of the ICRC. A work that is designed to contain the harmful effects of armed conflicts and keep them to a minimum. He added that the strategy behind this work comprises three levels: first, awareness- building: to make the laws better know; Second, promotion of the humanitarian law through teaching and training and third, integration of the humanitarian law into official legal, educational and operational curricula.
He said that as the nature of warfare changes, new areas of humanitarian law need to be explored and developed. In addition, the ICRC seeks ways to improve the implementation of the law. In this regard, the ICRC has and continued to conduct research work, studies and field explorations all around the world to identify where current recognized practices can complete written law and treaties. The study "we are launching today is a good example of these activities," Mellet commented.
He continued that the second objective of the ceremony was addressed through the photo exhibition organized on the sideline of the study. He explained that the photos, taken by Nick Danziger, who is a professional photographer, managed to capture the suffering of women and show in magnificent images samples of their suffering and plight as a result of armed conflicts and internal disturbances. He added that Danziger managed to do so following numerous trips to different parts of the world, where he joined ICRC teams working directly with the people, including women, affected by conflicts.
Mellet said that the two part of the ceremony. also reflect the two sides of ICRC world to promote and disseminate the International Humanitarian Law and to work in the field to alleviate the suffering of the victims of conflicts.
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