By Avanija Katiyar:
The issue of human rights in itself is a very sensitive issue all over the world. There have been a lot of confrontations between the state on one hand and the masses and the human rights activists on the other. But, what the world often forgets is that it is the women who bear the brunt in any sort of a situation – whether it is a conflict or something else. The image of women as non-human entities by the society has been so common that the male masses view women only as mere ”sex objects”.
It has been observed that women are always likely to be the major targets in any kind of a conflict situation, both in India as well as abroad. We all know how women were victimized in Gujarat during the Gujarat Riots of 2002. Historically speaking, we see the victimization of women during the post-partition riots. It must be noted that the perpetrators of these crimes have never been held accountable for their actions. On the other hand, internationally speaking, the rapes during the Sabra-Shatilla Massacre, 1982; the mass rapes during the Bosnian genocide, 1995, and the still ongoing rapes in Congo are worth citing.
The disturbing trend which has been noticed is that these cases are simply highlighted for a time being to make good human-interest stories in the mass media. A few odd movies are made addressing the issue. The films turn out be successful. After a due course of time however, the issues are brushed under the carpet. What is even frightening is the fact that the International Court of Justice, based in The Hague has a clause which says that it will not be able to pursue cases related to people holding government posts. The direct beneficiaries of this clause have been Ariel Sharon, the former defense minister of Israel who went on to become the prime minister. Cases against him and his Christian ally (who too was holding a government post in Lebanon) were not taken into account; even as Robert Fisk reported seeing dead women with their skirts torn up to their waists and their legs wide open during the Sabra-Shatilla Massacre.
Rape is increasingly being used as a weapon of war. The international bodies such as the United Nations have failed to address this issue. No concrete international law is in place which seeks to eliminate this evil. It is quite ironic to hear of cases wherein even UN Peacekeepers have been charged with rape and molesting women in the conflict-zones. If this is the way the UN deals, where is the international community headed? Do let us know in the comments section below.
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