This 126 edition of PeaceWomen ENews features women, peace and security news, events and resources from peacewomen.org. The last PeaceWomen ENews focused on situation in Pakistan.
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With the aim of challenging the status-quo, ending conflict, and improving women's lives, women's rights activists and civil society struggled to embed SCR 1325 - and the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda - with the principles of conflict prevention, empowerment and protection; this integration was not by coincidence, but because of great efforts and for specific reasons. Today, we continue this struggle because the combination of agency and protection of rights contributes to the power and the potential of the WPS agenda. We cannot deny the unique aspects of each area of the agenda, nor can we deny their connections. Therefore, it is imperative that we continue to move forward with an inclusive, women's-centered approach. Similarly, we cannot deny the particulars of each local context, nor can we deny the inter-connectivity of our global world. As women's rights activists, we must keep our eyes on the bigger goal of progressing toward a collective improvement of women's lives and sustainable peace.
The synergy between protection and agency, and the connection between the local and global were never as clear to me as when I attended a conference last week hosted by the Center for Women's Global Leadership at Rutgers University. While a group of women's rights activists from various regions were discussing strategies on challenging militarism and violence against women, one of the participants received news of brutal attacks against her friends and colleagues during peaceful protests in Bagdad, Iraq. The protesters in Tahrir Square, Bagdad, were attacked, sexually assaulted and beaten. Indeed we are reminded that this is the reality for many women struggling for freedom in the Middle East/North Africa, and for women around the world in their respective countries, communities and even in their homes. As the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) has done in the past months and throughout our history, we once again joined to show solidarity and support in the struggle for reform. To read our statement and see the video, click here.
Last month, I also had the privilege of attending and participating in the Nobel Women's Initiative Conference on Women Forging a New Security: Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict held in Canada. At both conferences, I shared and discussed our work in PeaceWomen and WILPF with others working to challenge militarism, invest in peace, end sexual violence and promote social justice.
To read about the conferences or get involved, see:
- Women Forging a New Security: Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict. News also covers the Nobel Women's Laureate conference held in Montebello, Quebec.
- 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign (2011):From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World:Let's Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women!
Back in New York, on 7 June 2011, the Security Council also dealt with the subject of sexual violence – which emerged as the main cross-cutting theme during the recent Open Debate on the impact of HIV/AIDS on international peace and security. The Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1983 (2011), which contained language on and reference to sexual violence as a tactical weapon of war. Specifically, out of the 17 statements, 15 emphasized a link between sexual and gender based violence and the spread of HIV/AIDS. To read more, click here.
In Geneva, on June 10 2011, the Human Rights Council held its annual discussion on women's human rights. WILPF joined the World YWCA, and Femme Afrique Solidaritae in making a statement on Prevention Of Violence Against Women, including specific recommendations.
I want to share some current processes that have entry points for civil society input:
1. The United Nations plans to set out its own goals on women, peace and security for the next ten years. Civil Society consultants are underway to establish what you would like to see achieved by 2020 on women, peace and security issues? See more information and the online survey here.
2. The CEDAW Committee is drafting a General Recommendation on Women in situations of armed conflict and post conflict. Civil Society consultations will take place this summer in New York. All NGOs are invited to participate in the “Day of Discussion” to be held on July 18th and are invited to submit written statements. See details of deadlines, concept paper and background here
Featured news this month includes updates from the Middle East, various regions in Africa, South East Asia, and more. It includes also news on the arrest of Ratko Mladic, the Serbian General wanted for war crimes including the killing of over 8,000 men and boys around the town of Srebrenica during the Bosnian conflict after 16 years on the run. In addition, there is a noticeable trend in women's participation, including in politics, legal reform, and the women's rights movement, in Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Lebanon, Nepal and Uganda. News from Afghanistan and Pakistan focuses prominently on ensuring the gains women have made over the past decade are not eroded. We also see the rise of violence against women in various regions, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, El Salvador, Libya and Haiti.
This month's featured resources include a look at gender and security sector reform from the ground. The Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) publication gives concrete examples of ways in which gender perspectives can be integrated in various security sector institutions and processes around the world. Another fascinating resource includes a Human Rights Watch report on Rwanda's Gacaca Courts, and most relevant, a section on the courts and their effectiveness in prosecuting cases of rape and sexual violence. Please take a look at our Resource page for a wide range of publications and reports on women, peace and security.
During the Debate, Member States took the opportunity to express their views on the Council's controversial decision in SCR 1973 (2011) to authorize States to “take all necessary measures” to protect civilians in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including the recent NATO bombings. States acknowledged that “both conceptually and practically new ground has been broken” (Turkey) in the Council's treatment of the Protection of Civilians agenda. Statements reflected country-specific concerns about impeded access to humanitarian assistance, and violations of human rights and international law in conflicts on the Council's agenda: Afghanistan, Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Occupied Palestinian Territories/Gaza, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Somalia, and South Sudan; as well as during recent violence and unrest in: Bahrain, Burma, Colombia, Syria, and Yemen. The debate featured 51 statements including: 3 UN officials, the permanent and nonpermanent members of the Council, and 33 other delegations. Consistent with the previous Council debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, 33 of these statements, 65%, addressed the gender dimension of the protection of civilians and issues of women, peace and security. Most of these gender references were focused on protecting women from sexual violence in conflict, representing a narrowing trend of addressing women, peace and security within the Council. Attention was also given to the latest WPS resolution, SCR 1960 (2010), which includes a monitoring mechanism for sexual violence. For a full analysis on the Debate please see here.
The Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1983 (2011) building on the Council's first HIV/AIDS Resolution 1308, which was adopted in 2000. The Council highlighted the key role of peacekeeping troops in educating civilian populations about contracting HIV/AIDS and various means for prevention. Specifically, a number of Council members noted that peacekeeping troops must be trained to effectively respond to cases of sexual violence against women. Sexual exploitation and abuse of women in conflict is highly prevalent and continues to serve as a catalyst for the spreading of HIV/AIDS. The disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS on women was reiterated by the majority of speakers, as was emphasizing the significant role women have in the peace-building process and the need to eradicate sexual violence against women as a tactic of war. For a full analysis on the Debate please see here.
Under Security Council Monitor, we have created a new sub-section "About Women, Peace and Security agenda in the Security Council" to provide some further background information.
The Annual Session of UN Women's Executive Board will be held 27-30 June 2011.
The provisional agenda of the meeting (UNW/2011/L.2), as well as the advance unedited version of the UN-Women strategic plan 2011-2013 (UNW/2011/9), which will be adopted officially at the June session, can be found on the UN Women Website here.
UN Women is governed by an Executive Board that oversees the organization's operational activities based on policy directions set by the UN General Assembly, ECOSOC and the Commission on the Status of Women. The Board engages with the executive boards of other UN development agencies to coordinate work on gender across the UN system.
The UN Women Executive Board is made up of representatives from 41 countries around the world who serve on a rotating basis. The 41 board members are selected on the following basis: 10 from Africa, 10 from Asia, 4 from Eastern Europe, 6 from Latin America and the Caribbean, 5 from Western Europe and 6 from contributing countries.
On 26 October 2010, the United Nations Security Council marked the 10th anniversary of resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, the first Council resolution that explicitly recognized the crucial linkages between gender and the maintenance of international peace and security. Unfortunately, implementation of this resolution has been insufficient and inconsistent. As we approach the 11th anniversary of 1325 in October 2011, the United Nations plans to set out its own goals on women, peace and security for the next ten years.
The NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, a coalition of NGOs who advocate for full implementation of all women, peace and security obligations, is preparing input on this strategic plan, and wants to ensure that as many civil society voices are heard in this process as possible. The goal is to have clear, concerted, and constructive messages from a broad and representative sample of women, peace and security “implementers”.
In short, the NGO Working Group believes it is paramount that the United Nations and the UN Security Council hear your voice: what would you like to see achieved by 2020 on women, peace and security issues?
To that end, the NGO Working Group would like your input on the questions outlined below. You can send your responses by email, or by entering your responses directly into an online survey:
Via email to: email@example.com
Or you can use the online survey
In addition to providing input to the report, the NGO Working Group will also provide everyone who responds to these questions a consolidated version of all the responses, so that you know what the key issues are for your colleagues internationally. In October, the NGO Working Group also plans to publish a policy brief on this issue as a reminder to the international community of what implementation on the ground should look like. More information can be found on the Working Group's website. Please do not hesitate to be in touch with any questions regarding this project by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please see PeaceWomen's monitoring of the UN System for relevant resources and information.
The CEDAW concept paper on women in conflict and post-conflict situations is now available. It is a guide to what will be covered during the General Discussion on July 18, 2011 at the upcoming Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Session.
All NGOs are invited to participate in the “Day of Discussion” to be held on July 18th and are invited to submit written statements. Although work on CEDAW General Recommendations has been going on for several years, this is the first time the CEDAW Committee will release text and move the work forward. This is seen as the start of the drafting process of the GR, which will be controlled by the Committee itself. It is important that civil society inputs to the text and ensures that a comprehensive GR is drafted, so hopefully WG members can participate.
WILPF has been part of a coalition working on this General Recommendation since 1997 including: IWRAW Asia Pacific, Women and Media Collective-Sri Lanka, Development Alternatives for Women (DAWN) and Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP). We hope to share documents on this process in the coming days.
Dates to note: June 30th: Deadline for written submissions
Organizations wishing to submit written contributions on the theme of the general discussion are welcome to do so. Submissions should be sent electronically in Word format to Ms. Georgina Mendoza (email: email@example.com) and/or Ms. Janna Iskakova (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) indicating "General discussion on women in armed conflict and post-conflict situations" in the subject, as well as in 35 hard copies by 30 June 2011 to:
Gaynel Curry (Ms.)
Gender and Women's Rights Advisor
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
New York Office
Room DC1 – 0511
United Nations, New York 10017, USA
Telephone: 212 963 5931
Fax: 212 963 4097
July 18th: CEDAW Day of Discussion at the at the 49th session of the CEDAW (10:00 am to 1:00 pm)
PeaceWomen has three new interns beginning this month. We are very excited to have such a dynamic team, coming from various regions around the world with diverse backgrounds and interests. PeaceWomen is pleased to welcome Leila Brollosy, Mriganka Lulla, and Aziz Rahman Popal.
PeaceWomen's Summer team includes:
Leila Brollosy: Leila is currently attending Rutgers University and is obtaining her B.A in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies and is expected to graduate in May of 2012. She hopes to obtain a job focusing on Human Rights, International Relations and Social Justice and is planning to earn a Master's Degree concentrated in those areas in the near future. She has internship experience with the Center for Women's Global Leadership and will be working with PeaceWomen for the Summer of 2011.
Annie Hylton: Annie Hylton earned her Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com) from McGill University and her Juris Doctor of Law (J.D) from the University of Saskatchewan, focusing on Canadian law and international humanitarian law and human rights. In the fall of 2011, Annie will be attending the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, in Geneva, Switzerland, to obtain her Master of Laws (LL.M) in international humanitarian law. Annie has been working at PeaceWomen since April 2011.
Mriganka Lulla: Mriganka Lulla is in the process of receiving her Bachelors Degree in Political Science and Psychology, with a concentration in Human Rights, from Bryn Mawr College. Mriganka grew up in Mumbai, India, where she has worked with numerous local NGOs that partake in the education and vocational training of under-privileged women and children. She recently completed a semester in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she participated in the International Human Rights Exchange Program. There, she interned for six months with Lawyers for Human Rights, focusing primarily on Public Litigation and Refugee and Migrant Rights. Mriganka will be working with PeaceWomen for the Summer of 2011.
Aziz Rahman Popal: Aziz is originally from Afghanistan and received his Bachelor's degree in Political Science from New Delhi, India. Aziz is currently a Fulbright Scholar pursuing his Masters degree in International Relations from Texas Tech University. Aziz also holds a specialized Diploma in United Nations studies and his main regions of interest include the Middle East and South Asia. Aziz will be interning with PeaceWomen for the Summer of 2011.