WHAT: As the Foreign Secretary and Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, prepare to co-chair the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict at ExCel London, ActionAid can offer interviews with women from DRC, Burundi, Somaliland, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Kenya.
WHEN: Tuesday 10 June to Friday 13 June
WHO: Women who work with survivors of sexual violence in Somaliland, DRC, Burundi, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and Kenya
WHERE: The Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict at the ExCel in London
B-roll footage, pictures and interviews with survivors of sexual violence in conflict also available.
Olivia Omwenge — Democratic Republic of Congo
Olivia was at boarding school when the civil war broke out. She narrowly escaped being abducted by militia and walked for 21 days to a camp, where she survived for two weeks without food or fresh water. Fortunately, she was spotted by a relative who took her in. Determined to help other survivors of the violence, Olivia studied law and established an association that successfully fought for the land rights of minority groups who lost their land during the conflict. She now works with ActionAid fighting sexual violence against women in the eastern DRC and was actively involved in establishing the women’s movement in eastern DRC – Sauti ya Akina Mama Mkongomani.
Emime Ndihokubwayo — Burundi
Emime recalls hiding in bushes as a toddler during violent ethnic conflict in the 1970s, during which rape was used as a weapon of war. Her mother threatened to abandon her if she didn’t stop crying: “Better to lose one baby than get the whole family killed,” her mother said to quieten Emime down. Although Emime’s family survived, many of her neighbours didn’t. She has since dedicated her life to defending human rights. She has worked as a judge in Burundi, at the Ministry of Justice in Rwanda, as a legal consultant at the African Union Commission and at various regional and international NGOs. She now heads up ActionAid Burundi’s work as Country Director.
Zeinab M — Somaliland
Zeinab was forced to flee her home in Mogadishu during the Somali civil war in the 1990s when militia started looting homes and raping and killing innocent women. She now lives in Somaliland with her children and works at the Swedish-funded, Life and Peace Institute. In her role as a training coordinator, Zeinab strives to build the capacity of women to play active roles in the peace-making process. Zeinab is currently providing leadership on ActionAid’s work on women’s rights in Somaliland
Zynab Binta Senesie — Sierra Leone
Zynab grew up during Sierra Leone’s 11-year civil war, where she remembers sheltering in the bush to avoid being killed or raped. The atrocities she witnessed during the conflict fuelled her passion for women’s rights. She now works with ActionAid as a district coordinator in Moyamba, supporting women and girls who have experienced sexual violence and advocating for stronger sexual violence laws and action. Zynab led the first pilot project on Women Access to Justice in conflict implemented by ActionAid Sierra Leone.
Zahra Ibrahimi — Afghanistan
Zahra has spent the past decade advocating for women’s rights in Afghanistan. She has experience running a local advocacy organisation and has led a regional campaign for the elimination of violence against women in South Asian countries. She is also an advocate for the rights of people living with disabilities. Zahra now works with ActionAid Afghanistan in Herat province advocating for stronger government action at the district level on violence against women.
Ellyjoy Masila — Kenya
Ellyjoy is ActionAid Kenya’s technical advisor on women’s rights and has worked in the field as a programme expert and activist for more than ten years. She is currently supporting a Transitional Justice for Women research project in collaboration with Action Australia and the University of Sydney that seeks to explore the unresolved issues women survivors of violence face following conflict.
To arrange interviews from the ExCel Centre or on the phone or for more information contact:
Anjali Kwatra, ActionAid Press Office
T: +44 (0)203 122 0633 M +44 (0)7941 371357
Notes to editors:
· The Foreign Secretary, William Hague and Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, will co-chair the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict on 10 — 13 June 2014 at ExCel London.
· It will be the largest gathering ever brought together on this subject, with a view to creating irreversible momentum against sexual violence in conflict and practical action that impact those on the ground. There will be three days of free public events taking place in the Summit Fringe at ExCel London from the 10 — 13 June.