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Middle east

Women are trapped in 'silent emergency', Oxfam reports

Latest update : 2009-03-08

Iraqi women are trapped in a "silent emergency", British-based charity Oxfam has reported, in a bid to highlight what it termed the desperation of daily hardships women face after years of conflict in the country.

AFP - Women in Iraq are trapped in a "silent emergency", victims of poverty and insecurity, an aid agency said on Sunday, International Women's Day.
   
Oxfam released the report to highlight what it called the desperation of daily hardships women face after years of conflict and the 2003 US-led invasion.
   
"Iraqi women are suffering a ‘silent emergency’, trapped in a downward spiral of poverty, desperation and personal insecurity despite an overall decrease in violence in the country," Oxfam said.
   

The British-based group urged the Iraqi government to begin a "surge" of investment to revive social services.
   
"Women are the forgotten victims of Iraq," said Oxfam international executive director Jeremy Hobbs.
   
"Despite the billions of dollars poured into rebuilding Iraq and recent security gains, a quarter of the women interviewed still do not have daily access to water, a third cannot send their children to school and since the war started, over half have been the victim of violence."
   
More than three quarters of widows, many of whom lost their husbands in the fighting, receive no government pension which they are entitled to, he added.
   
Many are too poor to provide their families with clean water, electricity, food, an education and medical treatment.
   
The Iraqi women’s organisation the Al-Amal Association, which carried out the survey for Oxfam, found that despite recent security gains some 60 per cent of women said security was still their number one concern.
   
"A whole generation of Iraqis are at risk. Mothers are being forced to make tough choices, such as whether to pay for their children to go to school and receive healthcare, or to pay for private power and water.
   
"These are choices no mother should have to make, and they are not only threatening individual families. They are also threatening the future of Iraq itself," Hobbs said.
   
Some 1,700 women from diverse backgrounds, rural and urban areas, were questioned last year for the report "In Her Own Words: Iraqi women talk about their greatest concerns and challenges".
   
Oxfam withdrew staff from Iraq in 2004 as violence escalated and today supports agencies still operating in the country.
   
 

Date created : 2009-03-08

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