News Column

Emirati women to raise voice against sexual violence in conflicts

June 11, 2014

Binsal Abdul Kader Staff Reporter

Abu Dhabi: Emirati women will join global efforts to end sexual violence in conflicts as part of a three-day summit in London that ends on Thursday.

Two Emirati women will join other young activists in a tweet-up organised by the British Embassy in Dubai to raise awareness on the issue in the UAE digital community, senior British officials said here on Wednesday.

Lubna Qassim, a legal professional working in the banking sector, and Muna Al Gurg, Retail Director at Al Gurg Group and Chairperson of Young Arab Leaders in the UAE, will join Bridgitte Mountain, Director of Transforming Lives Consulting in Dubai, in the debate hosted by Edward Hobart, the British Consul-General in Dubai.

They will join the tweet-up from the British Embassy in Dubaibetween 10.30am and 11.30am on Thursday. The public can observe the debate by following UKinUAE#TimetoAct.

"We want the participation of all Arab-Muslim nations in the global campaign to end the sexual violence in conflicts," a senior British official said.

The UAE has taken a leadership role in these efforts and Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister, has been a champion of this cause, Alan Duncan, the UK Minister of State for International Development, told reporters at an event at the British Embassy in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

He expressed his happiness over the UAE's participation in the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in London being hosted by the UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague, and Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for refugees, Angelina Jolie. Over 148 nations are participating in the summit that may deliver a set of practical agreements to bring together all those working to end sexual violence in conflicts.

"Rape as a weapon of war ruins the lives of women and men, boys and girls and destroys whole communities. We need to ensure the spotlight of the world falls on the issue and brings public pressure to bear on governments and the international community that now is the time to act to end these crimes," Duncan said.

"Talk is not enough. It is time to act," he added.

Paul Fox, Charge d' Affairs at the British Embassy in Abu Dhabi, who hosted the event at the embassy to highlight the importance of the summit, said it did not mean to raise awareness but translate the desire to end the sexual violence into action.

The British Embassies in the UAE are collaborating with a range of local institutions and individuals to shed light on this critical cause.

In Dubai, to support the campaign the Burj Al Arab, an iconic landmark, will illuminate its sail with the End Sexual Violence in Conflict hashtag #TimetoAct for the duration of the Summit.

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Source: Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)

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