Protecting civilians in armed conflict
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Positive steps to protect women and girls during armed conflict

4th January 2011 | Burma-Myanmar - Child protection - Gender issues

At the invitation of Geneva Call, 23 representatives of eight Asian armed non-­State actors (NSAs) from Burma/Myanmar, India and the Philippines gathered in Geneva, Switzerland in December to discuss ways to improve the protection of women and girls during armed conflict.

The workshop resulted in NSAs themselves taking important steps towards improving the protection of civilians in conflict areas, and laid strong foundations for future collaboration between these NSAs and Geneva Call on the issue of gender-­‐based violence in armed conflict. This pilot meeting is the first time that representatives of NSAs have come together specifically to discuss conflict-­‐related sexual violence, with a significant level of engagement and participation by each representative.

The 9 women and 14 men participating, conducted a structured review of their respective organizations’ internal policies and practices regarding gender-­based violence in armed conflict. They agreed upon a working definition of gender-based violence in armed conflict and committed to work to improve and/or amend the policies of their organizations to ensure that they fully comply with relevant international standards on the issue. They each developed action plans for consideration by their organizations and committed to work towards their implementation with the support of Geneva Call and other partners.

Geneva Call would like to thank its main contributor for this activity, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, as well as the Canton of Geneva and the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland (DP IV) for their invaluable support. We also would like to thank the participants and their organizations for their confidence and willingness to work together with Geneva Call to extend the level of protection afforded to women and girls in armed conflict.