Activities Report from the Office of Gender Affairs (OGA) of the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC)

Friday, January 17, 2003


War Horrors Haunt Afghan Women
January 17, 2003 – (IWPR'S Afghan Recovery Report) Thousands of women are suffering from mental illness brought about by their suffering over the last two decades of conflict.

U.N. Says Congolese Rebels Guilty Of Cannibalism, Rape, Torture; More
January 15, 2003 – (UN Wire) The United Nations today confirmed reports that rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have used forced cannibalism, torture, systematic rape and kidnapping as weapons against civilians in the country's northeastern jungles.

UNHCR Trains, Equips Refugee Women in the Central African Republic
January 15, 2003 – (UN Wire) Fifty refugee women began two-year vocational training courses in the Central African Republic Monday as part of a new $80,000 initiative of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Honour killings and domestic violence are depressingly common still in Pakistan
January 9, 2003 (IRIN) - Jamila Khan, (not her real name) was confident when she described her narrow escape from an honour killing in Pakistan's Punjab Province. "Women were always hated in my household. My mother hated having girls," the 25-year-old told IRIN in the Pakistani, capital, Islamabad.

Women to Women Letter Now Online
January 6, 2003- (WILPF) The Women to Women letter, featured in the last newsletter, is now online, both on the WILPF website to be printed (, and in e-petition format so it is even easier to sign!! (

'Code Pink' White House Vigil Continues
December 29, 2002 - (WEnews) It is here that women from across the country have united in protest against an impending war with Iraq. Dubbed "Code Pink"--a play on the President's "Code Red" terrorist alert system--the Women's Peace Vigil began in November, and continues daily, to culminate on International Women's Day in March with a massive women's peace rally.
For more information about Code Pink, visit:

Women in Black Vigil in Tel-Aviv
December 27, 2002 – Gila Svirsky, a member of Women in Black and the Coalition of Women for Peace reports on the Women in Black vigil held in downtown Tel-Aviv. To read her account of the event, visit:

UN Peacekeepers Criticized
December 22, 2002 – (Global Policy Forum) Over the past two years, UN peacekeepers have been involved in numerous sex scandals. Recently, in Eritrea where a third of adults are HIV positive, a UNMEE peacekeeper was involved in making pornographic videos of local people.

To read a BBC story (Porn Scandal Rocks Eritrean Peace Force) about the UNMEE scandal, visit:

3,000 Rwandan Women Await Trials for Genocide
December 20, 2002 – (WEnews) Some 3,000 women are accused of participating in the Rwandan genocide that killed up to 1 million members of the country‚s ethnic minority. Meanwhile, survivors worry about what will happen when some of the accused are returned to the nation's villages.

'If we want to save Africa, we must save Africa's women first', says Annan
December 20, 2002 – (PAMBAZUKA) Africa's women have borne the brunt of caring for the young, the old, the sick and dying, the survival of households, the sustaining of livelihoods and sustaining of the cycle of life itself, says UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Speaking upon receiving an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Cape Town, at Columbia University in New York on December 9, Annan said there was no effective development strategy in which women did not play a central role. When women were fully involved, the benefits could be seen immediately.

For More News please see:

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2. FEATURE ANALYSIS: Excerpts of the Activities Report from the Office of Gender Affairs (OGA) of the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC)
January 10, 2003
Period under review: March-December 2002

The aim of this report, as stated on the first page, is “to give a comprehensive review of the activities of the Office of Gender Affairs (OGA) using concrete examples to foster a better understanding of its role and function in a peacekeeping environment.”

We have included excerpts of the conclusion of the Activities Report below. For the full report, visit:


The content and the scope of the OGA continue to grow. The skepticism, which was exhibited at the outset when the OGA was inaugurated, is slowly giving way to a readiness to listen and get involved in the process of reflection and analysis by many staff members within MONUC and the Congolese population (men and women). Support provided at the highest level of the mission by the SRSG and his Deputy was of major importance for the OGA to gain credibility and respect.

As the staffing profile increased with the arrival of the two UNVs last September, it is hoped that gender considerations in MONUC will take root and be reflected in the programmes and activities reported both by the military and the civilian components of the mission. The Security Council integrated twice a gender concern in its resolution 1445 (2002) for MONUC (in points 12 and 19). This new resolution gives the OGA a justification for expanding its activities and increasing its staffing. In addition, in order to monitor the situation in the sectors, the OGA continues to see the necessity of having a presence in the East where the brunt of conflict is mostly borne by women.

However, the OGA functions without a proper back-up from DPKO in New York and does not know to whom to turn to at HQ for guidance, advices, policy papers, to exchange information and best practices and, therefore, increase its efficiency on the ground. The OGA relies on its own informal network of committed people to get support, information and exchange ideas and views instead of receiving institutional support. This weakness of the system may jeopardize the work of the OGA in the long run since its work is not acknowledged and disseminated outside the mission's area. The OGA monthly reports sent by the mission to DPKO HQ are neither read, nor exploited, and a lack of understanding on the role and function of the OGA continues to prevail at the decision making level among the political circles in New York, thus preventing the institutional integration of a gender dimension in peacekeeping missions.

The Needs of the OGA:

…2. In New York, DPKO headquarters:
In light of the above, it is of the utmost importance for DPKO to get a Senior Gender Adviser posted in the USG's office in New York to provide an institutional backup to the OGAs in peacekeeping missions.

That person should be at the minimum level of P5 to have enough authority when representing DPKO in meetings and when liaising with outside partners. Among other things, the Senior Gender Advisor would be in charge of:

- Setting up a mechanism for communicating with the Senior Gender Advisors and Gender Focal Points in peacekeeping missions;
- Keeping them informed about policies at headquarters and major developments that may affect their work;
- Making sure that there is a flow of information between HQ and the field and that the work of the OGAs is visible and disseminated among key partners;
- Liaising with other UN Departments (OCHA, DPA, DPI), including the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women, UN agencies, NGOs, the Academia and members states;
- Making sure that programmes and activities implemented at the mission's level include a gender concern;
- Making sure that the inputs from the OGAs are integrated into each SG's report;
- And visiting the peacekeeping missions to keep the DPKO USG abreast of concrete developments related to gender mainstreaming with the aim of building up on good practices for future references.

For more information, please contact Amy Smythe, Senior Gender Advisor at (243) 982 78 554,, or Nadine Puechguirbal, Gender Affairs Officer, at (243) 81 509 69 79,

To read the full report online, visit:

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 organizational building, please go to:

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3. FEATURE STATEMENT: Memo from the Kosova Women's Network to the UN Security Council Delegation in Kosovo, December 15, 2002

The Kosova Women's Network is a network of local women's groups, some active since before the war, others organized more recently, who provide a variety of community services including courses, trainings, and psychological support, and address a variety of issues including violence against women, trafficking for prostitution, and low enrolment of girls in school. Many of these groups have been awarded international prizes and honours for their work.

To read more about this network, visit:
To contact the Kosova Women's Network, email:

The memo included below was written by the Kosova Women's Network to the UN Security Council Delegation who visited Kosovo on a 4-day mission in early December 2002:


This memo is written because of the adoption by the UN Security Council of S/RES/1325 concerning the role of women in peace-building and negotiations concerning peace and conflict resolution. With this resolution we are expected to hold our governments accountable. In Kosova, the government is UNMIK. Despite the fact that the UN adopted this resolution, women's representatives and women's groups in Kosova continue to struggle in order to have any voice or involvement in post-conflict decision-making. We have been “fighting” for over three years to persuade the UN administration in Kosova and many international NGOs and international institutions, that we should be recognized as we have great experience and knowledge in peace-building and in communicating across borders and boundaries in difficult and dangerous circumstances.

Our work with groups across ethnic lines is not recognized by the UNMIK or OSCE. And our advocacy on behalf of ethnic groups in certain issues has been clearly rejected. This is because it is a local initiative, whereas UNMIK and OSCE behave as if only they have the authority to work on this and to take ownership. They don't want initiatives independent of them and their control. They want us to believe that only with international money can we make changes. This again means, that women's vital role in peace-building is being ignored, in order that international institutions and individuals can claim credit for actions which have far less effectiveness because they do not come out of genuine community impulses or genuine cross-ethnic contact.

In summary, the UNMIK and OSCE in Kosova, formally in writing, in reports and in speeches promotes the role of local women in decision making regarding conflict and security issues. However, our experience is that this has not been matched by any genuine action. We see a failure to invite and include us in vital meetings particularly at high level. Despite, for example, that local women's groups are the strongest and most committed part of NGO organizing in Kosova, we were not invited to meet with Kofi Annan when he met with civil society groups when he first visited Kosova in October ‘99. We were able to attend only because a member of OSCE got us in at the last moment. (She was dismissed from her job the next day for bringing us in the meeting). When he visited Kosova this year, we were invited only for the reception in his honour. No chance to talk to him face to face.

Last year in June, when the Delegation of the Security Council visited Kosova, UNMIK did not plan for the delegation to meet with women's groups, which reflected that all the UN's resolutions about the role of women in peace and post-conflict decision making, are nothing more than lip service. If it was not for the Ambassador's persistence to meet with us, (Mr. Anwarul Karim Chowdury, Head of Delegation) which we highly appreciate, we would have no chance to give any of our views face to face.

Despite all these meetings with UN High Representatives, UNMIK continues to ignore women's vital role in peace-building.

We really hope and expect that you will hold UNMIK accountable concerning the role of women in peace-building, because of the adoption by the UN Security Council of S/RES/ 1325.


Dear Delegation of the Security Council,

We were invited and had the honour to be present at the reception on your honour last night and we heard your valuable speech, Mr. Ambassador.

You warned us that we have to work toward a multiethnic future of Kosova, as one of the standards for the final status of Kosova.

You will be surprised to know that despite the terrible war in Kosova, we started very soon after the war to work with other ethnic groups in Kosova, including Serbs. But as I mentioned above, UNMIK and OSCE didn't support local initiatives on peace-building.

We, as the Women's Network, helped in trainings and supporting these ethnic groups.

Whenever we asked OSCE for the transport of the Serbian women, they refused to do so, because it was NOT their initiative.

So many times, we drove these women back and forth with the help of the Swedish Organisation Kvinna till Kvinna, who believes in the peac- building process done by the local initiatives.

I need to say, that the way OSCE and UNMIK work is not making easier our work, on the contrary, they make a bigger wall between Albanians and Serbs.

Lately, by the initiative of UNIFEM, local women's NGOs, political women, and women in media worked together on the National Action Plan. This group was not only Albanian women but also Serbian.

The Serbian women asked from us to help them found their Network, which we did.

We helped the founding of the Roma, Ashkali and the Egyptian Women's Network, together with the Kosova Open Society Foundation.

There are very big positive changes in Kosova but obviously you don't hear about them from UNMIK.

We women of Kosova believe that even more positive changes are going to be with the final status of Kosova.

In this way, not only in Kosova but in the whole region is lasting peace possible.

We look forward to a continued debate on these issues to ensure that women are afforded their rightful place at all levels at negotiating tables and we thank you for your time and your willingness to meet with us today

Ms. Igballe Rogova,
Founder and Board Chair,
Kosova Women's Network

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:

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4. RESOURCES FOR PEACEWOMEN: A diversity of new and upcoming resources!

Women On War: An International Anthology of Writings from Antiquity to the Present
by Daniela Gioseffi
Feminist Press
Available March 2003
This anthology compiles the writings of more than 150 women – poets, novelists, journalists, activists, soldiers, nurses, survivors of armed conflict – spanning 2 centuries. Contributors include: Sappho, Isabella Allende, Barbara Kingsolver, Toni Morrison, Emily Dickinson, Marguerite Duras, Slavenka Drakulic and Alice Walker. This anthology is a long-awaited new edition of the original highly acclaimed Women on War that was published in 1988.
To order and for more information visit:

"We'll Kill You If You Cry:" Sexual Violence in the Sierra Leone Conflict
Human Rights Watch
January 2003
This recently released 75-page report details the extreme sexual brutality experienced by Sierra Leone's women and children over the course of the civil conflict, which ended in 2001. Although the rebel groups are responsible for the majority of the sexual crimes committed, the report also mentions cases of sexual violence perpetrated by government forces and international peacekeepers. Despite the intensity and scale of this violence, there has been little international attention and, as of yet, no accountability.
To read this report online, visit:

Women's Rights in Afghanistan: Report of Rights and Democracy's Mission to Afghanistan, September 2002
Prepared by Ariane Brunet and Isabelle Solon Helal
December 6, 2002
This report offers a broad overview of women's rights in Afghanistan, as well as of the social and political context of Afghanistan from a gender perspective, a gendered examination of local, international NGOs, multilateral agencies and the Afghan government, and a number of recommendations regarding peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, women's education and a number of other issues. One question addressed in the report is: “Given the Current Situation, Is it Realistic to Expect Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325?”
This report can be found on the Rights and Democracy website at:

For a comprehensive annotated bibliography of books, articles on and analyses of women's peace theories and activities, as well as NGO position papers, reports, speeches, statements and tools for organisational building, go to:

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National Week of Resistance for Peace and Justice: Call to Action
January 15-20, 2003, Washington DC

These are just a few of the many events that will be taking place during the week and beyond.

Confirmed Events:
January 15 – 20 - Black Voices for Peace calls for local protest actions, educational events and other mobilization activities around the country focusing on Dr. King's legacy of opposing militarism, racism and poverty and linking these three pillars of evil in the struggle for peace and justice.

January 17 - Day of action highlighting the impact of war on women and children. For more information contact 202-299-9100.

January 18 - International ANSWER march and rally.

January 19 - National civil disobedience action at the White House organized by the Iraq Pledge of Resistance and United for Peace and Justice. For more information visit: or email:

January 20 - Black Voices for Peace will sponsor, "Living the Legacy of Action Against Militarism, Racism, and Economic Injustice: A National Workshop and Rally for Peace with Justice. For more information, visit:

January 23-26 – WILPF shift at Code Pink vigil, Lafayette Park, across from the White House.

For more information about these many different events visit:

The ICC Elections and Women: Panel Discussions
January 22, 29, 2003, New York City
The Women's Caucus for Gender Justice, the Project on International Courts and Tribunals and the United Methodist Office for the United Nations are sponsoring panel discussions with the women judicial candidates for the ICC. The panelists will address the establishment of the International Criminal Court, challenges and advances made in the Rome Statute, as well as under-representation of women judges before international courts and tribunals.

Panel I: January 22, 2003, 2-4pm
Opening remarks by Radhika Coomaraswamy, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women

Panel II: January 29, 2003, 2-4pm
Opening remarks by Angela King, United Nations Special Advisor on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women

The panel discussions will take place at 777 UN Plaza, New York City, (the Church Center), 11th Floor. For more information contact Pam Spees (212 675-7648) or Thordis Ingadottir (212 998-3680)

International Women in Black Meeting
August 21-25 2003, Italy
This meeting is still very much in the planning stages. We will feature more about this upcoming meeting when information becomes available. In the meantime, for more information contact Simona Lanzoni at or Anna Valente at

New Master of Arts Degree in Gender and Peace Building
September 2003, Department for Gender and Peace Studies, University for Peace, Costa Rica
This 3-semester MA program (instruction in English) has been designed to address the interaction between gender and peace-building. Topics include: peace and nonviolent transformation of conflict; conflict analysis, resolution and transformation; and economic and developmental aspects of gender and peace.

For more information and the online application form, visit the UPEACE website at: or contact the Office for Academic Administration directly at Application deadline is May 30, 2003.

For more calendar events please visit:

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This edition of the 1325 PeaceWomen E-News Features:

1. 1325 News for PeaceWomen
2. Feature Analysis: Activities Report from the Office of Gender Affairs (OGA) of the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC)
3. Feature Statement: A Memo From the Kosova Women's Network to the UN Security Council Delegation to Kosovo
4. Resources for PeaceWomen: A Diversity of New and Upcoming Resources
5. Calendar Events for PeaceWomen