Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Executive Director Noeleen Heyzer has deplored the violence directed at women living in conflict areas, appealing to the concerned states to take measures to protect them.
"During the International Women's Day, just like on any other day, hundreds of women will jump on landmines, thousands of them will be raped in the war-torn countries, while hundreds of thousands others will still be living in refugee camps or displaced due to the shelling of their villages and cities," Heyzer said in a message issued on the eve of Saturday's International Women's Day.
The UNIFEM boss recalled the international community's commitment to stepping up women's protection as illustrated by the adoption of the UN Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDEF).
"The growing recognition of the threats and specific and lingering violations of women's rights and security has prompted the adoption of a formidable series of undertakings during the past few years.
The states must take concrete measures to protect and promote women's rights," she said.
Heyzer also regretted the exclusion of women from all peace- searching efforts.
"Nowadays, while the leaders of the world are discussing a possible war (against Iraq), hundreds of heroic women are tirelessly engaged in the search for alternatives to violence and mass destruction.
"And yet, seldom do women sit at the table where decisions to wage war are made or partake in peace negotiations," Heyzer stressed.
"Women of the whole world, who are bravely trying to make a difference, are in need of peace and security institutions to share their vision of security and human rights," the UNIFEM boss added.