Picture used for illustrative purposes Image Credit: Gulf News archives

What you need to know:

  • The reader discusses the effect war has on women, and how they suffer the most.
  • Another reader talks about the effects of smoking, and why non-smokers are also at risk.
  • The UAE is a home away from home for most, and highlights the milestones of the country.

It is known that we do not reside in a perfect world where everyone lives in peace and harmony. We reside in a world where people are surrounded by war in some parts. War is something that affects everyone and everything. It has a lasting impact on women.

When war rages in a nation, citizens are the worst affected. Amongst these citizens, women are the ones affected emotionally and physically. They are forced to withstand torture. Women are terrorised, pauperised, raped during war and in conflict zones. History is proof of this continued violence against women during armed conflict!

Let’s take the example of the Indian freedom struggle for instance. It was a civil regional crisis that turned into an armed conflict. It is estimated that between 7,500 to 100,000 women were kidnapped and raped. Why? Because women were used as bait. To get the attention of the opposition, women are used as pawns as they are the pride and honour of a community. Another example of this is during World War I and II, Adolf Hitler treated women very badly. When Germany occupied Poland, children were snatched away from mothers and examined by race experts. If they passed certain tests, they would be treated to a good home or else they were taken to an orphanage.

Even in war, there are certain rules to be followed by each and every person. This is not only a violation of these rules but also of basic human rights. Violation of rights of women and crimes against them has been increasing day by day. The on-going Syrian civil war is a live example of the crimes experienced by women. It is reported that outside of Syria, in many refugee camps, 62 per cent of women are afraid to use communal toilets for the fear of sexual assault. Incidences of rape, domestic violence, and other forms of sexual and physical abuse have taken a high toll in Syria.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates that over 50,000 Syrian women refugees are expectant mothers and over 20,000 new babies have been born to refugees who require lifesaving healthcare facilities and services. Women are an integral part of our society and so it is vital to respect and honour them. Many countries go through war but this is not an opportunity to forget basic human rights. War is not a commemoration of animalism towards women.

- The reader is a pupil and resident of Dubai