1. COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN 48TH SESSION: UPDATE
March 1-12, 2004, United Nations Headquarters, New York, USA
Important dates and times:
Wednesday, 31 December 2003:
Last day for CSW registration for ECOSOC-accredited NGOs. To register your organization, visit: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/csw48/register/
Friday, 20 February 2004:
Last day to register for NGO Consultation
Sunday, 29 February 2004, 8:30 am – 6:00 pm:
NGO Consultation on both themes
Monday, 1 March 2004, 1:15 pm – 2:45 pm:
‘First time to the CSW' Orientation
Saturday, 6 March 2004, 9:30 am – 3:00 pm:
Women's dialogue on the Beijing Review, the next Women's World Conference and the Review of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
Registration for NGO Events
The NGO Committee on the Status of Women has just released their invitation, preliminary program, and registration form for the NGO consultation, orientation and other NGO events at the CSW. This registration form will soon be available at: http://www.peacewomen.org/un/ecosoc/CSW/CSW2004.html
Until then, if you would like a copy of the registration form, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you a copy.
NGO Taskforce on Theme #2 – Women's Equal Participation in Conflict Prevention, Management and Conflict Resolution and in Post-Conflict Peace-Building
As we mentioned in a previous email, the PeaceWomen Project of the WILPF-UN Office is currently co-facilitating the preparatory NGO taskforce on theme #2. The taskforce, a subgroup of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, is comprised of NGO representatives and individual women who are interested in participating in the planning for NGO events that will take place before and during the Commission.
The taskforce meets in New York City, but we can arrange for women to call in to the meeting. You can also join the taskforce e-mail listserv to receive the minutes from the meeting and provide input into the group without having to participate in the meetings. If you would like to participate in the taskforce or just the taskforce listserv, send a note to email@example.com.
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2. 1325 TRANSLATION INITIATIVE: 30 TRANSLATIONS NOW AVAILABLE ON PEACEWOMEN.ORG
Since our last update on PeaceWomen's 1325 Translation Initiative, we have added 5 new translations to PeaceWomen.org:
To view the 30 translations online, click here.
If you know of existing translations or potential translators, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like copies of the translations but do not have web access, contact email@example.com and we will send you the translations you request.
3. INITIATIVES TO ADDRESS WOMEN'S ACTIVE PARTICIPATION IN POST-CONFLICT RECONSTRUCTION IN IRAQ
Last updated: December 4, 2003
PeaceWomen continues to monitor the situation of and discussion on women's participation in post-conflict reconstruction in Iraq through our maintenance of the list Initiatives to Address Women's Active Participation in Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Iraq.
Recent initiatives added to the list include:
-An Op-Ed piece in the New York Times written by Raja Habib Khuzai and Songul Chapouk, the two women on the Iraqi Governing Council
-A V-Day celebration of and public discussion with Yanar Mohammed, founder of the Organization for Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) led by Eve Ensler (founder of V-Day, playwright) in New York City
-A meeting between 18 Iraqi women and World Bank officials to discuss their input to the Iraqi Joint Needs Assessment
-Issue 8 of Equal Rights Now, the fortnightly newspaper of the Iraqi Women's Rights Coalition (IWRC)
-A project of Women for Women International's Iraq office to support single mothers
For the updated list, click here.
To ensure that this list remains up-to-date and accurate, PeaceWomen welcomes your input. To provide input, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
4. WOMEN, PEACE AND SECURITY NEWS
MINDANAO WOMEN ARE KEY TO PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT
December 5, 2003 – (Mindanao Times) “Women hold the key to peace and development in Mindanao, as frequent victims of poverty and conflict they have a huge stake in promoting peace as a means to achieve economic growth,” says Irene Santiago, chairperson of the Mindanao Commission on Women. Speaking before 80 women leaders, advocates, and entrepreneurs from all over Mindanao at the Echo Forum on the Global Summit of Women 2003 held in Davao City recently, Santiago, in her report on the status of women in Mindanao, noted that women play multiple roles but rarely get support and recognition for these…
TOWARDS INDEPENDENCE FROM FOREIGN AID
December 4, 2030 - (Kvinna till Kvinna) By supporting women in rural areas, the women's organisation MQ helps to rebuild society in war-torn Kosovo. Their goal is to make Kosovo independent from foreign aid and to make themselves unnecessary.
MEDIA RELEASE #4 ON BEHALF OF THE WOMEN PEACE AND SECURITY COORDINATING COMMITTEE (FIJI)
December 3, 2003 – (femLINKpacific) “There is a link between human security and human rights,” says Sarah Maguire, a co-trainer at this week's training workshop on Conflict Prevention and Early Warning at the Lagoon Resort, Pacific Harbour which is being organized by the Fiji Women, Peace and Security Coordinating Committee (WPS CC).
MARWOPNET AWARDED 2003 UNITED NATIONS PRIZE IN THE FIELD OF HUMAN RIGHTS (English and French)
December 3, 2003 – (FAS) Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS) is happy to announce that the Mano River Women's Peace Network (MARWOPNET) has been awarded the United Nations Prize for Human Rights for 2003 by the UN General Assembly in recognition of its outstanding achievement in human rights. The 2003 Prize will be presented by UN General Assembly President, Jan Kavan, at an event at UN Headquarters in New York on 10 December 2003, as part of the annual commemoration of Human Rights Day. A delegation from MARWOPNET consisting of its Chair, Mrs Saran Daraba Kaba (Guinea), and two Vice-Chairs, Mrs Theresa Leigh-Sherman (Liberia) and Mrs Agnes Taylor-Lewis (Sierra Leone), accompanied by FAS's Executive Director, Mrs Bineta Diop (Senegal), will accept the Prize.
MAKING A NATION MORE EQUAL
December 3, 2003 – (NYT Op-Ed) Women in Afghanistan have only a short time to influence the new draft constitution to be considered by the Constitutional Loya Jirga scheduled for next week. Although the new draft upholds the principle of human rights, there is no explicit guarantee of women's equality. This is not a matter of semantics. Rather, it raises serious questions about the document's commitment to protect women's rights.
PEACE CARAVAN IN THE TENSE SOLITUDE OF PUTUMAYO
November 26, 2003 - (IPS/GIN) Just before dusk, a group of drivers gathers on the side of the dirt road in the remote Colombian province of Putumayo, bringing the Women's Peace Caravan, which is protesting the civil war, to a halt because one of the buses has a flat tire.
A BATTLE ON MANY FRONTS: FIGHTING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN TIMOR-LESTE
November 25, 2003 – (UNFPA) In a hot, makeshift classroom in this small town's police station, police officers from several districts are being trained to protect victims of domestic violence and deal with offenders. The instructor, Domingas Encarnação Soares, a policewoman, is striving to make her colleagues understand that domestic violence must be treated like any other crime.
INTERNATIONAL DAY TO ELIMINATE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: MESSAGE BY NOELEEN HEYZER
November 25 2003 – (UNIFEM) One in three. That stark figure sums up the crisis confronting women throughout the world. Among young girls in classrooms worldwide, learning to read and write, one will suffer violence directed at her simply because she is female. Of three women sitting in a market, selling their crops, one will be attacked — most likely by her intimate partner — and hurt so severely she may no longer be able to provide for her family.
ISIS-WICCE WINS GENDER AND ICT AWARD
November 2003 – (Isis-WICCE) An international Non-Governmental Organisation, Isis-Women's International Cross Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE), has won the Gender and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Award for its initiative on “Documenting Experiences of Women in Situations of Armed Conflict in Uganda”.
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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5. FEATURE REPORT
Policy Paralysis: A Call for Action on HIV/AIDS-Related Human Rights Abuses Against Women and Girls in Africa
Human Rights Watch
On December 1st, World AIDS Day, Human Rights Watch released this report documenting how violence and discrimination against women and girls is fueling Africa's AIDS crisis. The report examines gender-based abuses of women and girls in school, in long-term unions, in situations relating to property and inheritance rights, in traditional practices such as female genital mutilation, and in situations of armed conflict. The report concludes with a set of recommendations directed at all African governments.
Below are excerpts of the section on “Rape and Other Gender-Base Abuses in War and Civil Conflict”:
Rape and Other Gender-based Abuses in War and Civil Conflict
Rape is a common weapon of war in Africa. During the Rwandan genocide on 1994, in the war in Sierra Leone, and to this day in the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), among other instances, regular armies and guerrilla forces have used rape to terrorize, humiliate, punish, and ultimately control the civilian population into submission. It also disrupts communities dependent on the labor and household leadership of women. In northern Uganda, thousands of children have been abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army and have suffered sexual abuse and sexual slavery, part of that group's campaign of terror and violence. In all these cases, HIV transmission is only one of the consequences of horrific sexual abuse suffered by women, girls, and sometimes boys, but it is a consequence that amplifies the stigma of rape and adds to the medical and psychological injuries of these violations.
…The fear of being stigmatized also kept rape survivors in both wars from seeking medical attention. Many others who wished medical help had nowhere to go because of the deterioration of services associated with war and decades of misrule in both countries. The lack of such assistance was particularly critical given that the prevalence of HIV and other STDs among soldiers and irregular combatants both is generally estimated to be much higher than in the general population. In Congo, it is estimated that more than half the combatants may be HIV-positive.
…The abuses still being committed in Uganda by the insurgent group called Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), known for the brutality of its tactics, represent another form of sexual and gender-based violence, particularly targeting children. Since the beginning of the LRA's conflict with the Ugandan government, it has abducted, by a conservative estimate, more than 20,000 children196 and subjected them to brutal treatment as soldiers, laborers and sexual slaves. Since June of 2002, an estimated 5,000 children have been abducted from their homes and communities—a larger number than any previous year in the conflict and a dramatic increase from the less than 100 children abducted in 2001.
…Although not as numerous as boys, girls are abducted in large numbers by the LRA. They are used as domestic servants for commanders and their households. At age fourteen or fifteen, many are forced into sexual slavery as "wives" of LRA commanders and subjected to rape, unwanted pregnancies, and the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.
…Many "wives" contract sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). A nurse at World Vision's center for children who have escaped abduction in Gulu, Uganda reported that of the children who came to the center in early 2003, about 50 percent had STDs, including syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. Two years earlier, when returnees were more likely to have been in captivity for longer periods, the rate was much higher—nearly 85 percent.199 The rate of HIV infection among abductees is unknown. World Vision has offered HIV testing to children in its center; not all accept. As of March 2003, they had tested eighty-three formerly abducted children, and thirteen or 15 percent were positive in this self-selected group.
Brutality against civilians, and specifically sexual violence, is an integral part of the war in eastern Congo and the conflict in northern Uganda, and it was a heinous weapon in Sierra Leone. The wars of gender-based violence within these wars are grossly underrepresented as the focus of action by governments of affected countries and international actors alike. Exemplifying the cruelest and most violent edge of the subordination of African women, these abuses leave no room for protection from grievous bodily harm, including HIV/AIDS.
For the full report, visit: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2003/africa1203/index.htm
For the HRW press release, “Gender Inequality Fuels Aids Crisis,” 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. FEATURE RESOURCES
NEW 1325 ADVOCACY TOOLS
The Gender and Peacebuilding Working Group of the Canadian Peacebuilding Coordinating Committee (see description below) recently produced a series of 1325 advocacy tools in English and French, with a particular emphasis on suggested actions for Canadian citizens. Below are excerpts from the advocacy tool designed for girls and young women:
UN Security Council Resolution 1325 for girls and young women
"So, how can I use it ?"
1325 can be seen as a platform from which individuals, non-government organizations, governments and international institutions can advocate for the inclusion of women in all aspects of conflict peace and security. Here in Canada we can ask our politicians about what they can and will do in relation to 1325 and we can monitor how well the Canadian government is doing in fulfilling its commitments. We can also use 1325 as a framework for different activities, such as workshops, seminars and talks.
But, does it work for girls and young women too ?
There is some special work on 1325 to be done by girls and young women. Up to now, although it does mention girls, implementation of the Resolution has focused more on older women. Also it has tended to be older women who have been the most active in using 1325 as a tool for their organizing, advocacy and awareness raising activities. Working together, girls and young women also have the opportunity to take some ownership of this Resolution, to look at what it means for you and your peers.
* You can start by learning more about how conflict impacts on the lives of girls and young women (by attending workshops, seminars, reading and researching, for example);
* You can ask individuals and organizations who work on issues of gender, peace and security what they are doing with girls and young women;
* You can collaborate with other organizations which are interested in girls and young women (eg: Women's Y, the Girl Scouts) to focus on peace and security;
* You can try to build networks with girls and young women, and their organizations in conflict areas.
The other available advocacy tools are:
UN Security Council Resolution 1325 Fact Sheet: Understanding UN Security Council Resolution 1325
UN Security Council Resolution 1325 Fact Sheet: How can we use Resolution 1325?
All three documents are available at: http://www.peacebuild.ca/working/?load=gender
The Canadian Peacebuilding Coordinating Committee (CPCC) is a network of Canadian non-governmental organizations and institutions, academics and individuals engaged in a wide range of activities related to addressing the cause and consequences of violent conflict. The CPCC has 6 working groups: Gender and Peacebuilding; Children and Armed Conflict; Small Arms; Conflict Prevention; South Asia; and Peace Operations.
For more information about the CPCC, visit: http://www.peacebuild.ca/
For more information about the Gender and Peacebuilding Working Group, visit: http://www.peacebuild.ca/working/?load=gender
The PeaceWomen is a project of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).
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