GENDER BASED VIOLENCE
Since its inception, IAW has been working tirelessly to end gender-based violence in all its forms at national, regional, and international levels. Our Commission on Violence against Women is leading these efforts through advocacy campaigns, policy actions and programs to support vulnerable women and girls, especially in the context of national disasters or armed conflicts.
Over the years, we supported the struggles of the North American Indigenous women to fight the violence affecting them in their own communities and families. We promoted the WHO’s campaigns toward ending the barbaric practices of Female Genital Mutilation affecting hundreds of thousands of women and girls in Africa. We applauded the actions and public statements of our sisters from Cameroon aimed at eradicating gender-based violence in their community. We stood with the Iranian women and girls peacefully uprising against the violently imposed mandatory hijab and the killing of their sisters for incompliance with this draconian rule. We condemned the brutal sexual violence against Ukrainian women and girls by Putin’s military forces and stood with the victims and their families in demanding justice and the support of the international community.
Today, and every day since October 7th, we have unequivocally stood with the women and girls of Israel victimized by the horrific atrocities and gender-based violence perpetrated by Hamas. We stand with them in expressing our outrage about Hamas’ barbaric rapes and other crimes of gender-violence committed against innocent Israeli women and girls at their peaceful homes, at a community event celebrating peace or while captive as hostages. We condemn these grave crimes against humanity and call for an international outrage against the perpetrators as well as collaborative efforts to bring them to justice. Our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and the entire Israeli community for the horrific trauma and loss of lives. In light of the recently commemorated International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, we call on all feminist organizations and international bodies to join the condemnation of the gender-based violence perpetrated by Hamas and demand for justice to be given to the victims.
IAW and its Commission on Peace actively support the world-wide implementation of UN Security Resolution 1325, the subsequent United Nations Security resolutions for women, peace and security, and the United Nations efforts toward the implementation of the universal declaration recognizing the human right to peace. This implementation would further the strong commitment to build a culture of preventing war in the name of sustaining peace. It would help to protect the human rights defined in so many international treaties, but so often violated or completely lost in conflict.
With these principles in mind, we stand with all the civilized world in expressing shock and condemnation of Hamas’s violent assault on peace by the October 7 terrorist attack on the sovereign territory of Israel, murdering, mutilating, torturing, raping, and kidnapping Jewish, Muslim, and Christian men, women, and children, both Israeli and foreign nationals and taking 238 hostages in Gaza. We are terrified by the stories of horror and abuse shared by the released hostages and stand with the international community in demanding the immediate release of all those who are still in captivity. We urge the Red Cross and World Health Organization to visit them and ensure vital medical attention. We also call for provision of medical aid to the civilians injured in Gaza and return of the hospitals in Gaza to full functionality by restoration of power and water.
We urge the international bodies and national governments in the region to sustain the diplomatic efforts to restore peace. While we condemn Hamas’ use of civilians as a human shield and support the right of the Israeli state to defend itself and its citizens, we strongly oppose the Israeli government’s military response that puts in grave danger civilian lives, leads to the killing of thousands of innocent civilians, women, children, and men, and threatens to spread the war over the entire Middle East. We appeal for a diplomatic solution that will bring peace to the region and make the long-sought two state solution possible. Our thoughts remain with the affected families, yearning for security and peace. Every person has the right to safety and freedom as expressed in seminal United Nations documents.