Executive director of the U.N. Population Fund, Babatunde Osotemehin, has emphasized the particular vulnerability of women during conflict, while discussing that the Syrian civil war has led to an increase not only in rape and abortion cases among women, but also in forced marriages of young girls by their families. In addition, the health care facilities for pregnant women in Syria are so inadequate that women are choosing to either have cesarean section deliveries (around 50 percent of births) or to not opt for any medical aid. To address these pressing women’s issues, the U.N. fund aims to increase the contribution of the donor nations in ensuring women welfare and security.
Besides the U.N., non-profit organizations such as MADRE, a women’s rights organization, have stepped in to provide basic healthcare and schooling to Syrian women. The executive director of MADRE, Yifat Suskind, said that despite the atrocities, Syrian women are not just victims, but are also actively seeking to mobilize solutions.
“This war and growing refugee crisis have triggered a cascade of deadly threats against Syrian women and girls, from displacement and starvation to widespread rape and forced marriage,” Susskind said.
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