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Women's Bodies as Battlefield | Ethiopia
By Cinzia Canneri
Published April 2023
The targeting of women’s bodies in times of war, but also in times of peace, has come to light as a systematic strategy that has been used by different actors in many different contexts worldwide. This project has analyzed the condition of Eritrean and Tigrinya women who moved across the borders of three countries geopolitically linked to one another: Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Sudan. From 2017 to 2019, the work has documented Eritrean women fleeing from one of the most repressive regimes in the world and seeking refuge in Ethiopia. From November 2020, following the invasion of Tigray (Ethiopia) by the Ethiopian Federal Army supported by the Eritrean military forces and Amhara militia, the project’s focus has broadened to include also the Tigrinya women, who joined Eritrean women in their escape from Ethiopia to Sudan. In Tigray, the Eritrean army used sexual violence as a weapon of war against both Eritrean and Tigrinya women: to punish those fleeing their country in the former case, and as an act of extermination in the latter. The bodies of women became a battlefield on which there are no sides.
Italian photojournalist Cinzia Canneri has a Masters in Photojournalism from WSP in Rome, a degree in Psychology and extensive experience working in a mental health department. Specializing in stories about the human condition, social change, gender and immigration issues, she has worked extensively in the Horn of Africa. Published in various international magazines such as The New York Times, her work has won two awards.