Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-06-01-Speech-4-052"

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"Mr President, firstly I would like to thank Mrs De Keyser for her excellent cooperation. The report drafted by Mrs De Keyser on the role of women in armed conflicts goes beyond the prevailing public opinion stereotypes. It is a fact that in armed conflicts, the majority of women are passive sufferers and often victims. They are more vulnerable; they are those who save the children, as well as those who often become victims of violence. However, the situation is changing rapidly and substantially, because women today are part of the armed forces and are present in the peacekeeping forces; they are also present on the side of those who commit violence, as stated in the report. The rapporteur can clearly see that women are no better and no worse than men, and they do not necessarily take a greater part in creating peace and democracy than men. Obviously, they usually have fewer opportunities to do this. A definite positive point of the report is that it avoids the simplification that comes to mind straight away, because it is indisputable that due to their biological characteristics, women view the value of life differently. The report is trying to find out, bearing in mind European values, what women could do to prevent conflict and restore peace. It does not only call attention to the fact that the role of women has changed, but also to the fact that – and I would like to place special emphasis on this – mass rape has become an instrument of war, and I can only support the proposal that mass rape should be treated as a war crime and punished efficiently. This may help reduce this horrendously inhuman and humiliating type of violence, the seriousness of which can only be compared to genocide. Experience has shown that when armed conflicts are over, the high level of violence persists, directed against the weak, women, children and elderly. Therefore, we cannot underestimate the need for women to be present in larger numbers in peacemaking, diplomacy and the police force, to ensure that victims are given appropriate attention and help, and perhaps, ultimately, to reduce the number of victims. Once more, I thank the rapporteur for this extremely good report."@en1

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