Women, Girls and War

Women and girls are underrepresented among combatants but overrepresented among the victims of armed conflict. According to the United Nations Development Fund for Women [UNIFEM], 70 percent of casualties in recent conflicts have been civilians, the majority of them women and children. With the breakdown of infrastructure in conflict zones, women’s struggles to provide food, water and care for their families and communities are exacerbated. Sexual exploitation, harassment and assault are common challenges for both women soldiers and civilians. Rape as a systemic weapon of armed conflict is now widely recognized as a war crime. The United Nations has passed numerous resolutions on women, peace and security (most notably UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which recognizes women’s multiple roles in war and peace) and, in 2008, passed Resolution 1820 calling for more stringent measures to combat sexual violence in armed conflict.

Some Think New Afghanistan Withdrawal Plans are Still Not Enough

By Juliana Stebbins*

President Obama announced on June 22, 2011 that in response to the United States’ significant progress in achieving projected goals in Afghanistan there will be an accelerated withdrawal of American soldiers who are deployed in the country. By the end of this year 10,000 troops will be welcomed back from Afghanistan and another 20,000 by the end of next summer. The remaining give or take 70,000 soldiers will return at a steady pace until 2014, the anticipated time in which security responsibilities will be transferred from U.S to Afghan authorities. 

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