On International Women’s Day 2021 the TFV calls for renewed commitment to the most vulnerable women and girls
On the occasion of International Women's Day 2021, the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) at the International Criminal Court (ICC) highlights the negative impact of COVID-19 on gender equality, which research shows has disproportionality affected women and girls, particularly in conflict and post-conflict societies. The TFV calls for renewed commitment to understand, and to better alleviate the specific harm and suffering of female victims of Rome Statute crimes, and to promote female leadership amongst its implementing partners and in the communities where it works.
The theme for International Women's Day 2021 is " Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world," and commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. This Day provides an opportunity for the TFV to once again voice its commitment to work for gender equity and inclusiveness, to work against gender bias and inequality, and to take targeted action to see it challenged.
The TFV sees in its programmes, that the pandemic is greatly affecting the position and well-being of women and girls. In countries where the TFV is active, fragile economies have been further destabilised, leading to the loss of income-generating activities and impacting women already living in precarious situations. Their access to medical services has been limited due to travel restrictions and the closure of medical facilities, rendering them more isolated and unable to access necessary psychological rehabilitation services. Despite mitigation strategies put in place by the TFV's implementing partners to ensure victim-survivors can still access the supports that exist, the reality is that the most vulnerable are again the worst impacted from this global pandemic.
Speaking on International Women's Day TFV Board Chair Mama Koite Doumbia said "The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how fragile any gains in gender equality are as women in countries in which the TFV is present have once again been plunged into perilous situations. The TFV knows the strength and resilience of women, however. In our programmes women's voices and opinions are integrated across the design and evaluation of our activities. Gender equality and mainstreaming are essential ingredients of all reparations and assistance activities, which is to the benefit of women but also their communities and to peacebuilding at large".
TFV Executive Director Pieter de Baan added "As one the seven core values that underpin and cut across all activities of the TFV (as outlined in the TFV Strategic Plan 2020-2021), gender equity and equality is key to the TFV's and mission. In 2021, the TFV is commissioning independent audits of the TFV Secretariat's performance in gender mainstreaming and conflict sensitivity in relation to the development and implementation of reparations and assistance programmes. These audits will assist the TFV to continue to develop appropriate institutional policies, reflecting gritty realities on the ground, as well as the exigencies of international reparative justice. "
Aside from ensuring a strong gender dimension in its activities in the field the TFV is also committed to pursuing gender balance and equity in staff positions at all levels in the Secretariat, as well as with its implementing partners.