Sunday, September 17, 2006

Forced departures

Source: The Hindu


EARLIER this week, on the fifth anniversary of 9/11 and the terror attack on the World Trade Centre in New York, the world's media focused on the event and its impact on the lives of people and on the rest of the world. But terror, perhaps of a different kind, is a constant in the lives of millions of women — a daily reality that is rarely reported or even acknowledged.

The State of the World's Population 2006, the annual assessment of population-related issues prepared by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has focused this time on women and international migration. The report would have contributed to the High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development that was held at the United Nations headquarters in New York on September 14 and 15.

A variety of reasons

When women are compelled to leave their homes and their countries, for one reason or another, they lay themselves open to new and old forms of violence and exploitation. Women move from village to town, from one country to another for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they join a husband who has gone ahead to look for better prospects; sometimes they go on their own to earn more; sometimes they are forced to move because of war, famine, poverty or political persecution. Whatever the compulsion, the choice is not an easy one. The move is often dictated by circumstances that are beyond the woman's control. Today, half of all international migrants are women.

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