The following message was issued by the University of the Weest Indies’ Women and Development Unit in recognition of International Women’s Day, 2009.
Today, the Women and Development Unit joins hands with all women across the Caribbean and the world to reflect on the state, status, condition and circumstances of women across the globe who continue to experience the erosion of their rights and freedoms as human beings and as women.
As we reflect, we need to take a serious look at the world we live in. We need to be mindful of the harsh realities we face in a world of violence, hate, discrimination, immorality, collective sin and injustice. While there are glimmers of hope for a better life for all, such glimmers are overshadowed by the clouds of despair with which so many women have to contend.
As the world slips into chaos and disorder, let us remember, in particular, all those women and children who live in war zones, particularly all those women and girls who have to face, on a daily basis, the indecencies and indignities of war, women and girls who have been violated physically, sexually and psychologically, women and girls whose rights have been trampled on and whose lives have been destroyed by bullets, ballistics and battle.
Therefore, let us extend a hand of solidarity to all those women and girls whose human rights have been violated in armed conflict because the violation of the human rights of women and girls in situations of armed conflict goes against the grain of justice and equality, not just in international human rights and humanitarian law but also in every religious doctrine known to humankind: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
In the spirit of camaraderie, commitment and goodwill, let us today, as women, reach out and hold each others hands as we work towards making this world a better, safer and more secure place for women and girls and, for all people.
Women and Development Unit
The University of the West Indies