Women and girls fleeing from the violence in Syria and heading to neighboring countries are being provided with contraceptives to counter sexual violence, Kate Gilmore, deputy executive director of the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), told Al Arabiya English on Thursday.
“We’ve stayed on the ground in Syria, we’re powerfully on the ground in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq, to ensure that wherever Syrians – women, children and families – are fleeing from the conflict... they’re received with contraceptives that are available,” she said.
Contraceptive measures are the “essential” answer to the threat of sexual violence against women, Gilmore said, adding that sexual violence is being used as a “weapon of war” against women in conflict zones such as Syria.
In January, the New York-based International Rescue Committee said Syrian refugees interviewed in Lebanon and Jordan cited sexual violence as a primary reason for their flight, with gang rapes often occurring in front of family members.
“After decades of working in war and disaster zones, the IRC knows that women and girls suffer physical and sexual violence in every conflict. Syria is no exception," the Committee said in a 23-page report entitled “Syria: a regional crisis.”
It added: “Many women and girls relayed accounts of being attacked in public or in their homes, primarily by armed men.”
The UNFPA’s methods for dealing with the spate of sexual violence are “inadequate,” but they are making concerted efforts to “provide opportunities for [women] to disclose their experience of sexual violence,” said Gilmore.
An additional measure aimed at helping women victimized by violence is the establishment of refugee camps along Syria’s borders, “where people can get to those camps as quickly as possible… to minimize the period of time during which women are vulnerable.”
However, the involved parties must take responsibility, added Gilmore. “International standards on this are absolutely clear – every government and every opposition force is accountable under international law to prevent the use of sexualized violence as a weapon.”
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر