IANSA Women: Participation and Successes in the ATT PrepCom

Monday, July 18, 2011

Last week, the activism and persistence of IANSA Women in the Arms Trade Treaty process achieved concrete results. IANSA Women were active lobbyists and tirelessly pursued delegates at the 3rd Arms Trade Treaty Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) at the UN.

The major achievement of the week was the mention of gender-based violence in the preamble of the new draft paper released by Ambassador Moritan, Chair of the PrepCom, on 14 July 2011. This goes to show that when we support each other, when we remain patient, persistent and confident – and stubborn - things can and do change.

On the very first day of the meeting, Monday 11 July, the open letter from IANSA Women from 53 countries was published in the ATT Monitor and distributed to the 192 delegations as they entered the conference room at the UN. Copies in French and Spanish were also distributed and circulated.

IANSA Woman Jasmin Nario-Galace of the Philippines spoke at the side event, “Health, women and development and the Arms Trade Treaty”, co-organised by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Jasmin discussed the disproportionate impact of armed violence on women and gave eight examples of roles women can play in promoting the implementation of an ATT.

Her speech was also published in the 12 July edition of the ATT Monitor, and distributed to all the delegates. Jasmin also wrote an article highlighting the limited presence and participation of women on UN Member State delegations at the 3rd ATT PrepCom.

Throughout the week, the Position Paper of the IANSA Women's Network was used to support our lobbying and advocacy of delegates at the UN and with government representatives and elected officials in capitals.

On Wednesday 13 July, IANSA Woman Carole Engome of the Central African Republic chaired the side event “The African context: Preventing the illicit arms trade through compliance and enforcement mechanisms in the Arms Trade Treaty”, organised by The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amnesty International and IANSA.

Carole Engome was also one of four NGO speakers to give a presentation to the plenary and directly address delegates on Thursday, July 14, 2011. This provided the IANSA Women's Network with an important opportunity to highlight the mention of gender-based violence in the preamble of the new draft paper released by Ambassador Moritan, Chair of the PrepCom and related aspects from our position paper. Her speech is available in the original French and in English.

After the release of the new draft paper on 14 July, several states, among them Fiji, Saint Lucia, Grenada, Trinidad & Tobago and Kenya, made very strong arguments to include gender in other areas of the Treaty, including in the principles, goals and objectives, criteria and victim assistance sections. In private meetings, France and Norway also expressed their support for the inclusion of gender, but did not make public statements explicitly expressing this support during the week.

We are heartened to see that our sustained efforts over the years are finally taking root. Mindsets are changing, but this is only the beginning.

The IANSA Women's Network team included:

Anne Marie Narine, WINAD, Trinidad & Tobago
Carole Engome, Central African Network on Small Arms, Central African Republic
Ema Tagicakibau, Pacific Foundation for the Advancement of Women, Fiji
Folade Mutota, WINAD, Trinidad & Tobago
Jasmin Nario Galace, Center for Peace Education and WE Act 1325, The Philippines
Marren Akatsa-Bukachi, EASSI, Kenya
Mimidoo Achakpa, WREP and IANSA Women's Network Nigeria, Nigeria
Pauline Dempers, Breaking the Wall of Silence, Namibia
Pauline Perez, Kingston and St Andrew Action Forum Benevolent Society, Jamaica
Rebecca Gerome, IANSA Women's Network, France/Middle East
Susan Alfonso, WINAD, Trinidad & Tobago