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  1. 1

    Breaking the silence -- rape as an international crime.

    Ellis M

    [Unpublished] 2004. Presented at the Conference on Gender Justice in Post-Conflict Situations, "Peace Needs Women and Women Need Justice”. Co-organized by the United Nations Development Fund for Women [UNIFEM] and the International Legal Assistance Consortium. New York, New York, September 15-17, 2004. 5 p.

    In 1999, I stood among a sea of 20,000 desperate people on a dirt airfield outside Skopje, Macedonia, listening to one harrowing story after another. I had come to the Stenkovec refugee camp to record those stories and to help set up a system for documenting atrocities in Kosovo. The refugees with whom I spoke described being robbed, beaten, herded together and forced to flee their villages with nothing but the clothes they were wearing. Yet, what I remember most vividly are the lost expressions on the faces of the young women and girls in the camp. At first, they did not speak a word. Their silence acted as a veil, concealing crimes that they could not emotionally recollect. However, slowly, through time and comfort in speaking to female counsellors, their stories emerged. The brutality and systematic consistency of the sexual violence perpetrated on these women were mind-numbing. The widespread practice of rape against Muslim women was more than a consequence of war, it was an instrument of war with the intent of destroying the cultural fabric of a targeted group. This experience brought home to me a truism in international and national conflict: women suffer disproportionately to the atrocities committed against civilians. (excerpt)
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  2. 2

    Where are the women? Gender discrimination in refugee policies and practices.

    Valji N; De La Hunt LA; Moffett H

    Agenda. 2003; (55):61-72.

    Refugee demographics worldwide show that approximately 80 percent of an estimated 27 million refugees and displaced persons today are women or children. Yet this percentage stands in stark contrast to statistics that reveal that in 1998, for example, only 17.8 percent of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)-assisted refugees in South Africa were female. Also, according to the ‘Gender Policy Statement’, recently released by the Department of Justice, it is estimated that women constitute only five percent of those who have been formally granted refugee status in South Africa. This troubling disparity is not restricted to South Africa only. Although it is known that the majority of refugees are women, as a general rule, refugee women have not been afforded anything like the protection offered refugee men in refugee-receiving countries throughout the globe, particularly in the developed world. Until the last decade, refugees were considered male almost by default; refugee women and children were recognised only as part of a ‘family package’. Gender considerations - including the realisation that women might be at especial risk - are relatively new. (excerpt)
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