Category Archives: Domestic Violence in post-conflct countries

▶ Security: What is it? What can we do?

▶ Security: What is it? – YouTube.

This WILPF video was posted by Jo Haytor on the IWDA website as part of an excellent article about Women,Peace and Security.

The article provides an excellent summary of what Australia as a nation and what we as individuals can do to progress action on women peace and security

What Australia can do

  • Maintain Australia’s emphasis on WPS staying at the forefront of the UNSC agenda both during Australia’s Presidency and in all relevant deliberations throughout the period of Australia’s seat on the Security Council and identify an ongoing advisory group of civil society representatives whose core business is WPS
  • Sustain funding to international development agencies whose core business is women’s safety and security linked to conflict prevention and resolution, peace building, transitional justice and women’s rights
  • Sustain the government commitment to the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development Initiative to accelerate women’s leadership in peace and security policy and planning in our region
  • Continue to collaborate in and support the implementation of Pacific Regional Action Plan through civil society networks and political, diplomatic and official channels
  • Continue to improve embedding the WPS agenda in the Australian government’s approach to human resource management for defence, AFP and deployed personnel
  • Resource evidence gathering, information exchange and dialogue with wider networks such as the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict or the WPS Academic Collective
  • Contribute to shaping how peace and security are defined and prosecuted in the Proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Post- 2015 Development Agenda and through other regional or national plans and policy development for Women’s Empowerment, Gender Equality, Peace and Security in countries such as Bougainville, Burma or Fiji.

What you/we can do

  • Write to your political representative now to let them know that funding for women, peace and security must be a vital part of Australia’s foreign aid and security budgets
  • Promote and transfer knowledge to your networks about agencies like IWDA, whose work priortises safety and security for women and girls. Follow IWDA on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Track the monitoring of the UN system in relation to WPS at www.peacewomen.org and share this information to increase public support and momentum
  • Donate your time, money or expertise to strengthen international dialogue between civil society organisations, government and the UN as we work towards the post 2015 Development Goals.
  • Watch the [above] … video by Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF International) and share it to champion a wider definition of security:

You can read the full article here

Women in Peacekeeping

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“Women can and must play a leading role in political participation, conflict resolution and the transition from conflict to peace”

–       Herve Ladsous, Head of UN Peacekeeping

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The women of the Great Lakes are keeping my hope alive: Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes district of Africa wrote in The Guardian about the horror of the sustained high levels of violence – of war crimes –  perpetrated on women in this region and the lack of global outrage or response.  But she also sees this as a place that holds great hope and promise for women in Africa because of the primary role women are taking in the peace building process:

In 20 years of killings, rape, destruction and displacement, these women have suffered most. Yet I believe they are the region’s best hope for building lasting peace. My job now, and the job of the international community, is to support them in every way we can.

Women’s voices should not only be heard because they are the victims of the war. Their active participation in peace efforts is essential, because they are the most effective peace builders. As men take up arms, women hold communities together in times of war. This makes them stronger and better equipped to play a key role in securing real peace, as we have seen in Northern Ireland, Liberia and elsewhere.

My approach to peace-building involves not just political leaders, but all of civil society, including women. Without their full support and participation, no peace agreement can succeed. How many secret deals have been negotiated in the Great Lakes region, only to be ignored or forgotten by the signatories for lack of transparency and accountability?

I believe the peace, security and co-operation framework for the DRC and the region, signed in Addis Ababa in February 2013 by 11 African countries, provides an opportunity to do things differently. That is why I have called it a framework of hope. I have started to work on its implementation top-down, with the 11 heads of state who signed the agreement, and bottom-up, with the people of the region who will be its real beneficiaries.

As the first woman to be appointed UN special envoy, I have promised to ensure that women’s voices are heard at the negotiating table. Last month, with Femmes Africa Solidarité and theInternational Conference on the Great Lakes Region, we brought together more than 100 women from across the region – including the gender ministers of the DRC, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi – in Bujumbura. One upshot of the meeting has been to ensure the consequences of sexual violence are included in the benchmarks we are developing to measure progress in the implementation of the peace agreement.

I feel energised by the leadership shown by the women I met in Bujumbura. They are taking full responsibility for peace, security and development in the region. Reaching across national borders, they are innovative, collegial and practical. I rely on them to hold their leaders to account for the full implementation of the framework of hope.

 

UPDATE FROM THE HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL: LET’S DEMAND A STRONG RESOLUTION ON THE ELIMINATION OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE

A summary of the full article that can be read here

The Canadian draft resolution  – On Preventing and Responding to rape and other forms of Sexual Violence – was tabled in early June by Canada.

WILPF has been monitoring these developments closely and has called on all members of the HRC to work on improving this text and to co-sponsor and vote for this resolution.

The positive elements of the proposal include:

  • The recognition of the importance of women’s participation in the processes as directly contributing to violence prevention;
  • The addressing of root causes, such as harmful attitudes and customs, stereotypes and unequal power relations as well as other important negative factors such as economic dependence of women;
  • Its inclusion of, both manifestations of sexual violence in the public sphere (for ethnic cleansing, for the repression of human rights defenders, in prisons, as a form of torture), as well as in the private sphere (forced marriage and marital rape);
  • The central importance given to women’s access to justic to support redress for survivors but also as a means of prevention through ending impunity; and
  • The inclusion of a detailed list of harmful provisions in law that need to be repealed including those that require corroboration of testimony; enabling perpetrators of rape to escape prosecution and punishing by marrying their victim; and provisions that subject the victims of sexual violence to prosecution for moral crimes or defamation.

There are however some areas that are important that are either not adequately addressed or are omitted from the text

  • The importance of access to emergency contraception and safe abortion
  • The re-inclusion of early text references to SCR1325
  • The importance of early warning indicators
  • The impact of militarization in the spreading of sexual violence and the need to provide an alternative positive concept of masculinity for men and boys are also missing from the text and should be included.

WILPF calls on all members of the HRC to co-sponsor it with the above recommended improvements and vote positively for this resolution and asks for widespread advocacy and support at national and international levels.

Australian Civil Society Dialogue on Women Peace and Security

WILPF members from South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales joined the Canberra Branch members at the Inaugural Annual Civil Society Dialogue on Women, Peace and Security, held at the ANU on Monday 15 April 2013.

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The Purpose of the Annual Dialogue is to:

  • showcase the contribution of civil society organisations to the women, peace and security agenda in the context of UNSCR 1325;
  • facilitate effective dialogue between civil society and the Australian Government on women, peace and security in the context of UNSCR 1325;
  • support shadow reporting on the Australian National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security; and
  • elevate the national discussion on women, peace and security.

This Annual Dialogue  event is a collaboration between  the following organisations

Australian National Committee for UN Women (UN Women Australia)

Australian Council for International Development (ACFID)

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) – Australian Section

The Gender Institute at the Australian National University

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Barbara O’Dwyer from WILPF ACT delivered an Introductory Address on the Women Peace and Security  agenda, to set the scene for the inaugural event.

Further details are available at the ACFID website:  www.acfid.asn.au

Hatred of Women Exists in the West as Well as in the Arab World

This article INTERNATIONAL: Hatred of Women Exists in the West as Well as in the Arab World – News Library – News & Events – PeaceWomen from the SMH was picked up by WILPF international.

‘Women have very little idea of how much men hate them,” wrote Germaine Greer in The Female Eunuch. So outraged were men that wives reportedly took to concealing their copies by wrapping them in plain brown paper.

More than 40 years later, Egyptian-American commentator Mona Eltahawy has caused a storm with her Foreign Policy essay, Why Do They Hate Us? ”They” being Arab men and ”Us” Arab women. Forget America’s so-called inequality, Eltahawy implores, ”The real war on women is in the Middle East.”

Women, she writes, have not benefited from the Arab Spring because they remain oppressed by the men in their lives who consider all is ”well with the world as long as women are covered up, anchored to the home”. ”Until the rage shifts from the oppressors in our presidential palaces to the oppressors in our homes, our revolution has not even begun.”

Eltahawy has also sparked outrage – and a significant proportion of the outrage comes from Arab women.  This article is about that debate.

No one hears the poor – Who will resource the peace process in Afghanistan?

This article, No one hears the poor – On Line Opinion – 31/5/2012. by Kathy Kelly lets us hear from poor afghan women. 

Their lives are an unmitigated struggle for survival in conditions that are hard to imagine – for even one week- let alone a lifetime.

The following extracts provide some perspective on their plight and the spending priorities of the US and its allies:

When asked what they think of the notion that the US is protecting Afghan women, Nekbat says …they are bringing no help. These women have seen no improvement in Afghanistan, and neither, they claim, has anyone they know. They don’t mix in the circles of those most likely to meet and speak with Western journalists, and poverty and the uncertainties of war seem to dictate their lives more surely than any government. The women tell me all foreign money is lost to corruption – no-one in their communities sees it going to the people. Continue reading