In the News

Breaking the Silence on Rape as a Weapon of War

18 March 2011
Author: UNFPA
UN Secretary -General Ban Ki-moon and UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin,at a press conference to mark the day that the world's population is projected to reach 7 billion. Photo: UN Photo/Mark Garten

She does not have a first name, nor a face. “No photos, please. ” Seated in a small dark room, her psychologist at her side, the “woman of Tuzla” will be her name. She is surrounded by cigarettes and medicines. Hers is a voice that tells the story of a war that ravaged Bosnia and Herzegovina a little over a decade ago. In April 1992, she was 35 years old and worked as a hotel maid in the provinces while living peacefully with her mother near the town of Svornik, close to the Serbian border….She lights a cigarette…“Disguised in Serbian clothing I went to town to buy medicine for my mother. The soldiers recognized me and they took me to the other side of the Drina river. ” Laying on a wooden bedframe she was raped many times and imprisoned for many weeks.

Through a partnership between the Ministry of Human Rights and the United Nations Populations Fund, a project “trust fund” was submitted for approval to the Bosnia and Herzegovina Council of Ministers to “simplify the procedure for securing the legal status of “victim” and to offer real financial and social support to women in Bosnia and Herzegovina, ” says the Vice Minister for Human Rights.

Living with a sense of permanent “victimization” “Bosnian society no longer wants to be hostage of its past,” says Faris Hadrovic, UNFPA’s representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “ But until today, there has been little political will to address this issue.”

Read the full story from Elle Belgique (in French)

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Population : 3.3 mil
Fertility rate
1.2
Maternal Mortality Ratio
10
Contraceptives prevalence rate
37
Population aged 10-24
17.1%

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