Tag Archives: redefine security

F35 damned as a boondoggle: at Defence HQ SpeakOut

The Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) will be marked by an open mike SpeakOut outside Defence HQ

12.30 – 2.00 pm am Monday 14 April 2014
Blamey Square, Russell, ACT.

GDAMS coincides with the release by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) of their annual statistics on global military spending which reached $US 1.75 Trillion in 2012.

At present the Australian government spends $26.5 billion pa on the ADF. But at a time when the Abbott government is slashing spending to health, education and environment, a military White Paper is claiming more military spending is necessary.”

“From nowhere, the arbitrary figure of 2% of GDP has been hailed as essential by the military and its think tank advocates,” said SpeakOut organiser Graeme Dunstan of Peacebus.com. “This translates as an extra $8 billion a year. But the White Paper is urging even more spending – a staggering $50 billion pa.”

“And this after 12 years of a failed and costly war in Afghanistan – it cost Australia taxpayers $7.5 million!” exclaims Mr Dunstan.

“There appears to be no end to the spending aspirations of the military and the greed of its armament suppliers.”

“Time to rethink the role of the military and to employ non violent means to resolve regional conflict,” he said. “Let the lessons of the costly failures of following the US into imperial wars be learned. Non violent resolution to conflict is known to be less costly and more enduring.”

Also under fire at the GDAMS SpeakOut @ Defence HQ will be the recently confirmed $7.74 billion acquisition program of the F35 Strike Fighter by the RAAF, the most costly ADF acquisition ever.

“To ADF we will be saying loud and clear that this war plane is unnecessary and wasteful. That it is a fraudulent project designed to make shareholders in Lockheed Martin, the world’s biggest war profiteer – about $2.7 billion annually – even richer by stripping funds from health, education and environment in Australia and elsewhere,” said Mr Dunstan.

“Even promoters of the project such as Lockheed Martin’s salesman, Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan, admit the F35 has ‘reliability and maintainability’ problems.”

Some countries who initially signed up for the project such as Italy and Canada are hesitating and dropping out because of the ballooning unit costs. A Canadian government audit estimates that the “cradle-to-grave” bill to taxpayers for buying and operating 65 of the F-35 warplane will exceed $600 million per unit. Which is way in excess of the $90 million per unit presently toted as the cost to Australian taxpayers.

“This war plane is a flying lemon and a boondoggle,” concludes Mr Dunstan.

“The project has had no public assessment of its usefulness to Australian defence needs and one has to ask how much of the $US14.4 million spent annually by Lockheed Martin lobbyists is being spent buying the Abbott government,” says Mr Dunstan.

Further information
Graeme Dunstan, Peacebus.com 0407 951 688

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.

Reconceptualising Peace and Security: We can’t just add women and stir

This is an edited version of an address by Jo Hayter, Executive Director of International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA)[1] at the Annual Civil Society Dialogue on Women, Peace and Security. Canberra, Australia 2013

photo-18 IWDA sees UNSCR 1325 as much more than a framework for ‘adding women in’, central though women’s participation is.  Real integration of women’s voices and gender analysis must include the opportunity to shape how peace and security are defined and prosecuted, not just taking up seats at the table once all the framing decisions have been made.

When women are not part of determining the scope and terms of discussion, they remain essentially ‘other’, invited in to contribute on terms they have not helped to define. This is not equality.

This understanding shapes our thinking about the role and potential of the ‘normative’ pillar of the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. This pillar is about change in the conceptualisation of peace and security, and in the institutions and processes through which it is pursued, so that women have equal and full involvement in defining policies, frameworks, norms and expectations, priorities and processes. This is the transformative vision at the heart of UNSCR 1325. It is also the benchmark against which we can assess the adequacy and legitimacy of action to implement the NAP.

Government actions to achieve this pillar

So, how does IWDA see the government’s actions to achieve the ‘normative’ pillar of the NAP?

The NAP at the moment is a government plan, which measures success of each strategy through the particular government agencies responsible.  Although the plan embraces and articulates the important role that civil society plays, we are not presently a part of that accountability.

IWDA would like to recommend that as this plan evolves, non-government agencies are also delegated responsibilities within each of the strategies. This will bring national collaborative action across sectors and beyond stand-alone dialogues with civil society each year.

We’ve heard today great examples of Australia‘s response in relation to diversifying security workforces and improving awareness of the gender dimension of women, peace and security. We can see the investment being made for training in the institutions of police and defence, both here and off shore.

photo-24                                                If the NAP is to transform how Australia thinks about and pursues peace and security, by integrating gender considerations in the comprehensive way that the NAP envisages, then it needs to be complemented by more detailed implementation planning at departmental level.  Then the Government will be able to illustrate what has been achieved with numbers about participation in training, statistics about women’s representation in particular activities or within particular security agencies, and some great stories of specific initiatives that have made a difference.

This approach, however, makes it much harder to point to the institutionalised changes that bring gender analysis into how Australia defines security, in the range of institutions and stakeholders identified as key to peace and security, and in how peace and security are prosecuted.  We will have seen changes – but not changed the way we see and do security. If our focus remains located primarily in this institutional space ‑ i.e. Govt and UN ‑ we will limit our access to the expertise and experience of those most closely connected to and invested in preventing conflict and sustaining peace.

This plan provides a starting point for much deeper dialogue about how we as a nation progress human security.  About how we shift from a national security mindset to one that identifies human security as the objective and the nation as a means of pursuing that objective.  About how we reflect in policy frameworks, institutions and processes the understanding that peace and security is about more than what governments do.

What is IWDA doing to implement this pillar?

IWDA’s work implementing UNSCR 1325 runs from program support for organisations working to improve women’s status and voice, to support for women’s organisations and networks raising awareness of women’s rights and the specifics of UNSC1325 among communities and leaders, to support for specific initiatives that enable women’s voices to be heard in defining the nature of peace and security and their priorities.

IWDA works in the peace and security space every day and in every program so it difficult to summarise this in today’s session. I can share a couple of examples that illustrate our long term partnerships with women’s organisations and networks in Fiji, and along the Thai Burma border.

In Fiji, IWDA has supported Fem’LINKPACIFIC’s work in urban and rural community media since 2001, helping to ensure that there are participatory and interactive processes that link rural women’s networks with a range of human security iinitiatives, and ensure women’s voices are heard on issues of peace and security.  This enables and supports rural women to engage proactively in the process of democratization, including constitutional submissions and the Fiji activities of the Regional Women’s Media and Policy Network on UNSCR 1325.  Fem’LINKPACIFIC’s community radio, television simulcasts and mainstream media strategies continue to raise the level of awareness about human security priorities for women in Fiji and increasingly the broader region.

We also support the full membership of the Fiji Women’s Forum, as they seek to influence the development of the national constitution under difficult and dynamic circumstances, in the lead up to the first democratic elections since the last coup in 2006.

In Myanmar and along the Border there is a real risk that the women, peace and security agenda will take a back seat in the rush to support and build on recent reforms and the unprecedented Foreign Direct Investment. I am not saying that economic development is not important, but rather, that unless there is a parallel and equal commitment to the principles of participation, equality and voice enshrined in 1325, this development may well be at the expense of the rights and futures of women who have been displaced from their lands by conflict and abuse. Abuse that represent crimes against humanity and crimes of war such as rape, trafficking, enforced prostitution or sexual slavery.

Our work accelerates women’s leadership, research and evidence gathering on men’s VAW, CEDAW shadow reporting and research, and mobilisation for dialogue that is developing strategies and plans for peace building and democracy.

Our partners have underlined to IWDA the importance of meaningfully addressing women’s experiences of violence during conflict and through reconciliation processes. We invoke the intent of 1325 as we test the extent of progress in Burma/Myanmar by continuing to advocate for women’s central participation as non-negotiable and one of the markers we should expect of progress.

Australia’s election to the Security Council, which came after the NAP’s release, provides the opportunity to demonstrate what the commitment to UNSCR 1325 means for how Australia pursues peace and security through its two-year term.

Over the next two years the Australian Government can model what this recognition means, by establishing an ongoing advisory mechanism that brings gender considerations and the collective voice of women ‑ the women’s movement ‑ into Australia’s day to day work on the Security Council. This is what routine integration looks like.  Without it, I believe we should be at the point where the absence of women’s voice and representation, and the absence of gender analysis, renders the process of decision-making, and the decisions themselves, illegitimate. What is the point of having a National Action Plan that ‘stresses the importance of women’s equal participation and full involvement’, if it doesn’t come into play on the issues of peace and security that matter most?

From policy to practice and from action to measuring impact of influence, it is crucial that we bring the advocates for women, peace and security into dialogue with the institutions of state.

The Office for Women, even if it were appropriately resourced, is not the women’s movement.  The National Alliances have a role to play, but they have diverse interests and while some members are very focused on women, peace and security, many are not. I believe we need to establish a small group of representatives linked to organisations that have a core focus on women, peace and security, to provide ongoing input to Australia’s Security Council delegation, alongside departmental advice.

So let me conclude with a comment about transformation.

The Normative pillar of the NAP is centred on raising awareness of and developing policy frameworks to progress women, peace and security and integrate a gender perspective throughout. Today, there has been a sharp focus on women and girls – which is crucial – but much of the NAP is framed within a definitional space that sees security as a matter of state rather than an issue of broader human security or personal violence. The Plan speaks to human security but is linked to institutions that are ultimately empowered for interests of national security. The success of implementing the normative pillar over the next 5 years is dependent on gender analysis from men and women that goes beyond participation to transform the structures and rules of engagement.


[1] IWDA is an Australian development agency focused entirely on women’s right and gender equality.  Women, peace and security is central to IWDA’s work, from addressing human rights violations in the home, to supporting the work of its women partners to shape national, regional and international priorities regarding women, peace and security.

Safety and security is one of IWDA’s four thematic priorities, and its activities reflect the understanding that to be meaningful, safety and security must operate as a continuum, from the home to the world.  IWDA’s work here is intrinsically linked to support for women’s civil and political participation and emergence as leaders.

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

New Book: Regulation of Sexual Conduct in UN Peacekeeping Operations

Author: O. Simic, Griffith University, QLD, Springer Books 2012

▶Six suggestions to the UN as how to address consensual sexual relationships in future policies

▶Comprehensive legal inquiry into definition of sexual exploitation employed by the UN

▶Global administrative law in practice

▶Feminist critique of soft law Empirical inquiry Interdisciplinary research

This book critically examines the response of the United Nations (UN) to the problem of sexual exploitation in UN Peace Support Operations. It assesses the Secretary-General’s Bulletin on Special Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (2003) (SGB) and its definition of sexual exploitation, which includes sexual relationships and prostitution. With reference to people affected by the policy (using the example of Bosnian women and UN peacekeepers), and taking account of both radical and ‘sex positive’ feminist perspectives, the book finds that the inclusion of consensual sexual relationships and prostitution in the definition of sexual exploitation is not tenable. The book argues that the SGB is overprotective, relies on negative gender and imperial stereotypes, and is out of step with international human rights norms and gender equality. It concludes that the SGB must be revised in consultation with those affected by it, namely local women and peacekeepers, and must fully respect their human rights and freedoms, particularly the right to privacy and sexuality rights.

Gender and the Arms Trade Treaty Negotiations During July 2012

 On 2–27 July 2012, all UN member states will gather in New York for the negotiation of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Reaching Critical Will and WILPF have been involved in following the proceedings and advocating for a strong treaty since 2006, at the start of the process leading up to negotiations. WILPF believes that an ATT should not merely be used as a procedural authorization of arms transfers. It should be a strong tool with the primary purpose of preventing armed conflict, preventing the violation of human rights and international humanitarian law, and seriously reducing the culture and economy of militarism. A strong ATT can help build the foundations for not just the regulation but also the reduction of the arms trade, along with the reduction of militarism throughout politics and society, reduction of military spending, and redirection of economic resources.

WILPF—along with Amnesty Internationalthe Women’s Network of the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), and Religions for Peace—has consistently called for the inclusion of a specific gender criterion in the negotiated text. We have launched a Joint Policy Paper on Gender and the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which outlines our position. If the ATT is to be an effective legal instrument in regulating the international arms trade, recognition of the potential gendered impacts of international transfers must also be included.

We are calling for a specific criterion in the treaty to “require States not to authorize an international transfer of conventional arms where there is a substantial risk that the arms under consideration are likely to be used to perpetrate or facilitate acts of gender-based violence, including rape and other forms of sexual violence.

WILPF Sections and members are asked to support this call by taking action in your own countries before the final negotiations in July 2012:

1. Your section can endorse the call for a criteria – click here >>
2. Lobby your government at national level – See template letter >>
3. Share the campaign and paper with your contacts (by email, facebook, twitter etc).
4. Let us know what you/your section is doing so we can share.

During negotiations, Reaching Critical Will will monitor the negotiating conference and provide analysis and advocacy. As with the four preparatory committees leading up to these negotiations, RCW will be posting statements and documents online and will coordinate, edit, and contribute to a daily newsletter, the ATT Monitor. You can subscribe to receive the ATT Monitor each day during the negotiations.

Side events

WILPF will be co-hosting two side events on the topic of including gender in the ATT process during the ATT negations in July. The first event will provide a greater legal understanding as to why the ATT should specifically include a risk assessment criterion on sexual and gender-based violence and how to apply such a criterion in practice. The second  event will discuss important ways in which two treaties—the ATT and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of discrimination against Women (CEDAW)—can work to address violence against women.

In addition, the WILPF International Secretariat has invited four WILPF Sections to participate in a one-day training session that will focus on enhancing the work on a national level concerning arms trade and military expenditure. The training will include drawing up plans for national project and coordinating such projects with an international strategy, and will have a specific focus on fundraising and how to interact with governments on a national level.

WILPF hopes that through these events we will enhance the capacity amongst WILPF Sections to work on arms trade and military expenditure, in particular in countries that are either big arms exporters or countries where armed conflict leads to violations of human rights.

Resources

For more information about the ATT, please see RCW’s website. In addition, an updated toolkit for WILPF Sections is now available. The toolkit includes background information on the ATT, talking points to be considered when meeting with your national representatives, and materials and resources from WILPF and other NGOs working on achieving a robust and meaningful arms trade treaty. We hope you find it useful in your work against the international arms trade.

THIS INFORMATION WAS EMAILED BY Ms. Ray Acheson, Project Director, Reaching Critical Will
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

Rio 20: IPPF Condemns Disregard for Reproductive Rights | Think Africa Press

There are many reasons to be disappointed about the progress  made – or lack of  – it at Rio+20.  This article Rio 20: IPPF Condemns Disregard for Reproductive Rights | Think Africa Pressadds the sidelining of women’s reproductive rights to that list.

Many reproductive rights groups believe that the capacity for women to make free and open choices about whether, when, and how often to have children is absolutely central to any consideration of sustainability.  But once again reproductive rights had been sidelined the outcome document of Rio+20

Observers say that while the document supports a generalised intent to address the needs of women including information on, and access to, sexual and reproductive health services, there is no reference to reproductive rights and no recognition of the link between reproductive rights and sustainable development.

“No useful debate on sustainable development can afford to ignore reproductive rights. A woman’s right to protect herself from unwanted pregnancy – should she so wish – has immense health, social, educational and economic impacts, personally and globally. And yet, today, over 215 million women worldwide do not have that right. They do not have access to contraception. They are denied rights and choice.”