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Unheard Unseen: Marginalised women in fragile and conflict-affected states

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A Global Agenda for Action for 2020 and Beyond

New Report Calls for Urgent and Targeted Action for Marginalized Women in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States

New York - Released on what would have been the 1st day of the 64th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York, Women for Women International’s new report, Unheard. Unseen. highlights the shortcoming of the international community’s response to the needs and priorities of marginalized women in fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS).

One of the critical areas the report identifies as urgently needing prioritization and action is the systemic lack of participation and contribution of marginalized women and their local women’s organizations to processes that affect them, including in international decision-making spaces such as CSW.

Before CSW was cancelled, there were reports that once again visas were being denied for women to attend CSW – including one of our own team members from Nigeria – and that refusals to grant visas were on the increase. The decision to cancel all NGO CSW 64 Forum events, but to go ahead with a one day meeting with New York delegates only, without any global representation from women – and ignoring the call from civil society to postpone the event to ensure meaningful participation of women’s organizations and advocates - is a prime example of their lack of consideration as meaningful stakeholders.

Laurie Adams, the CEO of Women for Women International said: “Whilst we of course understand and support the decision not to go ahead with the planned CSW as a result of public health concerns and the need to protect people’s health and well-being, the decision to have a UN and Member States only session goes against the principles of what 2020 stands for, and goes against world leaders’ grand commitments on women’s meaningful participation. Our report calls for urgent actions to ensure women’s organizations and women advocates meaningfully participate in global policy processes. This must start in 2020.” The report emphasizes other critical areas for urgent action to turn commitments into realities for marginalised women in FCAS, including addressing their specific needs across the humanitarian, development and peacebuilding sectors; increased funding and focus on tackling all forms of violence against women, and greater investment in women’s economic power.

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Notes to Editors

  • Globally, 264 million women live in the 36 countries classified as fragile and conflict-affected by the World Bank.1 These women are disproportionately represented amongst the poorest and most marginalised populations,2 and most are differentially affected and impacted by conflict and fragility.

  • There were over 50 cases of visas being denied in 2018 and 2019. Source: https://www.ishr.ch/news/csw62-cases-us-visa-denials-must-be-addressed - The report is available to download at here.

About Women for Women International

When there is an outbreak of war or violence, women suffer most – they experience trauma, sexual violence and the death of loved ones. After the conflict is over, the world’s attention moves on, but women are left to rebuild their families and communities.

Women for Women International supports women who live in some of the world’s most dangerous places. Women enrol on the charity’s year-long training programme, where they learn how to earn and save money, improve their family’s health and make their voices heard at home and in their community.

Since 1993, the charity has helped over half a million marginalised women survivors of war in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Kosovo, Nigeria,
Rwanda and South Sudan.

With over fifty brutal armed conflicts across the globe, there’s never been a greater need to support women survivors of war. With your help, women can graduate from the Women for Women International programme with the skills, knowledge and resources to become successful entrepreneurs. They will pass on their knowledge to their neighbours and children, creating a ripple effect.