“On this day, let us remember those women who are toiling under very difficult circumstances in conflict situations. Women are seldom the instigators of violence, but they suffer the most as victims of war and instability”, said Sisulu.
Women only constituted two percent of mediators, and eight percent of peace negotiators between 1990 and 2017, according to statistics furnished by the United Nations.
In Libya, despite the ongoing civil war, the Western-backed government has acknowledged women’s contributions to security, development and peace, according to a statement by the UN special representative.
“This commitment was recently exemplified by the appointment of two female lieutenant colonels at the ministry of interior to establish and lead the Women’s Affairs and Family and Child Protection Offices,” said Ghassam Salame, the UN representative for Libya, in a statement commemorating International Women’s Day.
He acknowledged, however, that refugee and migrant women travelling to or through Libya are frequently subjected to violence and mistreatment.
“Many end-up being subject to trafficking, forced labor, sexual violence and exploitation,” said Salame. “The UN continues to call for ending arbitrary detention, finding alternatives to it while paying special attention to needs of migrant women and girls,” he added.
In The Hague, home of the International Criminal Court, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda spoke about sexual and gender-based crimes that are traditionally underreported, but should be given proper attention.
“My office will continue to do everything it can, within its mandate and means, to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of grave crimes against women and children,” she said.