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Communique: Stop Rape In Somali Famine Zone: International Community Must Act Now!

"The Global Call to Action Against Poverty and the Feminist Task Force of GCAP express their outrage and condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence being perpetrated against innocent Somali women and girls who are trying to escape famine and an outbreak of cholera and other diseases.

Somali's female refugees are undertaking heartbreaking journeys to leave behind an untenable existence at home, but then find themselves subjected to terror, rape and sexual harassment at the hands of marauding gangs and criminals. Male family members are also being terrorized; some have been even forced at gunpoint to rape their sisters and brothers' wives.

The Feminist Task Force and the Global Call to Action Against Poverty strongly urge domestic and international actors to take three actions as soon as possible:

Contribute to the United Nations emergency appeal. The UN is calling for $2.4 billion to address the famine and the outbreak of cholera and other diseases, but so far only $1.1 billion in pledges have been received. Governments from the Gulf Region and elsewhere in Africa must participate in this international effort.[1]
The Kenyan government and SomaliTransitional Federal Government (TFG) forces need to urgently address security in refugee camps, at border crossings and nearby areas, where women and their families are subjected to subhuman conditions and are at greatest risk of attack. The international community must support these efforts.
Refugee camps must provide services to the survivors of sexual violence and effective camp management to minimize the risks facing women and girls, as suggested by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallström[2].

According to the New York Times, “The worst famine in sixty years is devastating the Horn of Africa, particularly in Somalia where it is the most acute with UN estimates of 3.9 million people at risk of starvation in Somalia and as many as 12 million throughout the region. Some 29,000 Somali children are believed to have died in the last 90 days alone. The casualties will only grow without an urgent and generous international response.”

“Gendercide,” the killing of innocent women and girls, and violence against women has become the greatest challenge for humanity in the 21st century. Not only in Somalia and Africa, but in every corner of the world, in private homes and central plazas, in fields and the country-side, under the so-called protection of security forces and humanitarian care, women are being beaten, raped, harassed, tortured and denigrated by sub-human treatment. The situation is exacerbated by increased poverty and extreme famine, as is the case in Somalia. It is also perpetrated by moral and financial corruption on the part of government officials and institutions. Action by civil society is necessary to pressure governments, raise awareness and shine a spotlight on severe cases of violence against women..."

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