UN labour, refugee agencies team up to mark International Women's Day
The United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have teamed up to focus attention, during an upcoming commemoration of International Women's Day in Geneva, on the "heavy price" paid by women in the conflicts.
The 8 March event, which will feature addresses by women who have experienced conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as in Afghanistan, aims to "underline both the enormous number of women and girls who have suffered in extremely harsh conditions but also their resilience in overcoming adversity," organizers said. ILO Director-General Juan Somavia and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers will also address participants.
Speakers will include 21-year old Zlata Filipovic, who began writing a diary in September 1991 chronicling life in Sarajevo as the city came under attack. A prisoner in her own home with no water, gas or electricity, she wrote about the friends and relatives she lost, and the struggle that her family endured in order to stay alive.
Also slated to address participants are Latifa Rohina Sadat and Chékéba Hachemi, both of Afghanistan. Following the takeover by the Taliban in 1996, Ms. Sadat was a prisoner in her own home, unable to attend school or even walk down the street, according to the ILO. She also wrote a book as a record of how her life had changed under the new regime. Ms. Hachemi, 27, has been involved since 1996 in humanitarian work in Afghanistan and is the founder and President of Afghanistan Libre, an organization dedicated to improving women's access to education in the country.