Rising violence against women in Mali
20 June 2014, 18:19
New York - Violence against women has become one of the most pressing issues in Mali, where despite recent gains in stabilisation, the political and humanitarian situation remains fragile, John Ging, director of UN humanitarian operations, said on Thursday.
Ging said women face physical and sexual violence in Mali, where fighting erupted again briefly late May, leading the government and separatist rebels to sign a ceasefire agreement committing to continue peace talks.
"Violence against women is a big issue and it's an appalling issue and it's an issue that we really have to mobilise much more effective action to address," Ging said.
"These women have the right to be protected." Ging said that 6 000 cases of violence against women were reported in 2013, including 300 rapes in one region alone.
The humanitarian operations chief said that the country is in dire need of humanitarian assistance including food aid, however, he noted that the country's situation can be stabilised if political issues were to be addressed by "courageous leadership".
"The tragedy of this country is that it is caught up in this situation, which is man-made," Ging said. "The good news is that it is a country that has the potential to sustain itself if it can address successfully the issues that are underpinning the violence."
Ging's assessment of the situation in Mali came one day after the UN peacekeeping mission to the country announced it would be deploying unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance purposes.