1. WOMEN, PEACE AND SECURITY NEWS
"MARKED FOR DEATH": RAPE SURVIVORS LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS IN RWANDA
April 7, 2004 – (Amnesty International) Survivors of violence still cry out for medical care; survivors and families of victims clamour for justice that is slow in coming. Women continue to die from diseases related to HIV/AIDS, which some of them contracted as a result of rape during the 1994 genocide and armed conflict. It is in this context, ten years after the start of the Rwandan genocide and war and as part of its Stop Violence Against Women campaign, that Amnesty International is making an appeal to the Rwandan government and international community to expand access to healthcare and justice for survivors of rape and their families.
WOMEN SURVIVORS OF THE RWANADAN GENOCIDE FACE GRIM REALITIES
April 6, 2004 – (IPS) Mamerthe Karuhimbi was 19 when the killers came to her home in the Rwandan town of Nyamata, a decade ago. On 6 Apr. 1994, a plane carrying Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana and his Burundian counterpart, Cyprien Ntaryamira, was shot down over the Rwandan capital - Kigali. Shortly after that, a wave of violence spilled over the tiny central African country as officials and hardline members of the Hutu majority embarked on a killing spree that targeted minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN WARNS OF THREATS TO GAINS ON WOMEN'S HUMAN RIGHTS
April 5, 2004 – (UN Press Release) The Special Rapporteur on violence against women this morning addressed the Commission on Human Rights, warning against alarming trends toward political conservatism and backlash which threatened the gains made thus far in the global women's human rights agenda.
ZIMBABWE: INSTEAD OF TARGETING SEX WORKERS, POLICE HARASS ALL WOMEN
April 5, 2004 – (IPS) It is retold so often that the account of how an embarrassed government minister rescued a female relative, who had been caught in a police sex worker crackdown he sanctioned, has become something of an urban legend.
IRAQ: WOMEN AFRAID TO SEEK HEALTHCARE IN SOUTH
April 5, 2004 – (IRIN) One year after the US-led war to topple Iraq's former leader Saddam Hussein, lack of security continues to prevent progress in health care, particularly among women too scared to leave their homes.
DRC: WORDS ALONE WILL NOT PUT AN END TO SEXUAL VIOLENCE
April 1, 2004 – (Medecins Sans Frontieres) MSF report illustrates terrible consequences of rape in the DRC and the need for action.
MEXICO: U.N. CONDEMNS MEXICO FOR HANDLING OF JUAREZ MURDER PROBE
April 1, 2004 – (UN Wire) A U.N. report on the investigation into the murders of hundreds of women in the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez has made devastating accusations against local and state authorities and their handling of the case, which it says is tarnished by the city's underbelly of crime, Le Monde reports.
TURKISH CYPRIOT AND GREEK CYPRIOT WOMEN “IMAGINING A POST-SOLUTION CYPRUS: THE GENDER PERSPECTIVE…”
March 24, 2003 – (Cyprus Alternative News) Hands Across the Divide calling on negotiators for "gender perspective" "All the inhabitants of Cyprus want a solution NOW but to be viable the solution needs to take into consideration respect of the human rights of all of all and a balance of both the rights of the two communities and the sexes.
For more country-specific women, peace and security news, CLICK HERE
For more international women, peace and security news, CLICK HERE
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2. GENDER AND THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS 2004 MEETING
29 March - 16 April 2004
Trusteeship Council Chamber, UN Headquarters, New York
Since 29 March, 113 Member States, mostly past or current contributors of peacekeeping personnel, have been meeting daily at UN Headquarters for the 2004 session of the UN Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (29 March - 16 April 2004), also known as the C-34, to conduct “a comprehensive review of all issues relating to peacekeeping.” On behalf of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, the PeaceWomen team has been informally monitoring the 2004 session, specifically the General Debate, the DPKO briefing, and the report drafting process, for their discussion of gender issues.
As part of its overall mandate, the Special Committee addresses gender issues in its annual report. Similarly, in his follow-up report on "Implementation of the recommendations of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations,” the UN Secretary-General addresses any new developments in the area of gender issues, as they relate to what was highlighted by the Committee. The Committee's commitment to gender issues has gradually increased over the years, yet remains relatively weak. Many members continue to resist adopting progressive and concrete language, in their reports, that would initiate action on such key issues as the conduct of peacekeepers, gender training of troops, and the recruitment of women as peacekeeping personnel, as they would be the actors primarily responsible for implementation.
In preparation for the 2004 meeting of the Special Committee, PeaceWomen compiled references to gender issues in past reports of the Special Committee on "Comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects," as well as in past reports of the Secretary-General on "Implementation of the recommendations of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations.” To view these compilations, CLICK HERE.
NGO Recommendations for the 2004 Report of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations
The NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security circulated a set of recommendations on gender issues to all Special Committee representatives, as they began drafting the 2004 report. The recommendations highlight a number of key gender issues prioritized by the Special Committee in their previous reports: conduct and disciplinary issues; gender units and gender expertise; gender training; women as peacekeepers; partnerships with civil society and UN agencies and bodies; and peacekeeping mandates. The recommendations on Conduct and Disciplinary Issues are included below:
i) Under-Secretary-General Mr. Guehenno, in his statement to the open debate of the Security Council on women, peace and security (October 2003), remarked: “In the coming year, DPKO will ensure that each mission has an active strategy to prevent and respond to the problems of sexual abuse and exploitation. Each mission will appoint a senior focal point to receive complaints of misconduct by peacekeeping personnel. DPKO will also continue to work on ensuring that senior managers in missions know how to use and apply the disciplinary directives, and that they have the in-mission capacity to investigate allegations. Training, reporting and follow-up mechanisms will also be strengthened. Lastly, DPKO will review existing efforts to prevent and respond to sexual abuse and exploitation, and identify good practice for replication elsewhere.”
ii) A compilation of “Guidance and Directives of Disciplinary Issues for All Categories of Personnel Serving in UN Peacekeeping and Other Field Missions,” including the Secretary-General's Bulletin on “Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse” (ST/SGB/2003/13), has been officially presented and is available to all Troop-Contributing Countries (Member States); and
iii) The European Union (EU), in their statement to the C-34 General Debate on 29 March 2004, presented by Ireland, called on DPKO to “step up efforts to ensure that each mission has an active strategy to prevent and respond to the problem of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse by and of peacekeeping personnel.”
We urge the Special Committee to:
i) Request further definition of sexual exploitation and abuse in the disciplinary directives for uniformed personnel, taking into account the Secretary-General's 2003 Bulletin;
ii) Request that DPKO develop detailed guidance for missions on implementation of the existing disciplinary directives; and
iii) Call on DPKO, the Security Council, and other relevant actors, to ensure that every peacekeeping mission is mandated to establish and make public complaints, reporting and follow-up procedures for peacekeepers that commit violations against and exploit local citizens, including refugees and other beneficiaries of assistance.
The full set of NGO recommendations is available at: http://www.peacewomen.org/un/ngo/NGOWGC34Recommendations.pdf
The NGO Working Group has received positive feedback from a number of Members of the Special Committee on the recommendations we circulated, providing the opportunity to engage in dialogue with them, through the drafting process.
29-30 March 2004
The General Debate was held for the first two days, during which members addressed the Committee on the main peacekeeping priority issues of their country. Countries' commitment to, and thus discussion of, gender issues, varied widely. While many countries made no reference to gender issues in their statements at all, other countries featured it more prominently, such as Ireland, who, speaking on behalf of the European Union, identified gender and, in particular, gender mainstreaming, in peacekeeping operations, as one of 6 priority issues for the EU.
PeaceWomen and UNIFEM together monitored the General Debate statements for references to gender issues. On the first day, of 20 statements made, including by the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, 9 contained references to gender, and of those references, 6 were substantive. In the course of the second day, of 22 statements, 10 contained references to gender, and of those references, 6 were substantive.
These compilations are available at: http://www.peacewomen.org/un/pkwatch/Events/C34/Index.html
Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) Gender Briefing
31 March 2004
After the General Debate and before the Committee began its report drafting process, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) presented a number of briefings to the Special Committee, including on the Peacekeeping Best Practices Unit (PBPU), public information, and the work of the Civilian Police Division and the Office of Internal Oversight Services. The interim Gender Advisor, Anna Shotton, presented on "Gender Mainstreaming in Peacekeeping Operations," providing an overview of the work she has done, since she arrived in DPKO six months ago.
One of her main tasks, which she spoke about in some detail, has been the development of a “gender resource package for peacekeeping operations,” intended to serve as a practical field manual for all peacekeeping personnel on how to integrate gender issues into the various areas of work of peacekeeping. It was prepared in consultation with UNIFEM, the Office for the Special Advisor on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women (OSAGI), and other UN partners. As the gender resource package will be available shortly, the Gender Advisor urged the Members of the Special Committee to bring it to the attention of their national training centers.
In addition to the gender resource package, DPKO's Gender Advisor has been involved in the planning for missions in Sudan, Cote d'Ivoire, Burundi, Haiti and Cyprus, as well as coordinating the participation of Gender Advisors from the field missions in inter-agency assessment missions (in Cote d'Ivoire, Burundi, Haiti).
For more information about the gender briefing, the notes and PowerPoint presentation are both available at:
For more information about the Special Committee, including links to all of the documents mentioned above, visit:
http://www.peacewomen.org/un/pkwatch/Events/C34/Index.html or visit the official web page of the C-34: http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/dpko/ctte/CTTEE.htm
New Women, Gender and Peacekeeping Section on www.PeaceWomen.org
The PeaceWomen team has developed a new Gender and Peacekeeping section of www.PeaceWomen.org.
New Features Include:
-A page on the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, highlighted above: http://www.peacewomen.org/un/pkwatch/Events/C34/Index.html
-A page on the disciplinary directives and guidelines that exist for peacekeeping personnel and that were recently presented to the Members of the Special Committee for the first time in a usable CD-ROM format at a briefing in mid-March 2004: http://www.peacewomen.org/un/pkwatch/discipline/DPKOcompilation.html
-We continue to regularly update the Gender and Peacekeeping News page. For example, a recent news story available on our news page is:
“UNMIL's (Liberia) Gender Unit Holds Open Forum with Women's Organizations (18 March 2004).”
-We continue to develop the Peacekeeping resources page as we find and hear about additional resources. For example, a new report available on our resources page is:
“Gender Justice and Accountability in Peace Support Operations: Closing the Gaps,” International Alert, February 2004.
-We continue to build our Links page, as we find and hear about other relevant websites. Sites we feature include:
• The website of the Office of Gender Affairs, UN Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC)
• The ‘Gender' page of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)
• Gender and Peacekeeping Training Course (DFAIT and UK DFID)
The section as a whole is very much a work in progress. For that reason, we would appreciate your comments.
PeaceWomen's Women, Gender and Peacekeeping index can be found at: http://www.peacewomen.org/un/pkwatch/pkindex.html
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3. BEIJING +10 REVIEW AND APPRAISAL 2005: ONE YEAR AND COUNTING
In the build-up to, and during, the 48th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (1-12 March 2004), NGOs, governmental and UN staff entered into discussions on the Beijing +10 Review and Appraisal (March 2005).
Read the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995): http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/beijing/platform/index.html
All governments have a deadline of 30 April 2004 to return to the UN Division on the Advancement of Women (DAW) a questionnaire on their work to implement the Beijing Platform for Action (1995) and the Outcome of the Twenty-Third Special Session of the General Assembly (2000). For the questionnaire in the six UN languages, visit: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/2005Review/index.html
The NGO Committee on the Status of Women, New York, in collaboration with its parent body, Conference of NGOs (CONGO), and such NGOs as the Center for Women's Global Leadership and Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), will be organizing NGO input into the Review and Appraisal.
The WILPF, UN Office has just begun to build the Beijing +10 page on PeaceWomen.org. We welcome contributions to the web page:
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4. FEATURE STATEMENT
NGO Joint Statement on Violence against Women and UNSC Resolution 1325
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, World Young Women's Christian Association, and Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice
UN Commission on Human Rights, 60th Session, 5 April 2004
Mr. Chairman, I speak on behalf of Women's International League for peace and Freedom, the World Young Women's Christian Association and the Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice. During the High Level Segment the question of violence against women was officially raised by almost every state and in this occasion we would like to address the question of Violence Against Women in armed conflict.
First of all, we would like to welcome the appointment of Justice Louise Arbour as High Commissioner for Human Rights. We hope she will make significant changes in addressing the issue of violence against women in armed conflict after having played a significant role in the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia. Being aware of the weaknesses of those tribunals, we assert that sexual violence should not be used as a tool for genocide or ethnic cleansing while perpetrators go unpunished. Article 38 of the Vienna Declaration and Program of
Action adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights states that ‘violation of human rights of women in situations of armed conflict is a
violation of the fundamental principles of International Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.'
Women are not only victims but also negotiators, peacemakers and advisors. We call upon states to take action to eradicate gender-based violence in armed conflict as well as prevent conflict itself. One of the most important ways to realize this is to support and strengthen women's active participation in peace building processes. We urge all States to enforce and implement the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (adopted in October 2000) within their domestic legislation. We believe that its implementation would recognize women's capabilities, create understanding of their role in the international arena and enable them to contribute their skills and competence in conflict resolution. This could only be achieved by increasing the number of women in decision and policy-making levels to 50% as has already happened in Norway and Finland…
For the full statement, CLICK HERE.
For more information on the 60th session of the Commission on Human Rights, including General Debate statements, UN documents, and NGO side events, CLICK HERE.
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5. FEATURE REPORT
“I have no joy, no peace of mind": Medical, Psychosocial and Economic Consequences of Sexual Violence in Eastern DRC
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), March 2004
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), an international humanitarian organisation, just released a report on the medical, psychosocial, and socio-economic consequences of sexual violence in Eastern DRC and the use of rape - against both women and men - as a weapon of war. The report is based on medical data and stories of rape victims treated by MSF in a clinic in Baraka, Eastern DRC, although the phenomenon is widespread in many places in DRC. Below are excerpts from the introduction:
In the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), on the shore of Lake Tanganyika, the town of Baraka and surrounding areas in South Kivu have been the scene of massive human suffering since the outbreak of war in 1996. Caught in a conflict in which various armed groups – Congolese, Rwandan and Burundian – have been fighting, the civilian population has been subjected to brutal killings, persecution and pillaging that has forced them into a cycle of displacement and extreme hardship. Deprived of access to health care and facing constant food insecurity, the people of Baraka have become an extremely vulnerable population abandoned by the international community. In August 2002, in a lull in the fighting, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) started to establish hospital services in Baraka during which the team was confronted with another horrific dimension of the war perpetrated by all warring parties against the civilian population – sexual violence.* Rape and other forms of sexual violence have affected hundreds of women, girls and men of all ages. The true extent and magnitude of this terrible feature of war is only beginning to be seen today with the advances in the peace process in the DRC.
Overwhelmed by the extent of the suffering that is still going on today, MSF started treating victims of sexual violence in an emergency hospital set up in Baraka in July 2003. Between August 2003 and January 2004, more than 550 victims of sexual violence have come for consultations and it is believed that hundreds more are still cut off from help in inaccessible areas. The medical consequences of sexual violence are many, including increased transmission of HIV/AIDS and serious complications in reproductive health. Fear, nightmares, and psychosomatic body pain are just some of the psychosocial problems experienced by victims of sexual violence. For women, rape often means rejection by their husband and even the community as a whole. Victims of sexual violence feeling isolated and ashamed are forced to find their own way and suffer from socio-economic hardship…
* There is no internationally agreed definition of sexual violence, although for the purposes of this report it is taken to include inter alia rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution and pregnancy which have all been common in the war in the DRC.
MSF has been active in the DRC since 1981. All of the operational sections of MSF (Belgium, France, Holland, Spain and Switzerland) are today present in the country. MSF's medical aid work in eight of the country's ten provinces and in the capital Kinshasa makes the mission one of MSF's largest worldwide.
For the full report, CLICK HERE.
For MSF press release announcing the new report, listed above, CLICK HERE.
For NGO and civil society reports, papers and statements, UN and government reports, and books, journals and articles on women, peace and security issues, CLICK HERE.
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6. WOMEN, PEACE AND SECURITY CALENDAR
Women, Human Rights and Peacebuilding in an Era of Globalization
3 May – 15 June 2004, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada
The Centre for Women's Studies in Education and the Transformative Learning Centre at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, are holding a six week Summer Institute on “Women, Human Rights and Peacebuilding in an era of Globalization.” The courses being offered are: Women Becoming Human - Engendering Human Rights Activism; Globalization, Gender and Feminist Alternatives; and Community-Based Peacebuilding. “Important milestones, such as the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), UN Security Council Resolution 1325, the Beijing Platform for Action, and Women's Action Agenda 21, will be featured. Women's historical struggles for their adoption, their potential as resources for social change, and effective ways of using them as tools for practice will be explored.”
For faculty profiles, full course descriptions, the application form and more, visit: http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/~cwse/summerinst.htm.
For further information regarding enrollment, contact: Pat Doherty, Executive Assistant, Centre for Women's Studies in Education, OISE/UT, tel: (416) 923-6641 ext. 2204, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For academic information, contact: Angela Miles, tel: 416-923-6641 x 2344 or e-mail: email@example.com.
The Asia-Pacific NGO Forum on the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) +10
30 June -3 July 2004, Bangkok, Thailand
The Asia-Pacific NGO Forum is a logical and important follow through by the women's movement of what, by far, has been an effective civil society engagement with official UN sponsored policy-making processes. The objective of this regional NGO forum will be to set in motion a process for the women NGOs and other civil society groups to prepare, consolidate and advocate their findings and recommendations at the Asia-Pacific level and to conduct follow up at the CSW 2005 and other international fora. For more information, visit:
For the complete calendar items as well as more calendar events, CLICK HERE.
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