Involvement of Women, Humanitarian Aid Important for Iraq

A United Nations expert on women and peace last week called for women to be involved in peace-building and decision-making processes. “It is urgent to see to gender-balanced governments and to bring gender perspective[s] to peace issues,” said Ingeborg Breines, director of the Islamabad office of the UN’s Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), according to the Korea Herald. As the Iraq war comes to an end and the focus turns to reconstruction of the country, at issue will be the inclusion of women in the peace process and the new Iraqi government.

Along with reconstruction, Iraq is facing a humanitarian crisis. The World Health Organization (WHO) sent out an urgent appeal recently requesting $325 million for emergency health care in Iraq. This was part of the United Nations’ appeal for $2.1 billion in humanitarian aid over the next six months alone.

With the focus on the crisis in Iraq, World Bank officials assured attendees at the annual World Bank/International Monetary Fund meetings that the reconstruction of Iraq “will not prevent their aid to other poor and needy countries,” according to the Washington Post. These assurances came as leaders of African countries attending the meetings last weekend expressed their worries that their countries may lose funds if donor countries lose interest in their issues especially the ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis. Stephen H. Lewis, UN special representative for HIV and AIDS in Africa, told the Boston Globe, “People struggling with the HIV virus could become collateral damage from the war. As people’s attention goes, you start all over again, you lose momentum.”

LEARN MORE Click here to read women’s narratives about barriers or successes in accessing reproductive health and family planning services.


Washington Post 4/14/03; WHO 3/29/03; Boston Globe 4/15/03; Arab Regional Resource Center on Violence Against Women

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