I’m sitting here listening to speeches on a panel in ending impunity in war with increasing sense of ridiculousness. Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, has just said that he didn’t realise the severity or extent of the problem of sexual violence in conflict until William Hague told him. Now, I don’t know anything about Maurer’s professional qualifications but I’m struggling to believe that anyone working for to he ICRC, particularly in a senior management, could have needed Hague’s help in working this is. Maurer is either extremely thick or suffering from severe cognitive dissonance because if any NGO should understand the severity it’s the ICRC.
The financial cost of sexual violence in conflicts must make up a significant part of the ICRC’s budget in dealing with civilians who have no access to healthcare during conflicts and the quite serious injuries to women’s bodies because of sexual violence including fistula, STD and pregnancy.
If Maurer actually needed Hague’s help, well, it doesn’t speak highly of Maurer (and by default the ICRC) understandings of t he specific needs of women in conflict zones.