“It’s important to be aware of what’s going on in the world and to think about how you can start to make a difference, even when you’re a kid.”
Contested Terrain: Reflections with Afghan Women Leaders by Sally L. Kitch (University of Illinois Press, 2014)
On October 28, 2014, the Security Council held its annual open debate on Women, Peace and Security w
The General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to seek the views of Members States on ways and means of promoti
This paper from Reaching Critical Will and Article 36 addresses concerns that the sex of individuals is being used as
ISIS: Sexual abuse and violence in Iraq
“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced”
The Security Council is expected to hold an open debate to mark the 14th anniversary of the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000). The expected theme of the open debate is forcibly displaced women. Open debate statements and any outcome should address the full spectrum of the women, peace and security agenda as it relates to the impacts, challenges and agency of forcibly displaced women. It is important to ensure the full and equal participation and consultation with refugees and IDP women. Any discussion on the challenges faced by women IDPs and refugees should be linked to the necessity of advancing women's participation in peace, political, and security processes to address the myriad issues affecting them and ensure lasting conflict mitigation and/or resolution.
Policy and research on the role of firearms in women's lives usually stress women as victims of gun violence. Around the world, firearms are used in roughly 40 per cent of the estimated 66,000 annual homicides with female victims. Guns are even more commonly used to injure, intimidate, and coerce women (Alvazzi del Frate, 2011, pp. 117, 131-132).
Although women own and use guns, or live in households where firearms are present, firearms policy and research tend to focus on the role of and effects on men, who are the majority of firearm owners worldwide (Alvazzi del Frate, 2014, p. 2).
While relevant data is scarce, it reveals a substantial gap between male and female civilian firearm owners and users. As shown in this Research Note, women account for a smaller proportion of gun owners than men, and they are not as aware of or not as willing to acknowledge the presence of firearms in homes and communities.
Bridging this gender gap will help shed light on perceptions of and attitudes towards firearms, which could help to inform the agenda for women, peace, and security as well as the development of comprehensive and efficient safety policies. By showing what can be said with relative certainty, this Research Note establishes a baseline for systematic analysis and careful policy-making.
ISIS: Sexual abuse and violence in Iraq
After leading attacks in Syria, the armed jihadist group Islamic State (better known as ISIS or IS) has captured international attention in recent months for its bloody offensive and rapid rise in northern Iraq. One of the features of its modus operandi has been the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, which has been widely denounced by the UN, human rights organisations and local women's groups. ISIS has been accused of perpetrating savage acts of sexual violence against thousands of people, the vast majority of them women and adolescents of both sexes, including mass kidnappings and rape, the forced marriage of women and girls to the group's combatants, situations of sexual slavery and the sale and purchase of women considered war trophies, among other practices.
The minorities of Iraq have been the main victims of this violence. According to a joint statement by the UN Secretary-General's special representative on sexual violence in conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, and the special envoy for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, by mid-August around 1,500 people from Yazidi and Christian communities had been forced into sexual slavery. A recent report by Amnesty International detailing the persecution of the minorities of Iraq by ISIS described some forms of abuse to which the group is subjecting women and girls, noting that some of its victims that have been raped or forced to marry their captors have committed suicide. According to various analysts, the group is deliberately using sexual violence as a strategy to instil terror, strengthen its control, destabilise conquered communities and stigmatise the female victims of abuse in a context where women are considered the repository of collective honour.
In addition to sexual violence, the women of Iraq have suffered (and in many cases continue to suffer) from othereffects of the advance of ISIS. Thousands have been forced to flee their homes in search of shelter, exposing themselves to situations of extreme vulnerability and even dying of hunger and thirst, as happened to the Yazidi population that fled to Sinjar Mountain in August. In the territory where the armed jihadist group has established control, it has imposed a strict code of behaviour and dress that does not allow women to leave home unaccompanied by a man from their family and forces them to fully cover themselves in public places. Those that do not comply with these restrictions risk being publicly beaten. Cases have also been reported of women forced to convert to Islam. In addition, evidence suggests that ISIS has executed many women, including one accused of adultery, two others that had been candidates in the recent elections in Iraq and the lawyer and women's rights activist Sameera Salihal-Nuaimi, who was tortured and executed in public after criticising ISIS for destroying heritage in Mosul. The United Nations has received information on the summary trials and executions of women and has warned that educated and professional women are especially likely to suffer violence at the hands of the group.
Given this situation, Iraqi women's organisations have called on the international community to take action against ISIS. The Iraqi Women Network (IWN), which brings together 90 women's groups, made a special appeal to the UN Security Council, the CEDAW Committee and the Human Rights Council to act to secure the condemnation of the barbaric practices of ISIS, which may be classified as crimes of genocide. Specifically, the IWN requested the creation of an international committee to investigate the situation of women in territories controlled by ISIS, the adoption of measures to free women and children held by the armed group, the protection of displaced women and their families, the provision of urgent humanitarian aid and medical assistance to the victims of ISIS and the protection of witnesses to abuse.
Meanwhile, women have also organised and demonstrated locally. In different cities around the country, including several in the province of Anbar where ISIS has consolidated its position, groups such as the Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) are working to provide shelter, food and medical attention to women that have been raped or that have fled their homes due to the violence of ISIS. With no intention to understate the seriousness of the jihadist group's crimes, some voices have stressed that violence against women in Iraq did not begin or end with ISIS, but lies along a continuum that has characterised the turbulent post-invasion scene in the country. Thus, they have drawn attention to the hypocrisy of some authorities that now warn about ISIS but did not act to stop gender violence over the last decade despite continued complaints by Iraqi women's organisations.
[Please see PDF on top right for other articles, including "Forced Displacement in Syria" and "Subcommittee on gender in the peace negotiations in Colombia".]
In 2009, women from different ethnic, political, social and religious backgrounds, sexual orientations and identities came together in order to reinforce women's demands for peace in Turkey and the Middle East, and to struggle against warmongering policies. They thus formed the Women for Peace Initiative.
The activities of the Initiative may be summarized as follows: We focus on working against racism, discrimination and war, as well as spreading the demand for peace across different parts of the society. We try to ensure women's equal participation both as observers and as active parties in peace talks/negotiation processes being carried out in order to resolve conflicts. We pressures those in power to put into effect international agreements, methods, tools and procedures that would enable and support the equal participation and representation of women and other marginalized populations in said processes.
The Women for Peace Initiative also carries out activities regarding the negotiation process that began between the State of Turkey and the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) in January 2013. The Initiative produced and published a report based on the contacts and observations it made throughout the year 2013, with both the parties of the war, and with those who have been affected by this war in different ways, as well as the sections of society that have been victimized. Attached you may find the English and Kurdish versions of the "Report on the Process of Resolution" prepared by the Women for Peace Initiative.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is publishing this report, Are We Listening? Acting on our Commitments to Women and Girls Affected by the Syrian Conflict, to do more than bear witness to the suffering of Syrian women and girls caught in a protracted regional conflict.
Policy and research on the role of firearms in women's lives usually stress women as victims of gun violence.
The Security Council is expected to hold an open debate to mark the 14th anniversary of the adoption of resolution 13
2015 will be a significant year, encompassing the adoption of the post-2015 development framework, the 15th anniversa
The inter‐governmental negotiations of the Post‐2015 Development Agenda is entering a critical stage.
Infographic of Select Quotes on Gender Equality
For October, in which Argentina has the presidency, the MAP provides recommendations on the situations in Haiti, Iraq