BLOGS

African armed conflict and gender relations for women as mothers, wives of soldiers and soldiers

Interventions must account for the various realities of women and men in conflict and stabilization environments. This is better than relying on stereotypical perceptions of men and women’s roles. These men and women may concurrently play the roles of activists and parents, soldiers and victims.

In Africa, modern conflicts give women new opportunities and responsibilities both in domestic and public areas. While promoting gender equality, social relations between women and men will be redefined by building new spaces. Nonetheless, changes in gender roles tend not to be maintained after conflicts. In its place, pre-existing patriarchal gender roles re-emerge in post-conflict societies.

Consider the case of Mozambique. There are some constraints that restrict gender roles and relations from being transformed after conflicts. These include the failure of the state, relief programs and post-conflict processes to encourage creation of new gender roles.

In Liberia, it is important to understand the motives of the girls taking up arms and their reintegration needs. After 14 years of conflict, the country is on the complicated path of recovery. While the conflict in the country has wreaked havoc, misery and trauma, people are filled with hope, busy reconstructing a peaceful society. Victorious demobilization of combatants from various fighting parties, including those of the government, is instrumental in the achievement and sustenance of peace.

Throughout the genocide in Rwanda, widespread sexual violence directed mainly against Tutsi women took place in every prefecture. Women were held individually and in groups as sexual slaves and were raped to death using sharp sticks or other objects. Their dead bodies were often left naked, bloody and spread-eagled in public view. The hate propaganda before and during the genocide stimulated the sexual violence by harassing Tutsi women’s sexuality.

Forced displacement and gender-based violence are specific gendered impacts of armed conflict. These impacts of armed conflict are often misunderstood as cultural or private issues instead of looking at them as human rights violations.

For the most part, conservative, gender-blind representations of armed conflict and its consequences fail to see gender-specific disadvantage. During and after conflict, the international laws and conventions designed to defend the human rights of marginalized groups, mainly women, are limited in their application.

Regarding gendered violence across layers of social and political organization, there are connections between international security, intra-state conflict and domestic violence. Three issues need to be taken into consideration, which are the risks women take in resisting and organizing against violence, the implications of women‘s agency in sustaining situations of conflict and the public and private divide in the context of gendered violence.

Rigorous efforts must be made in this era of international justice to guarantee that the United Nations does not continue to short-change victims. We need to look at international justice through the eyes of rape victims. There is an urgent need to guarantee that international criminal courts neither fail to notice sexual violence crimes nor let a judicial process that marginalizes, dehumanizes or demeans rape victims.

Categories: BLOGS, Conviron's Corner

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