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In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, every hour in the day some 48 women are raped.
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Women are particularly good at building peace and creating social change.
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I have just returned from the international assembly of WILPF members at our Congress.
This 128 edition of PeaceWomen ENews features women, peace and security news, events and resources from peacewomen.or
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
The PrepCom on the ATT listed 116 women participants out of a total of 523 participants. That is 22%. One of the major commitments of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 is to ensure the greater participation of women in decision-making processes concerning peace and security.
Estonia, Monaco, Saint Kitts and Nevis have an all-women delegation to the meeting. Jamaica and Luxembourg have 75% women participation. Guyana, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Trinidad and Tobago have 67% women participation while half of the participants from Barbados, Finland, Grenada, Guatemala, Mali, Mongolia, New Zealand, Serbia, Uruguay and Vanuatu are women as reflected on the list of participants.
The following States do not have women delegates on the list: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Belarus, Belgium, Benin,, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Egypt, Fiji, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lesotho, Malaysia, Montenegro, Mauritania, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Togo, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Yemen and Zimbabwe.
Although Fiji does not have a woman in its delegation, Fiji spoke in the meeting about the need to incorporate UN Security Council Resolutions on women, peace and security in the Treaty's principles, as well as the need to include in the criteria that arms not be transferred if there is a substantial risk that they will be used to commit gender-based violence. Kenya, Trinidad and Tobago and St. Lucia spoke about such need as well, in this third PrepCom.
During the 2nd PrepCom, the issue of gender has been brought up by many States in the discussions, among them Mali, UK, Spain, Nigeria, Norway and Australia, among others.
We are eagerly waiting for more delegates to champion this cause as arms such as SALW and ammunition facilitate widespread domestic violence, rape and other forms of sexual violence both during and outside of conflicts.
It is about time that women count.
In 2001, after the fall of the Taliban regime, reconstruction of political and economical structures began in Afghanistan, and hopes started to grow for a better future. Despite the initial expectations of substantial change in women's lives, the current situation in Afghanistan can be considered in many ways inhumane. Improvements have been made, but mainly in the larger cities such as Kabul. The majority of Afghan women in rural areas have benefitted little in their daily lives, following the end of the Taliban regime and the subsequent international interventions. Violence against women and girls is reinforced by the widespread use of harmful traditional practices, including forced isolation in the home, domestic violence, forced and child marriage and honor killings. For example, 80% of Afghan women have been affected at least once by domestic violence and nearly 60% of girls have been forced into marriage before the legal minimum age of 16.
To challenge these violations of the human rights of women, the Afghan government approved the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) law in 2009. This guarantees the right to education and work, as well as the right to access to health services to all Afghan girls and women. According to EVAW, different forms of violence against women exist; most of them considered traditional practices. These range from forced prostitution, forcing a woman to commit self-immolation, causing physical injury or disability, rape, beating, marriage trafficking, forced marriage and labour, marriage before the legal age, and also abuse, humiliation or intimidation, among others.
The Executive Board,
1. Welcomes the presentation by the Under-Secretary-General/Executive Director of the first UN-Women strategic plan, 2011-2013, as contained in document UNW/2011/9;
2. Affirms that the Charter of the United Nations, General Assembly resolution 64/289, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, as well as other internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, and applicable United Nations instruments, standards, and resolutions that support, address and contribute to gender equality and the empowerment of women form the framework of the strategic plan;
3. Underlines that UN-Women, in implementing its strategic plan, will provide assistance in the field of gender equality and the empowerment of women, with the agreement and consent of the host country, in accordance with national priorities, and adopt a national ownership principle in field activities;
4. Underscores the importance of the role of UN-Women in leading, coordinating and promoting accountability of the United Nations system in its work on gender equality and the empowerment of women, with the aim of elaborating a clear division of roles and responsibilities in this area in close consultation with the relevant entities of the United Nations system within their respective mandates;
5. Acknowledges the need for the strategic plan to be driven by longer-term vision, goals and expected results to 2017 and by the principle of universality, and in this regard recognizes that the programme related to UN-Women as part of the proposed United Nations strategic framework is aligned with the strategic plan, and the need to ensure alignment of the strategic plan with the strategic planning cycles of other United Nations funds, programmes and specialized agencies and harmonization between Executive Boards, to the extent possible, as well as with the comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system;
6. Recognizes the results-based approach of the UN-Women strategic plan; in this regard, requests UN-Women to further develop the results frameworks and present a timetable for regular consultations with Member States on this matter, in order to further develop the linkages between outputs and outcomes, including clearly identifying indicators, baselines and targets of the results frameworks of UN-Women, and also requests the Under-Secretary- General/Executive Director of UN-Women to present the revised results frameworks to the Executive Board of UN- Women prior to its Annual session in 2013 for its consideration;
7. Emphasizes that UN-Women needs increased financial resources to fully implement its strategic plan, and in this regard encourages all Member States to increase their core contributions to UN-Women in a predictable, stable and, where feasible, multi-year manner;
8. Endorses the UN-Women strategic plan, 2011-2013;
9. Requests the Under-Secretary-General/Executive Director to submit to the Executive Board, beginning at its Annual session in 2012, an annual progress report on the strategic plan, 2011-2013, and to provide updates at its Regular sessions in 2012 and 2013;
10. Also requests the Under-Secretary-General/Executive Director to emphasize the importance of education and training as an enabling instrument for women's empowerment and leadership, to mobilize relevant United Nations bodies and stakeholders to strengthen the provision of specialized education and training, in particular by using existing modalities and mechanisms, and report on progress made in the annual progress report to the Board;
11. Recognizes the difficulties and challenges faced by the least developed countries in the area of gender equality and the empowerment of women and in this regard, welcomes the endorsement of the Istanbul Declaration (A/CONF.219/L.1) and the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020 (A/CONF.219/3/Rev.1) by the General Assembly in its resolution 65/280 of 17 June 2011; requests UN-Women, in accordance with its mandate, to provide special attention to the LDCs, and to the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action, and to report on this in the annual report of the Under-Secretary-General/Executive Director;
12. Further recognizes that, despite their achievements and efforts, middle-income countries still face significant challenges in the area of gender equality and the empowerment of women and in this regard, requests UN-Women to provide the appropriate and strategic support, within its mandate, taking into account the significant diversity of middle-income countries and the specific needs of each of those countries.
The NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security has released the August 2011 version of the Monthly Action Points (MAP) on Women, Peace and Security for the UN Security Council. For August, in which India has the Security Council presidency, the MAP provides recommendations on country situations including: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Libya, Sudan and South Sudan. The August MAP also discusses ongoing issues regarding the implementation of all Women, Peace and Security commitments.
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