IWD 2024 – Honouring the Courage of Women and Children Died in Conflicts 

Dr Rodgers-Healey

This International Women’s Day, 8 March 2024, to honour the courage and remember the suffering of the thousands of women & children killed and terrorised in the Israeli-Hamas War, the war in Ukraine and Sudan, I will be pinning a piece of white cloth with a safety pin on the left side of the chest.

If you would like to join me, you can attach a small piece of any white cloth by whatever means that is easy such as a safety pin, removable fabric tape or running stitch.

White shrouds continue to be used to wrap the thousands of children & women killed in the Gaza strip.

“Women in Gaza have told us that they pray for peace, but that if peace does not come, they pray for a quick death, in their sleep, with their children in their arms”  said Sima Sami Bahous, Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality.

The Associated Press reported that in Gaza, the Health Ministry said the death toll had risen to 29,092 since the start of the war, around two-thirds (67%) of them women and children. UN Women added, “as a result of the more than 100-day conflict, at least 3,000 women may have become widows and heads of households and at least 10,000 children may have lost their fathers.”

In Israel, women were brutalised, killed and taken hostage during the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas. Around 1,200 people were killed and 253 Israelis and foreigners were kidnapped by Hamas on 7 October. Of those taken, 130 remain unaccounted for. On 13 February, 2024, Israel said at least 29 of them are dead. UN reported on 22 November 2023, that 35 Israeli children have been killed and more than 30 held hostage since 7 October 2023.

In Ukraine, according to the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission (HRMMU), 579 children and 2,992 women, have been killed, since the beginning of that war in early 2022.

In Sudan close to 25 million people need humanitarian assistance, including around 5 million people on the brink of famine and nearly 7 million children who are severely undernourished.

World Leaders must do everything in their power for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and ensure unrestricted humanitarian assistance for Palestinians; for Hamas to release all hostages; and stop the unprecedented catastrophic humanitarian deterioration in Ukraine and Sudan. All member states of the UN must uphold their commitment to international humanitarian law; seek accountability and justice and respect the equal value of every human life.

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