MPs in Mali are strengthening their efforts to tackle violence against women and children in conflict and post-conflict situations with support from IPU. Women and children have been the principal victims of atrocities after armed groups took control of the north of the country at the beginning of 2012. Nearly half a million people have been displaced as a result of the fighting which has led to women and girls as young as 13 turning to sex for survival, according to recent reports by NGOs. The conflict has seen unprecedented cases of rape, sexual slavery, under-age and forced marriages and children being forced into combat. Alarmed by both the increase and normalization of violence against women and children, the Malian parliament has asked IPU for guidance on how it can play a key role in conflict resolution, peace building and in ensuring effective implementation of international humanitarian laws and UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820 on Women, Peace and Security. A two-day workshop on 18-19 June in Bamako will also look at ways to involve women in the reconstruction and reconciliation process in the country.
(Source: Inter-Parliamentary Union)