A 1325 Success Story

Friday, March 14, 2003


The Office of Gender Affairs (OGA) for the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) has launched a bilingual website, as part of the MONUC website!!!

For English: http://www.monuc.org/gender/
For French: http://www.monuc.org/gender/fr

The website includes:
-Background information on the Office of Gender Affairs
-Activities of local women's organizations (French version)
-A detailed database of civil society organizations that work with the OGA (French version)
-Links to 1325 in 4 local DRC languages
-Links to the Nairobi Declaration, from the Inter-Congolese Dialogue, in 4 local DRC languages
-Links to relevant NGO and UN reports on women and armed conflict, and gender and peacekeeping
-Links to the relevant legal instruments, including CEDAW

For a UN Wire news story about the launch of this website, click here

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(March 3-14, 2003)

The 47th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, held at New York Headquarters, officially ended today. The 2-week long UN Commission focused, this year, on two thematic issues:

1. Participation and access of women to the media, and information and communication technologies and their impact on and use as an instrument for the advancement and empowerment of women
2. Women's human rights and elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls as defined in the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome document of the Special Session for the General Assembly entitled “Women: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century.”

For recent statements, and press releases from CSW, visit: http://www.peacewomen.org/un/ecosoc/csw.html

For background information on CSW, visit: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/index.html#functions

Another useful website for information and updates on CSW is Women's GlobalNet produced by the International Women's Tribune Center at: http://www.iwtc.org/

To allow for time to gather feedback and summaries from those who participated in the numerous events for CSW, we will feature CSW in the next issue of the newsletter. Until then, we have highlighted, below, a number of news stories from UN Wire:

U.N. Panel Approves Resolution On World Body's Gender Policies
March 14, 2003 – (UN Wire) The U.N. Commission on the Status of Women yesterday approved a resolution that would have the Economic and Social Council ask the U.N. secretary general to report on remaining gaps in the U.N. system in gender equality policies and mainstreaming gender perspectives into all U.N. policies and programs.

U.N. Commission on the Status of Women Considers Text On Afghanistan
March 12, 2003 – (UN Wire) Acting on behalf of the European Union, Greece yesterday introduced a U.N. Commission on the Status of Women draft under which the U.N. Economic and Social Council would call on Afghanistan's transitional government to enact reforms to counter discrimination against women and girls, including the repeal of legislation that entails sex discrimination.

U.N. Commission on the Status of Women Considers Roots Of Violence
March 6, 2003 – (UN Wire) The U.N. Commission on the Status of Women continued its session at U.N. headquarters in New York this week with meetings on legislation aimed at ending social and economic inequalities and stopping the causes of domestic violence and the trafficking of women.

U.N. Commission Told Women's Rights Crucial For Development
March 4, 2003 – (UN Wire) The 47th session of the Commission on the Status of Women opened in New York yesterday with speakers noting the critical role of gender equality in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and urging a move from policy development to implementation.

Commission's 47th Session Opens With Focus On Media, Violence
March 3, 2003 – (UN Wire) The U.N. Commission on the Status of Women's 47th session begins today with a focus on the issues of women and the media and violence against women.

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Rights Groups Accuse U.N. Of Lax Prosecution Of 1994 Rwanda Rapes
March 13, 2003 – (UN Wire) A coalition of human rights groups on Tuesday accused the United Nations of making little effort to prosecute rapes alongside other crimes committed during Rwanda's 1994 genocide.
For a news release (dated March 10th) issued by Rights and Democracy, the coordinating institution of the Coalition on Women's Human Rights in Conflict Situations, visit:

Refugee Women Embrace Self-help on International Women's Day
March 12, 2003 - (UNHCR) Kountaya camp exploded in song and dance last Saturday as Sierra Leonean and Liberian refugee women gathered at the camp in Guinea's Albadaria district to mark International Women's Day, which was observed all over the world on March 8.

Israeli and Palestinian Women Talk About Peace
March 11, 2003 – (WEnews) Two prominent Middle Eastern peace activists--one Israeli, one Palestinian--believe that solutions would be found if women were invited to the Middle East peace talks.

Perpetuation of Warlordism in Afghanistan Detrimental to Security for Women
March 10, 2003 – (Rights and Democracy-Press Release) Once again gender apartheid is being instituted in grave violations of the human rights of girls and women in Afghanistan. This time, the attacks are coming from warlords. Like hooliganism, vandalism and barbarism, warlordism threatens the security and stability of post-Taliban Afghanistan.

UNITA ''Wives'' Fear Exclusion from Government Aid
March 10, 2003 - (IRIN) "Everyday I watch people leave Benfica. I am afraid that one day it will just be me and my sons left here. What will happen to us then?" asked Elisa Rebeca. "I was not a fighter but my husband was. I hope the government will remember me and my children."

Women Call for Peace in Liberia- Threaten Legal Action
March 10, 2003 – (The News-Monrovia) Liberian women have called on the Government and the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) to cease the hostilities in order for them to have a peace that would enable their children to go to school without any fear or intimidation to prepare themselves for the development of their country.

Mary Day Kent
March 9, 2003 – (The Philadelphia Inquirer) In a perverse way, you'd think a climate of war might bring brighter days for groups such as the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

Afghan Women's Lot Improving But Still Poor, U.N. Report Says
March 7, 2003 – (UN Wire) Despite important gains in the classroom and the workplace since the fall of the Taliban, Afghan women still endure considerable oppression in the form of violence, intimidation and restricted participation in public life, according to a U.N. report issued yesterday.
For the full report, visit: http://www.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/vID/12954335D77E0DDDC1256CDF00482910?...

Four Top Women Reporters To Discuss War And Conflict
February 28, 2003 – (ILO-Press Release) The International Labour Organization (ILO) will mark International Women's Day on 7 March this year with a discussion by four award-winning women journalists on war and conflict, and the special challenges it poses to them and other women.

Women, War and Reconciliation in Angola
February 27, 2003 (IRIN) - "I came here to the quartering area to try and find my husband, the father of my children," Celita Vasco says. "But when I arrived here I heard that my husband had died in the war. My children have no father."

For More News please see: http://www.peacewomen.org/news/newsindex.html

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Women and War
Special Report of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
March 2003

To mark International Women's Day, March 8th, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) released their special report on Women and War, an update of ICRC's actions since the publication of the 1998 Women Facing War study, as well as an opportunity to highlight the continuing abuse and suffering of women during war, and the continued lack of respect for the many laws that exist to protect them.

Below is the preface to the 23-page report by Charlotte Lindsey, Head of Women and War Project:

The specific situation of women affected by armed conflict was one of the issues addressed by the 27th International Red Cross and Red Crescent Conference (Geneva, October 1999). The ICRC took this opportunity to pledge that it would take appropriate action to assess and address the specific protection, health and assistance needs of women and girls affected by armed conflict to alleviate the plight of the most vulnerable. It insisted on the need for all parties to a conflict to respect women and girls, and emphasized that all forms of sexual violence are prohibited.

Despite a full panoply of laws to protect women in war, including international humanitarian law, human rights law and refugee law, women continue to suffer unnecessarily in wartime, because the laws that are meant to protect them are all too frequently not respected and/or implemented. The ICRC is determined to increase its efforts to ensure that these laws are implemented and it will continue to strengthen, where necessary, its action in favour of women affected by armed conflict.

The title of the ICRC study on the impact of armed conflict on women, and the accompanying video, is Women facing War. For the ICRC, this title summed up the fact that women are faced with the day-to-day consequences of hostilities in trying to go about their lives, and facing the dangers, obstacles and losses in trying to hold together their lives and those of their families, as well as the fact that some women face war as members of armed forces or groups. The Women facing War study describes the numerous initiatives that the ICRC has undertaken to try to ensure and reinforce observance of legal instruments designed to protect women and girls affected by armed conflict and is endeavoring to ensure that its conclusions and recommendations are translated into action.
Just as the situation faced by women in wartime varies from place to place and from context to context so too do the responses needed to assist and protect women who have suffered or who are suffering from their exposure to war. The situations and contexts faced by these women are often unique and each needs to be assessed in its own right; programmes therefore are often required to be tailored to the specific realities that the ICRC encounters in its assessments in the field. In practical terms this means, for example, that a programme in one country to assist women who have survived sexual violence may not be appropriate in another country (and sometimes even within different parts of the same country).

The ICRC's commitment to Women and War is just as strong - if not stronger - today than it was in 1998 when the study was initiated. Its work for women facing war will continue. Yet, the fact remains that women are suffering unnecessarily in wartime. Why? For the simple reason that the laws to protect them, of which there are many, are all too frequently disregarded. The challenge is to increase respect for and implementation of these laws.

For the full report, visit: http://www.icrc.org./Web/Eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/5KCDYC or PDF

To read an ICRC news release about the report, click here

To view an ICRC photo collection entitled “Women and War: ‘Points of View' on the ICRC website, click here

For a comprehensive annotated bibliography of books, articles and analyses on women's peace theory and activities, as well as NGO position papers, reports, speeches, statements and tools for organisational building. Please go to: http://www.peacewomen.org/resources/resindex.html

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Women Say 'Yes' To Disarmament by Peaceful Means
NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security and 216 co-signers
March 5, 2003

This statement, along with 216 signatures, was emailed and faxed to all Security Council members, and was also read as an NGO intervention to the Commission on the Status of Women:

FROM: NGO WORKING GROUP ON WOMEN PEACE AND SECURITY and the undersigned participants of the CSW 47th Session


The NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security and women assembled for the 47th session of the Commission on the Status of Women undersigned below, commend the Security Council on its efforts to give "a real chance to peaceful settlement of the current crisis." (Memorandum 24 Feb 2003) between the United States and Iraq.

We share the grave concern that any pre-emptive violence will serve to generate further violent retaliation and abuse of human rights. We support non-violent solutions through dialogue, broad consultation and diplomatic negotiation, which in accordance with UNSC Resolution 1325, includes engagement with representative women as negotiators for a peaceful solution to the current crisis.
We note that despite the request made to the UN Security Council at the Arria Formula meeting on 23rd October 2002, there has been no consultation by the UNSC with women in the region, though we commend the efforts of some European parliamentarians who talked with local women on their recent mission to Baghdad.

Illegality of Military Intervention into Iraq
1. Any vote in the Security Council by any number in support of military intervention in Iraq will be a vote of the coalition of the coerced. Any vote to permit a military attack on Iraq to take place would be in violation of Article 1 (1) of the UN Charter which is the highest authority of the United Nations. Any measure taken to disarm Iraq must conform to Justice and International Law.

UNSC Disarmament by Peaceful Means
We call upon the UN Security Council:
2. To support the continued robust and unhindered weapons inspection regime in the disarmament process in Iraq. Organize direct high-level diplomatic talks with regard to negotiations for disarmament.
3. To hold in-depth talks with representative members of Iraqi civil society to discuss viable options for conflict prevention and transformation. In accordance with Resolution 1325 and the October 2002 report of the Secretary General on Women Peace & Security, this process must ‘ensure consultation with women's groups and networks'.

Safe-Guarding Peace & International Democracy
4. We reiterate the request that the UN Security Council respond to the civilians it represents internationally by taking into account the opinion of millions of individuals who have expressed their opposition to pre-emptive attacks and war during peace demonstrations in the month of February alone.
5. We request that the UN support the Democratic Iraq Initiative, which has been welcomed by leading Arab intellectuals and Iraqis. We recognize that the Iraqi people and in particular women as caring providers in times of crisis suffer under the oppressive regime of Hussein and have suffered during the Gulf War.

To read this statement online, visit: http://www.peacewomen.org/un/ngo/ngostatements/CSWonWar.html

A number of statements were made recently, some during CSW, on Iraq, as well as statements on International Women's Day. To read these many statements, visit: http://www.peacewomen.org/un/ecosoc/csw.html#stat as well as

For a comprehensive annotated bibliography of books, articles and analyses on women's peace theory and activities, as well as NGO position papers, reports, speeches, statements and tools for organisational building. Please go to: http://www.peacewomen.org/resources/resindex.html

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Women's Voices in War Zones: A Writing Contest
Women's WORLD
March 2003-May 2003

What does the term "war zone" mean to you?
Do you live in a war zone or state of terror?
Is it personal or public?
Who is or are the aggressors?
How do you resist?
What keeps you going?
Where does your hope or security lie?
How do you imagine bringing this terror to an end?
Does your government or society or family provide you with security or is it a source of your unease?

To bring forward women's ideas on this subject, and enable them to be heard in the public arena, Women's WORLD, a global free speech network of feminist writers, is initiating a writing contest, co-sponsored by the The Nation Institute.

All women are welcome to participate.
Submissions can be sent to: ratna@wworld.org
Submissions must be received by May 1, 2003

For the full campaign, visit Women's WORLD
For more information about The Nation Institute, click here

For more PeaceWomen campaigns please visit: http://www.peacewomen.org/campaigns/outreachindex.html

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Gender and Small Arms Workshop: Mobilizing for Change
March 27, 1:30-5:00, Ryerson University, Toronto
As part of a two-day Small Arms Working Group Meeting, there will be a special half-day session on gender and small arms. This session will examine, among other things, the small arms issue from a gender perspective, and the role of women in successfully mobilizing action in Brazil, South Africa, and elsewhere. The session will also be an opportunity to strategize how to encourage women's organizations to incorporate small arms issues into their work, as well as encourage other organizations working on peace/small arms to consider gendered aspects of their work. For more information, contact David Lochhead at dlochhea@ryerson.ca or call 416-979-5000 x.6740 .

Women's International Human Rights: Challenges to Physical and Economic Integrity in a Globalized World-2003 Symposium
March 27, 2003, 12:30-5pm, Rutgers School of Law, Newark, free admission
This symposium will be centered upon the “intersection between women's exploitation in the marketplace and their personal safety.” Radhika Coomaraswami, Special Rapporteur on Women and Violence for the UN, will deliver a keynote address on trafficking in women. Panelists will include Leslie Obiora on female genital mutlilation, Donna Coker on the susceptibility of economically exploited women to domestic violence, and Karima Bennoune on the impact of military conflicts on women, among other panelists. For more information, contact The Women's Rights Law Reporter staff at (973)353-5320.

Empowering Women Through Information and Knowledge: From Oral Traditions to ICT
May 30 - June 2, 2003, India
SNDT Women's University Library (Mumbai) and Centre for Women's Development Studies (New Delhi) are hosting this international conference for scholars, researchers, information professionals, activists and policy makers to strategize, network, and encourage collaborative research and development activities. For more information, visit:http://gendwaar.gen.in/

For more calendar events please visit: http://www.peacewomen.org/frame/calendar/calendar.html

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Previous 1325 PeaceWomen E-news can be found on-line at http://www.peacewomen.org/news/1325News/1325ENewsindex.html

At this time the Newsletter is only available in English. The PeaceWomen Team hopes to translate the Newsletter into French and Spanish in the future. If you would not like to receive the English News Letter but would like to be placed on a list when translation is possible please write to 1325news@peacewomen.org.

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Questions, concerns and comments can be sent to 1325news@peacewomen.org. 1325 news and other submissions should be directed to 1325news@peacewomen.org

This edition of the 1325 PeaceWomen E-News Features:

1. A 1325 Success Story: New MONUC Gender Affairs Office Website
2. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW): Update and News
3. 1325 News for PeaceWomen
4. Feature Report: Women and War
5. Feature Statement: Women Say 'Yes' To Disarmament by Peaceful Means
6. Feature Campaign: Women's Voices in War Zones � A Writing Contest
7. Calendar Events for PeaceWomen