NGO denounces before UNHRC plight of women and girls in conflict zones, in Tindouf Camps

NGO denounces before UNHRC plight of women and girls in conflict zones, in Tindouf Camps

NGO PDES (French acronym for ‘Promotion of Economic and Social Development’) has sounded the alarm about the serious, appalling conditions facing women in conflict zones such as the Tindouf camps in South-Western Algeria, where they are experiencing gender-based violence.

Speaking at the annual discussion on women’s rights, held in Geneva as part of the 53rd session of the Human Rights Council, the NGO underlined the situation in many conflict zones where there is no genuine security due to the general collapse of the rule of law and of social and family structures, normalized gender-based violence and exacerbated human trafficking, with serious effects on women and girls in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Mali, the DRC and the Tindouf camps, “where they pay a heavy price.”

Speaking on behalf of PDES, human rights activist Aicha Duihi noted that sexual violence is one of the assaults that affect women during armed conflicts, and that this violence is often used as a weapon of war to implement political agendas and impose power on the ground.

Civilian women account for the lion’s share of victims of armed combat operations, said the NGO which has consultative status with the Economic and Social Council. Some of these women engage in armed action as combatants, whether voluntarily or under pressure, it added.

Women suffer from being the weakest link in social peace, a reality that weighs heavily upon them in conflict zones and exacerbates pre-existing inequality and gender-based discrimination.

Conflict can lead to the acceptance of higher levels of violence against women and girls, including indiscriminate killing, torture, sexual violence, and forced marriage, warned the NGO, which pointed at the fact that women and girls are increasingly targeted by sexual violence, as a warfare method.

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