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Eleven soldiers found culpable in the rape of more than 50 women in the Congolese town of Fizi Centre in January, have begun serving lengthy sentences in the provincial capital, Bukavu. Their speedy trial and sentencing by a mobile court is a welcome sign of a new commitment to ending impunity for sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
There are signs of positive action to counter the culture of gender-based violence in Katanga province in the southeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC.
Perhaps the most significant step taken in recent months has been the creation of a new police unit to protect young women and girls, which was officially inaugurated in the provincial capital Lubumbashi on April 21.
Libyan exile Shahrazad Kablan was teaching school in Cincinnati when the uprising against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi began in her hometown, Benghazi. She put her house on the market and within weeks had moved to Qatar, where she hosted a taboo-busting show on the pro-rebel Libya TV.
On Wednesday night she was in Manhattan, drumming up support among women's rights activists for the long slog ahead as Libya rebuilds.
Aisha Gdour, a school psychologist, smuggled bullets in her brown leather handbag. Fatima Bredan, a hairdresser, tended wounded rebels. Hweida Shibadi, a family lawyer, helped NATO find airstrike targets.
Among the issues facing women in southern Sudan are high rates of poverty, illiteracy and maternal mortality. Bringing those numbers down by 2015 is the aim of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs.
In spite of advances, discrimination against women persists in laws and in practice. Many women suffer numerous forms of discrimination and limited access to rights, resources and opportunities. This is a moment to celebrate but, simultaneously, a time to mourn for women. Celebrate, for finding a better place and entity in the bureaucratic system of the UN.
With the United Nations peacekeeping forces set to begin a pull-out in coming months, women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have little reason to see the move as a sign of increased personal security, experts warn.
Their likelihood of becoming victims of heinous rape crimes remains high. Impunity in the country only worsens their chances of falling prey to those using sexual violence as a weapon of war.
Rwanda's FDU-Inkingi Party leader, peace and social justice activist Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, spoke to Ann Garrison for Womens' International News Gathering Service (WINGS) in July 2010, near the close of Rwanda's 2010 presidential election year, which was really an election stage play complete with election observers from the U.S. and the U.K. Incumbent Rwandan President Paul Kagame was “re-elected” on Aug.
2010 - the year of the tenth anniversary of UNSCR 1325- is a time for new beginnings. I have recently begun as the new PeaceWomen Project Associate in the UN Office of WILPF and have the honor of continuing the work of Sam Cook. The PeaceWomen Project will also launch our new modernized website in April.
Sam Cook & Felicity Hill
The PeaceWomen Team
This edition of the PeaceWomen E-News focuses on women, peace and security issues in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The issues dealt with in this context find reflection in many parts of the world. As can be seen from our news stories (Item 2) these range from sexual violence in conflict to women's participation in peace processes, elections and government.
1. COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN 48TH SESSION: UPDATE
March 1-12, 2004, United Nations Headquarters, New York, USA
Important dates and times:
Wednesday, 31 December 2003:
Last day for CSW registration for ECOSOC-accredited NGOs. To register your organization, visit: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/csw48/register/
1. CELEBRATING THE 1ST ANNIVERSARY OF 1325 PEACEWOMEN E-NEWSThis edition of the 1325 PeaceWomen E-News Features:
Abigail Ruane is Manager of the PeaceWomen Programme of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).
In January, people in Southern Sudan are due to vote in a referendum on independence.
The option to secede was part of a peace deal signed in 2005 which ended decades of civil war between the north and the south.
Southern Sudan faces immense challenges - the war prevented development from taking place and there are very few job opportunities in the south.
As a physician and politician in Iraq, Dr. Nara Ibrahim is no stranger to risking her life in the name of progress. “As a female politician, I was subject to killing threats. Some of my friends and colleagues were kidnapped and killed,” she said calmly, adding intently, “I hope for a better future.”