War still causes women needless suffering

News and Press Release
Originally published
Geneva, 6 March 2003 (ICRC) - Women are caught up in armed conflict with increasing regularity. They continue to bear the consequences of war, even where this suffering could be avoided. On the occasion of International Women's Day, 8 March, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is highlighting the plight of women facing war.
Around the world, the ICRC is dealing with the complex challenges posed where those waging war fail to distinguish between combatant and civilian. All too often, female civilians taking no part in hostilities become the deliberate targets of war, or find themselves in danger simply because they happen to be where the fighting is. And this despite the protection they are entitled to under international humanitarian law.

In its Women and War special report issued today, the ICRC once again reminds the world of the need to apply the protection to which women are entitled under international humanitarian law. The report calls for greater respect for women in wartime and presents some of the ICRC's most recent initiatives in this area.

Last autumn, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah launched the Arabic version of the Women facing War study in Jordan. Earlier this week, the ICRC launched the Russian version of its study in Moscow, bringing its conclusions to a new audience and emphasizing the ICRC's determination to continue working for women facing war.

Access to areas of conflict remains vital. The ICRC and other international organizations can only help women and other civilians caught up in armed conflict if they can reach or be reached by them.

The text of the Women and War special report (March 2003) and the Women and War study (2001) are available on

For further information or to set up interviews, please contact:

Annick Bouvier, media relations officer for the Women and War project, tel.: ++41 22 730 2458 or ++41 79 217 3224.