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  • The inclusion of a detailed list of harmful provisions in law that need to be repealed including those that require corroboration of testimony; enabling perpetrators of rape to escape prosecution and punishing by marrying their victim; and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.


Moving Beyond Militarism & War: Women-driven Solutions for a Nonviolent World

We are very excited to invite you to join us online from May 28-30 for the Nobel Women’s Initiative’s fourth biennial conference, Moving Beyond Militarism & War: Women-driven solutions for a nonviolent world. The conference – hosted in Belfast by Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire – will for the first time bring together all six Laureates of the Nobel Women’s Initiative. They will be joined by over 80 influential activists, academics, and decision makers from across the globe whose work focuses on ending militarism and war with nonviolent strategies for peace.

War, militarism, and violence affect communities around the world on a horrific scale. Of those affected by conflict, women are often among the most vulnerable and marginalized. Alarmingly, militarism and war are on the rise; the last two decades have witnessed a steady rise in global military spending while funding is diverted from critical social services such as healthcare and education. In particular, sexual violence, inequality, environmental destruction, and natural resource conflicts jeopardize women’s security.

Moving Beyond Militarism & War: Women-driven solutions for a nonviolent world will explore the root causes and effects of militarism and war, as well as the nonviolent strategies women are undertaking in bringing about change. While often the most marginalized by war and violence, women are also at the forefront of creative and innovative nonviolent action. By listening, learning, and amplifying women’s voices, we hope to bring attention to the gendered impacts of war and violence and advance global movements for peace.
Click here for more information on the international conference, “Moving Beyond Militarism & War: Women-driven Solutions for a Nonviolent World”.

Making History: 15 May 2013 New Drone capability: The future of warfare slides in under the radar



                                                                     This is a photo of the US Navy X-47B drone the size of a fighter jet that took off from the deck of an American aircraft carrier for the first time in a test flight that could eventually open the way for the US to launch unmanned aircraft from just about any place in the world.

The X-47B is the first drone designed to take off and land on an aircraft carrier, meaning the US military would not need permission from other countries to use their bases.

The move to expand the capabilities of US drones comes amid growing criticism of America’s use of Predators and Reapers to gather intelligence and carry out lethal missile attacks against terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen.

Critics in the US and abroad have charged that drone strikes cause widespread civilian deaths and are conducted with inadequate oversight but defence analysts say drones are the future of warfare.

The Campaign to stop Killer Robots, launched on April 23 in London, is an international coalition of civil society groups working pre-emptively to ban autonomous robot weapons that would have the ability to select and attack targets without human intervention.  Their goal is to secure this prohibition through an international treaty, as well as through national laws and other measures. note:  WILPF is a member organisation of this coalition

Meanwhile The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns has prepared a report on this subject which is due to be presented to the 23rd session of the UN Human Rights Council on 29 May 2013.

This Report on Lethal Autonomous Robots outlines the situation to date with robotics and looks at the problems, challenges and far reaching implications for the protection of human life. during war and peace. “This includes the question of the extent to which they can be programmed to comply with the requirements of international humanitarian law and the standards protecting life under international human rights law. Beyond this, their deployment may be unacceptable because no adequate system of legal accountability can be devised, and because robots should not have the power of life and death over human beings.

The report calls on all states to

  • Place a national Moratorium on Lethal Autonomous Robotics (LARS)
  • Declare unilaterally and through nultilateral for a – a commitment to abide by international humanitarian law and international human rights las in all activities surrounding robotic weapons and to put in place and implement rigorous processes to ensure compliance at all stages of development
  • Commit to being as transparent as possible about internal weapons review processes, including metrics used to test robotic systems.
  • Participate in international debate and trans-government dialogue on the issue of LARS

The report conclusion is provided below.

There is clearly a strong case for approaching the possible introduction of LARs with great caution. If used, they could have far-reaching effects on societal values, including fundamentally on the protection and the value of life and on international stability and security. While it is not clear at present how LARs could be capable of satisfying IHL and IHRL requirements in many respects, it is foreseeable that they could comply under certain circumstances, especially if used alongside human soldiers. Even so, there is widespread concern that allowing LARs to kill people may denigrate the value of life itself. Tireless war machines, ready for deployment at the push of a button, pose the danger of permanent (if low-level) armed conflict, obviating the opportunity for post-war reconstruction. The onus is on those who wish to deploy LARs to demonstrate that specific uses should in particular circumstances be permitted. Given the far-reaching implications for protection of life, considerable proof will be required. 
If left too long to its own devices, the matter will, quite literally, be taken out of human hands. Moreover, coming on the heels of the problematic use and contested justifications for drones and targeted killing, LARs may seriously undermine the ability of the international legal system to preserve a minimum world order. 
Some actions need to be taken immediately, while others can follow afterwards. If the experience with drones is an indication, it will be important to ensure that transparency, accountability and the rule of law are placed on the agenda from the start. Moratoria are needed to prevent steps from being taken that may be difficult to reverse later, while an inclusive process to decide how to approach this issue should occur simultaneously at the domestic, intra-State, and international levels. 
To initiate this process an international body should be established to monitor the situation and articulate the options for the longer term. The ongoing engagement of this body, or a successor, with the issues presented by LARs will be essential, in view of the constant evolution of technology and to ensure protection of the right to life to prevent both individual cases of arbitrary deprivation of life as well as the devaluing of life on a wider scale.

The evolution of a global peace system

The terrible violence in Gaza has had many of us wondering if there will ever be any sustainable progress  towards building a peaceful and just settlement in this region.  For this reason I am posting this video as a bit of an antidote.  It was  sourced from Kevin Clements a dedicated Quaker peace scholar and activist.

Sometimes stepping back and taking a longer term view of things can provide a fresh and perhaps more hopeful perspective.

It was produced by the War Prevention Initiative of the Jubitz Family Foundation and based on historian Kent Shifferd’s “From War to Peace“.   This slideshow describes 28 trends leading to the evolution of a global peace system.

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