2013; the year in review: Remembering Mandela, Launching PW mobile app-- PeaceWomen E-News, December 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

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"Reconciliation means working together to correct the legacy of past injustice,” in the words of Madiba, Nelson Mandela, who shined as an example and symbol of forgiveness and reconciliation. At his passing, we reflect on what he taught us, celebrate his contribution, and thank him for his vision, commitment and enduring spirit of compassion and non-violence. May he now rest in peace. May his legacy be Peace.

On Tuesday, December 10th, Human Rights Day, we remembered Mandela and reaffirmed our commitment to human dignity and the principles of peace. In support of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign and #orangeurworld movement (which my baby Lillian as well as the PeaceWomen team participated in - read more below), we also launched on December 10th our new expanded mobile application on Women, Peace and Security. Promoting access to information and breaking down barriers remain critical for accountability, meaningful participation and effective implementation for the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Our new and revised mobile application is now available for free as a tool to advance access to information. We included new sections on civil society, best practices, and national action plans. So please make sure to check it out, download, share, and use as a teaching and advocacy tool!

Reflecting on 2013, it has been an extremely busy year in global policies and also tragically where we saw many injustices, challenges and crises around the world including in Syria, the DRC and the Central African Republic. However, we have also been encouraged by the continued work of peace activists, especially WILPFers.

This year, we saw the WILPF "integrated approach" in practice with linkages amongst women, peace and security, human rights, and disarmament. We advocated for two new Security Council resolutions: SCR 2106 and 2122 (read more in Debate Watch), supported the new CEDAW General Recommendation which strengthened links between conflict prevention, WPS, disarmament, and women's rights. We also witnessed a new declaration and protocol on sexual violence in conflict.

There was strengthened work between national and international work, including the biggest ever WILPF participation at the CSW with over 70 women advocates from every region who collective advocated for root causes of violence against women to be prioritized including linkage with small arms. (Read more in CSW). Above all, 2013 will be marked by the historic success of including a legally binding gender provision in the first-ever Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

As we come to the end of 2013, I would like thank you for partnering with us, and ask you to please consider supporting our mission as you plan your end of year giving! PeaceWomen and WILPF are grateful to all of our friends, partners and team members, including our dedicated and committed interns who have helped us with every aspect of our work. Peace to all for the New Year!

This month, we feature the launch of our new revised and expanded Women, Peace and Security App, along with our participation in the 16 Days Campaign. In addition, we highlight initiatives calling for women's inclusion and participation in the Syrian peace process and the UN protecting women's human rights defenders in a landmark resolution. We also feature NGOWG's new report on mapping WPS in the UN Security Council, and news on the rising violence in the Central African Republic.

PeaceWomen Participates in the 16 Days of Violence against Women Campaign

This year, WILPF members and staff around the world engaged in the 16 Days of Action to End Violence Against Women (VAW) Campaign through continuing our efforts to stop war and ensure women's full and equal participation and rights. One highlight was PeaceWomen's launch on International Human Rights Day of our new and revised Women, Peace and Security Mobile App, which has been designed to reach a wider audience and strengthen our advocacy work relating to the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Another highlight was the Google+ Hangout including WILPF Reaching Critical Will Director Ray Acheson and WILPF-Nigeria President Joy Ada Onyesoh addressing the impact of small arms on gender based violence and calling for grassroots capacity-building and efforts to bridge implementation gaps.

PeaceWomen also engaged in a dedicated social media campaign and participated in a variety of events on the 16 Days theme. In her statement at the Official Commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25th, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka urged all UN Member States to make ending violence against women and girls a priority in the post-2015 development framework. She labeled the absence of a separate Millennium Development Goal on ending violence against women as a ‘glaring omission' while calling for the adoption of a stand-alone goal on gender equality post-2015. The official part of the event was followed by a powerful performance of a series of monologues by women victims of domestic violence called ‘wounded to Death' from an Italian playwright Serena Dandini. In an #orangeurworld Google+Hangout hosted by UN Women on November 25 2013, panelists emphasized undertaking systematic changes, engaging men as allies and investing in women's leadership in order to involve them in decision making processes as some of the ways we can move towards ending VAW. Overall, however, events on violence against women did not consistently connect to issues of Women, Peace and Security, and therefore highlighted the ongoing need to overcome silos and adopt an integrated approach to security within and outside of the UN system.

PeaceWomen Launches Revised and Expanded Mobile App

Did you know that just under half (45%) of country-specific Security Council resolutions from 2000-2012 include language on women and gender, and only about a quarter (25%) of countries have National Action Plans on implementing Women, Peace and Security commitments? In an effort to combat this gender bias, PeaceWomen launched our expanded edition Women, Peace and Security mobile application on December 10th, Human Rights Day and the culmination of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign. This app is a tool for activists at all levels to monitor the international community's progress on integrating gender into its laws and policies. The app contains six sections: About Women Peace and Security, News, Security Council Tools and Analysis, WPS Resolutions and Statements, National Implementation, and Civil Society's Key Role.

The Security Council section of the app is based on PeaceWomen's 2012 Women, Peace and Security Handbook with good practice language and recommendations on incorporating gender and women's rights into the work of the United Nations Security Council. This section is designed particularly for Security Council negotiations. In the National Implementation section, all National Action Plans are included along with recommendations on key components. The civil society section contains important notes on why civil society engagement is necessary and what key resources are available to enable strong and meaningful implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. The texts of all seven Women, Peace and Security resolutions (1325, 1820, 1888, 1889, 1960, 2106, and 2122) are included for easy reference and use. The first edition of this app was the first ever of its kind, and this edition continues to break new ground in creating accessible and powerful advocacy tools. Please download it, use it in your advocacy and education, and give us feedback on your experience!

WILPF Recommendations for Yemen's UPR

According to the Global Gender Report 2012, Yemen has one of the highest gender inequality rates in the world. Yemen has several laws and practices that discriminate against women, perpetuate gender inequality, and facilitate violence. In order to increase and enhance women's role in public and political sectors, WILPF Human Rights Programme and the Human Rights Information and Training Center (HRITC) made a series of recommendations for Yemen's second Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

First, we stress the importance of increasing women's participation in all mechanisms of governance, justice, and peace, along with designing a comprehensive and inclusive National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security. Second, we recommend reforming the school curriculum to include information about gender equality and human rights awareness, and increasing budget allocations to allow improvement of education and health services to uphold Yemen's obligations under CEDAW. Finally, we recommend ensuring effective multisectoral services to address gender based violence: this should include ensuring the full range of medical, legal, psychosocial and livelihood services to victims of rape without discrimination; providing reparation for crimes of sexual violence; protecting the privacy and security of women who file reports and testify about sexual and gender-based violence; repealing the Impunity Law promulgated in January 2012 and reexamining Article 232 of the Penal Code which provides soft punishment for honor killings; and ensuring that no individual is immune from prosecution for human rights violations. Throughout, concrete national policy and practice should be developed to in accordance with international human rights and humanitarian law.

WILPF-Palestine Builds Women's Capacity for Peace

WILPF works through our sections worldwide as well as through our international programming in New York and Geneva to end war and promote peace and freedom for all. This month, we feature the work of WILPF-Palestine.

WILPF-Palestine engages in ongoing efforts to strengthen women's capacity for peace. Recent events include a “training of trainers” on gender issues which WILPF-Palestine's Nariman Al Far participated in on 21st November, and was organized by ESCWA in Amman, Jordan. The section also organized a training for released women political prisoners on 25th November that trained women in media techniques to effectively communicate about violations of their human rights in the media and international justice instruments such as the International Criminal Court. The training also taught them about UNSC 1325 as a tool to strengthen women's political representation and promote women's participation in peace negotiations and in peacekeeping.

These events build on earlier work by WILPF-Palestine this year. For example, in August, the section held a workshop about the role of media and women organizations in preventing honor killings with police, religious representatives, and women and human rights activists. They have also organized media events focused on combating violence.