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War in Ukraine: protecting women and girls

Statement by Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić ahead of International Women’s Day 8 March
SECRETARY GENERAL STRASBOURG 7 MARCH 2022
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War in Ukraine: protecting women and girls

“As we continue to witness the horrors of war in Ukraine, I urge an agreement on viable humanitarian corridors which are essential to allow the safe passage of thousands of displaced persons fleeing death and destruction - most of them women and children.

With more than 1.7 million refugees so far crossing into neighbouring countries, I commend the heartfelt solidarity of our member states, including notably Poland, as they provide refugees with adequate care.

We face the sombre fact that war is always associated with distinct forms of violence against women and girls. As they try to escape conflicts, women and girls become even more vulnerable, threatened by violence, sexual assault, and rape. Women and girls fleeing the conflict require specific support and protection.

The Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) complements the 1951 Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees and requires its 35 states parties to develop gender-sensitive reception procedures and support services for asylum seekers. The ratification process of the Istanbul Convention should continue without delay.

The Council of Europe stands in full solidarity with Ukrainian people who are confronted with continuing bloodshed and suffering of innocent civilians, including women and children. I once again call on the Russian Federation to stop its aggression and return to the path of diplomacy.”


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