The nature of war has changed. The targets are now civilians. Violence against civilians, especially women, has become a weapon, a tool of war. Eighty per cent of victims are civilians. Half a million women were raped in Rwanda.
On the news, we can see crushed houses and bridges. . . The breakdown of health and social services, and the war traumas, are more difficult to see.
We should respect culture, but not hide behind it. We must make a distinction between what is really religion and culture, and what are criminal acts.
Some of the perpetrators of rape in Bosnia were sentenced for twenty years. But the survivors told me that rape was for them a life sentence.
When the international community leaves a country, we need clear exit strategies that provide jobs and services for the population. We all encourage microcredit and for women to be in small business. Is macrocredit only for men? Women need bigger credit because they are the ones paying back their loans.
We need to break the myth that women's issues should be tackled after the real problems are solved. Issues of gender and equality need to be addressed at the onset, not after other problems are addressed.
When women take seats in government they must also be in positions where they will be taken seriously, where they can control budget, defense and foreign affairs. In today's world power equals credibility.