By Atiyeh Ghoshoni

Violation of women's rights and claims of human rights: Yemeni and Gazan women suffer from war

December 14, 2018

TEHRAN - From antiquity to the present, women have always faced various types of violence. According to a report from the World Health Organization one in three women experience violence, most likely from their intimate partner.

Violence against women (VAW) places great burden on families and communities. This type of violence is one of the most widespread human rights abuses in today’s world, with all of the developed and developing countries facing this issue. Accordingly, in a resolution adopted on December 17, 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. UN called on governments, international organizations and NGOs to design and organize activities to raise awareness of this dangerous phenomenon.

From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, marks Activism against Gender-Based Violence. The 16 day campaign is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women around the world. 

Unfortunately, sexual violence in wartimes is more noticeable. In the course of conflicts, women and children are among the first victims. In wars that have already occurred since the early 20th century, women have been among the most vulnerable in society and have suffered the most.
For example, in the eight-year imposed war of the Saddam regime against the Islamic Republic of Iran, many women and innocent children were captured and brutally tortured and abused.

In the war of Serbia and Bosnia, thousands of women were either killed or suffered serious sexual, physical and mental abuse. In the Gaza Strip, which is often called one of the most densely populated areas on earth, the Zionist regime has carried out three cowardly wars during the last decade, with the highest number of deaths of women and children. Additionally, Israel's 33-day war on Lebanon had the highest violent crimes against women.

The era of ISIS in Iraq was the most dehumanizing and humiliating era for women in the present time when women were brutally tortured and abused by the ISIS terrorist group. Now, Yemeni women must also bear the burden of losing their children and families every day.

According to the United Nations, the term “violence against women” means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life. Using offensive and humiliating words is the use of threatening phrases, screaming, beatings, coercion for sexual and emotional abuse and sexual assault, including violent acts against women.

While governments carry out actions that criminalize violence against women and punish those who commit violence against them, they also ensure that women are in a position to inspect, prosecute and access effective solutions and reparations.  Nonetheless, women are often faced with violence and multiple barriers to have access to justice.

Obstacles may include institutional barriers to the judicial system, such as the lack of experience of legal professionals, lack of coordination and cooperation among relevant institutions, as well as indifference or lack of resources. Access to justice may be more complicated in countries where parallel legal systems or traditional disparities exist.

Factors, such as harmful traditional practices, customs, and anti-cultural norms, gender stereotypes, and political, economic and social inequalities, are among those that can easily violate women's rights.

“The violence against women is both the cause and effect of inequality and gender discrimination,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of the UN Women, in a press statement released on the UN website. “The continued violence against women is one of the clearest signs of the lack of balance in various societies, and we are determined to change the situation,” he said in a statement.

The UN Women's Affairs Directorate has warned that, despite the efforts made, violence against women and girls is taking place in all countries of the world. He believes that in order to prevent violence and end it, the first step is to familiarize women with the dimensions of violence and its forms, and only after the women's awareness and realization of reality, there would be hope to change the situation.

Despite the efforts made, violence against women and girls is ongoing and it can have negative effects on their physical, psychological, sexual and reproductive health and affect their lives in different ways.

Indeed, violence against women contravenes the principles of equality of rights and respect for human dignity. Given that violence begets violence, women should not be exposed to violence because of their gender.  In order for women to live in a safe and peaceful environment, the existence of mandatory and effective laws and the familiarization of women with the dimensions of violence and its forms is a necessity in today's world. The support of state and international institutions for women's rights is essential to achieve this goal.

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