Category Archives: WOMEN’S EQUALITY

Mexico: Tlalnepantla hosts the “Encounter of Women for Peace”


An article by Lauro Galicia for Acustiko Noticias

In the ‘Encounter of Women for Peace’ in Tlalnepantla, State of Mexico, successful women shared local and international experiences to counter scenarios of violence and insecurity .

(Click on photo to enlarge)

In leading this meeting, the mayor Denisse Ugalde Alegría recognized the work of Rosa Cristina Parra Lozano, specialist in communication for development and citizen activism, as well as Margarita Solano Abadía, promoter of peace journalism, who participated as speakers and have been leaders in their respective areas.

She emphasized that each women of this municipality, whether operating in the field of politics, business, restaurant, sports and social, can lay the foundations for peace building and make a difference in their community.

She recalled that in order to make a common front against violence and crime, in Tlalnepantla the Neighborhood Networks of Security program was launched, an initiative that engages the citizenry in the construction of safe and peaceful environments.

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(Click here for the original in Spanish.)

Question for this article

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

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One week after the installation of the first alarm system in the municipality, about 14 thousand citizens of Tlalepantla have already been organized in neighborhood security networks, defining 199 points of installation of the 324 alarms, which means an advance of 61.5 percent.

She pointed out that daily meetings are held for the formation of these networks, which are composed of 70 neighbors on average. The networks aim to strengthen the capacities of organization, collaboration and solidarity, to promote and address violence and insecurity that afflict the municipality .

Ugalde Alegría added that about 500 public servants from all areas of the administration, have already been sensitized and trained in these issues of attention to citizenship, in addition to having held work meetings aimed at restoring public confidence.

She explained that among the communities that have already installed the alarm systems, are Santa María Tlayacampa, Jardines de Santa Mónica, Electra, Cuauhtémoc, Unidad Habitacional El Tenayo, Lázaro Cárdenas, San Juan Ixhuatepec, Leandro Valle, Los Pirules and Prensa Nacional, to name a few.

The meeting was moderated by Angélica Garnica Sosa, integrator of Culture of Peace. Colombian journalist Margarita Solano shared her experience of what she experienced in Ciudad Juárez, considered at one point as the most dangerous and violent city in the world.

Also, activist Rosa Cristina Parra narrated her experience as coordinator of the worldwide mobilization against the FARC and the work she promoted so that Colombia regains peace.

Women of Tlalnepantla exchanged points of view with the speakers, and expressed their interest in continuing to work in this municipality to consolidate a culture of peace and thereby build a safe place for their families.

What Is CSW and Why Are We in New York to Be Part of It?

. . . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . . .

An article from the Intenational Women’s Development Agency

CSW is the largest gathering of the 193 UN Member States and other stakeholders that’s focused on the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. This annual forum can have huge real-world applications to the lives of millions of women around the world. It’s a place where those with power come together to make decisions that affect real women’s lives. 


In its 61 years, CSW has contributed to huge progress for women. CSW is where conventions and guidelines that are still used today to protect the political, social and economic rights of women were passed, like the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination of Women (otherwise known as CEDAW). Before CSW, ‘men’ was still used as a synonym for all of humanity. It was also the place where, in 1975, the 8th of March was formally recognised as International Women’s Day. Over the years, CSW has also been critical in recognising rape as a weapon of war, a view that was then formalised at the International Criminal Court.


The first week is a time for UN Member States, Civil Society Organisations (this just means organisations like us and other not-for-profits) and other stakeholders to deliver large plenary presentations on the year that was in gender equality, discuss innovations in this space and share recommendations for the coming year.

Week one of CSW is jam-packed full of debate, strategising and planning. Governments of the world come together in high level meetings to discuss the myriad of issues affecting women. Everything is up for discussion, but this year’s focus is on women’s economic empowerment. Ministers and Heads of State will gather and discuss how they will further the full and equal participation of women in their economies.

Leaders will share ideas and strategies about how to improve women’s economic participation through clearer policy and formal governmental commitments to gender equality. Civil Society Organisations will attend meetings, lobby Governments, liaise with decision makers and ensure the voices of diverse women are represented.

After the first week of meetings, discussions and debate among delegates, the week two of CSW is all about negotiating the “agreed conclusions”, which sets out Governments’ commitments to advance women’s rights post-CSW. It sounds simple enough, but the policy agenda that comes out of CSW requires feedback from many different people – and just about every word is hotly contested.

The “agreed conclusions” is a huge document, but an important one to get right – it’s designed to inform policy on women’s human rights across the world. If a government signs up, they’re obligated to deliver on it, which is why so much time is spent in discussions, negotiations and debate to reach an outcome that can be agreed on.

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Question for this article

Does the UN advance equality for women?

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Women’s rights organisations and networks, both at home and abroad, have a key role to play in ensuring that the priorities of women on the ground are taken into account. But despite the importance of reflecting real women’s circumstances in the decisions that come out of CSW, women’s rights organisations and other Civil Society Organisations aren’t allowed to be involved in the formal negotiations of the “agreed conclusions”. This is reserved for governments. That’s why we need to show up and be as vocal as we can about the key issues that affect women’s lives and where women’s rights remain at risk.

We’ve seen true progress come out of CSW. But it’s always been a fight to get things passed, and over the past five to six years, we’ve seen a group of states coming together to push back against the gains we’ve made in gender equality and women’s human rights. Sexual health and reproductive rights are being impinged, comprehensive sex education to halt HIV isn’t always happening, and interested parties with fundamentalist ideas about women’s role in society are advocating for abstinence. Action to address these issues has already been agreed upon in the past, but these issues are still being contested and pushed back on.

If women’s rights advocates are not there to speak up, CSW gives states, lobbyists and those who wish to maintain the status quo of gender inequality a chance to push us backwards. We need to be there to hold the line and keep the discussion moving forward.


It starts early. It ends late. We don’t stop.

Days start at 7am with teams touching base and sharing information about what’s happening in the negotiating rooms. We check in to see how everyone is travelling, what we need to achieve for the day, and figure out conversations to pursue with decision makers.

Over the course of day we meet with Government delegations; catch up with fellow activists and make plans for the future; work with our colleagues to find ways to contribute to debate around the “agreed conclusions”; and meet with funders to share results and attempt to secure more funding for the women’s rights movement.

Our colleagues have told us that CSW can be personally challenging. They say it’s confronting to see the denial of women’s humanity and rights, particularly by legitimised groups like UN Nation States. As an organisation that works in research, policy, advocacy and programs, we know the impacts these decisions can have on the lives of women. We can see ahead. At the moment, we’re seeing the disturbing rise of rhetoric around women’s primary role being motherhood and caregivers. This is something that needs to change. We’re seeing countries decriminalising violence. We’re seeing women’s rights at risk.


When the UN can’t back criminalisation of domestic violence, it lets national governments decriminalise domestic violence. If the UN can’t back comprehensive sexuality education, it allows National Governments and conservative groups to withhold education and resources around pregnancy and protection against STIs. When the UN can’t back the human rights of people with diverse sexualities and gender identities, it creates environments in which states can create laws which make homosexuality punishable by death.

We go to CSW because we want to change the laws and policies around the world to achieve gender equality, and CSW is the preeminent global policy space in which to do this. We go to get in front of Governments and funders of the world to ensure their political and financial commitment to women’s rights. We also go to build the global alliances between women’s activists, organisations, and feminists. We go because it isn’t just a lofty political event – it effects real women’s lives. We go to create change.

UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62)

. . . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . . .

An article from UN Women

The Issue: Empowerment of rural women and girls

She works from daybreak until sundown, and often beyond. She tills the land and grows the food that feeds families and nations, but often without land rights, or equal access to finances and technology that can improve her livelihood. She is working as hard, or more, as the man next to her, but have less income. She has much to contribute, but will her rights, voice and experience shape the policies that affect her life?

Without rural women and girls, rural communities and urban societies would not function. Yet, on almost every measure of development, because of gender inequalities and discrimination, they fare worse than rural men or urban women.

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Question for this article

Does the UN advance equality for women?

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Less than 13 per cent  of landholders worldwide are women, and while the global pay gap between men and women stand at 23 per cent, in rural areas, it can be as high as 40 per cent.

For far too long, rural women’s and girls’ rights, livelihoods and wellbeing have been overlooked or insufficiently addressed in laws, policies, budgets and investments. They lack infrastructure and services, decent work and social protection, and are left more vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Gender-based violence and harmful practices continue to limit their lives and opportunities.

The 62nd session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62), the UN’s largest gathering on gender equality, is taking place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 12 – 23 March 2018. It will focus on the theme, “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls”.

The Commission is one of the largest annual gathering of global leaders, NGOs, private sector actors, United Nations partners and activists from around the world focusing on the status of rights and empowerment of all women and girls, everywhere. Check out CSW62 events.

Join us to learn more about rural women’s lives, their priorities and accomplishments. Follow the unfolding conversation at the United Nations and in rural communities worldwide.

International Women’s Day Celebration and Launching Ceremony of the “Libya for Peace” Campaign, 8 March 2018


Announcements from CNBC Africa and UNSMIL twitter

The “Libya for Peace” Campaign was launched on International Women’s Day held in cooperation with the General Authority for Culture and the support of the United Nations.

GhassanSalame addressing the launch of ‘#Libya for #Peace Campaign (photo from UNSMIL twitter)

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Question for this article

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

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“Libya for Peace” Campaign aims at promoting a culture of peace and peaceful coexistence and highlighting the role of women in peacemaking.

This Campaign was initiated by a group of Libyan women after a series of meetings and conferences that resulted in the nomination of seven women from different regions of Libya as coordinators of the campaign.

This inaugural ceremony is the first of several activities to highlight the general plan of the “Libya for Peace” Campaign and the Women’s Peace Document that emerged from the Libyan Women’s Peace Conference held in Montreux, Switzerland, in September 2015.

Opening Remarks:

•       Coordinators of the “Libya for Peace” Campaign

•       Dr. Hassan Ewneis, Director of the General Authority for Culture

•       Dr. Asma Alosta, Minister of State for Women Affairs and Social Development

•       Dr. Ghassan Salamé, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Libya.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).

What Women Bring to the Constitution-Writing Table


A blog by Marie O’Reilly* for Ms Magazine Blog

When social norms are upended by violence—including relations between women and men—constitution reform presents an opportunity to transform power dynamics in a society. Rewriting a country’s constitution is a frequent step on the path toward peace, and is a particularly important entry point for women to address their historic marginalization and have a say in the future of their societies.

UN Women / Creative Commons

Yet among the 75 countries that undertook constitution reform in the wake of conflict or unrest between 1990 and 2015, women made up only one in five constitution drafters.

As individuals, women play myriad roles in peace and conflict—victims and perpetrators, peace activists and politicians—and they often embody many of these identities at once. But a new study from the nonprofit Inclusive Security, where I serve as research director, shows that when women do participate in constitution making, they consistently advocate for constitutional provisions that advance gender equality.

In Kenya, this meant equal rights and non-discrimination in marriage, divorce, property and citizenship—as well as a commitment that no more than two-thirds of any elected body could be of the same gender. In Rwanda, it meant a guarantee that women would occupy at least 30 percent of seats in parliament.

These kinds of gender equality provisions help to ensure that women can continue to influence public policy after the constitution-making process ends.

They also help lay a foundation for peace.

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Question for this article

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

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There are many drivers of conflict, but scholarly research suggests a strong relationship between gender equality and peace. This is particularly true for women’s participation in politics and the durability of peace after war. A study of 58 conflict-affected states between 1980 and 2003 found that when no women were represented in the legislature, the risk that a country would relapse into war increased over time. But when 35 percent of lawmakers are women, the risk of relapse is near zero. The causal direction is not always clear, but working for both equality and peace at once appears to be in everyone’s interest.

Beyond advocating for their own rights in the constitutional text, our research showed that women tended to advance peace-building as part of the constitutional process. Across eight case studies, women frequently bridged acute political and religious divides to advance their gender equality agenda, modeling for other policymakers how communities affected by conflict can collaborate and develop consensus on priority issues.

Women’s civil society groups also consistently led outreach initiatives to broaden societal participation and help cement the social contract as it was being created.

In the Philippines, women’s organizations engaged former combatants, students, academics and religious, tribal and business leaders to develop draft provisions on topics such as indigenous peoples’ rights, the justice system and policing.

Of course, it takes much more work to turn constitutional provisions into tangible change. In Rwanda, women now have the highest rates of parliamentary representation in the world. In Kenya, on the other hand, the parliament has failed to enforce the two-thirds principle. But as a foundational legal text, a constitution provides a framework for advocacy and further legislation. Kenyan women took the streets last January to protest their president’s failure to name women to at least one-third of his new cabinet, and their banners referenced the constitutional provisions that he was violating. Two Kenyan rights groups have taken the issue to the High Court.

If done right, constitution-making lays the groundwork for civil contestation, rather than violent confrontation. But its potential to transform conflict into democratic deliberation depends, in part, on who gets to participate.

* Marie O’Reilly is director of research and analysis at Inclusive Security.

Women take to the streets as the world marks International Women’s Day


An article from PBS (Pubic Broadcasting Service)

Women across Europe and Asia shouted their demands for equality, respect and empowerment Thursday to mark International Women’s Day, with protesters in Spain launching a 24-hour strike and crowds of demonstrators filling the streets of Manila, Seoul and New Delhi.

A protester holds a banner reading “Fight Like A Girl” during a demonstration for women’s rights on International Women’s Day in Bilbao, Spain. Photo by Vincent West/Reuters

Spanish women were staging dozens of protests across the country against the wage gap and gender violence. In Madrid, a massive demonstration was planned for the evening. In Barcelona, protesters who disrupted traffic into the city center were pushed back by riot police.

In some countries, protests were more muted, however.
International Women’s Day is a public holiday in Russia, but opposition presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak was one of the few demonstrators in Moscow.

In a protest reminiscent of the #MeToo movement, which aims to hold those involved in sexual misconduct, and those who cover it up, accountable, Sobchak staged a solo picket outside the lower house of the Russian parliament to demand the resignation of a prominent lawmaker whom several female journalists accuse of sexual harassment.

Participants shout slogans during a rally for gender equality and against violence towards women on the International Women’s Day in Kiev, Ukraine. Photo by Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters

On a lighter note, a leading French newspaper found a witty way of making its point about discrimination and the gender pay gap — by upping its price for men. The left-leaning daily Liberation said that for one day only, men would pay 50 euro cents more than women, in a reflection of the 25 percent less that women in France are paid, on average.

Across Asia, women came out to mark the day. In China, students at Tsinghua University used the day to make light of a proposed constitutional amendment to scrap term limits for the country’s president. One banner joked that a boyfriend’s term should also have no limits, while another said, “A country cannot exist without a constitution, as we cannot exist without you!”

But photos of the students’ banners, like other content about the proposed amendment, were quickly censored on social media.

A woman takes pictures of men standing behind booths during an International Women’s Day event inside a shopping mall, where customers can rent a “boyfriend” for 30 minutes with one yuan ($0.16), in Binzhou, Shandong province, China. Photo by Reuters

Women gather during a rally on the International Womens Day in Diyarbakir, Turkey. Photo by Sertac Kayar/Reuters

Hundreds of activists in pink and purple shirts protested in downtown Manila against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, calling him among the worst violators of women’s rights in Asia. Protest leaders sang and danced in a boisterous rally in Plaza Miranda, handing red and white roses to mothers, sisters and widows of drug suspects slain under Duterte’s crackdown on illegal drugs.

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Question for this article

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

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Human rights groups have condemned Duterte’s sexist remarks, including one in which he asked troops to shoot female communist rebels in the genitals. Protest leader Jean Enriquez also railed against Duterte’s anti-women remarks, saying: “We’re so alarmed. We have seen his direct attacks on women under his iron-hand rule and it’s now time to heighten our resistance.”

In Afghanistan, hundreds of women, who would have been afraid to leave their homes during Taliban rule, gathered in the capital to commemorate the day— and to remind their leaders that plenty of work remains to be done to give Afghan woman a voice, ensure their education and protect them from increasing violence.

Hundreds of South Koreans, many wearing black and holding black #MeToo signs, rallied in central Seoul. South Korea’s #MeToo movement has gained significant traction since January, when a female prosecutor began speaking openly about workplace mistreatment and sexual misconduct. The list of women who speak out is growing day by day.

Several high-profile South Korean men have resigned from positions of power, including a governor who was a leading presidential contender before he was accused of repeatedly raping his female secretary.

Women attend a protest as a part of the #MeToo movement on International Women’s Day in Seoul, South Korea. Photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

Demonstrators hold banners during a protest demanding equal rights for women on the occasion of International Women’s Day, in Ahmedabad, India. Photo by Amit Dave/Reuters

In India, hundreds of women, including students, teachers and sex workers, marched through the capital to bring attention to domestic violence, sexual attacks and discrimination in jobs and wages.

“Unite against violence against women,” one placard urged. “Man enough to say no to domestic abuse,” said another. “My body, My choice.”

India had its first female leader in 1966 when Indira Gandhi became prime minister, but Indian women are still often relegated to second-class citizenship.

In Africa, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni urged men to stop physically abusing their wives. Domestic violence is common in Uganda, although victims rarely report perpetrators to the police for fear of being stigmatized or thrown out of their homes.
“If you want to fight, why don’t you look for a fellow man and fight?” Museveni said, calling domestic abusers cowards.

Back in Europe, the European Commission said in a statement published on Twitter that the continent “is one of the safest and most equal places for women in the world.” On the other hand, it noted that “the path to full equality in practice is still a long one.”
“The issue of gender equality is high on the agenda,” Frans Timmermans, the European Commission’s first vice-president, said, “but progress is still slow on the ground.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, considered by many to be one of the world’s most powerful women, echoed those sentiments, saying in a video message the struggle for greater equality in Germany and worldwide must continue. She said “many women before us have made sacrifices and fought persistently so that women would have more rights … but there’s still a lot to do.”

As if to prove that point, Belgian women’s groups spoke out angrily as the world of sport provided an immediate and visible target for their struggle.

The Belgian football federation, saying it did not want to be taken “hostage” by women’s groups, refused Thursday to back down from its decision to choose a rapper known for lacing his songs with misogynistic lyrics to produce its official World Cup song.
The Women’s Forum, a coalition of Belgian women’s groups, said it was unacceptable that an artist using degrading lyrics could be picked to produce what should be a unifying song.

Tim Sullivan in Delhi, Barry Hatton in Lisbon, Portugal, and AP correspondents around the world contributed to this report.

Nobel Women Peace Laureates Call for an End to Rohingya Genocide


A press release from the Nobel Women’s Initiative

As three Nobel peace laureates—Tawakkol Karman of Yemen, Shirin Ebadi of Iran, and Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland – conclude their visit to Bangladesh on the six-month anniversary of the current Rohingya crisis, the three women are calling for an immediate end to the “genocide” of the Rohingya people.

Mairead Maguire meets with Rohingya survivors of gender based violence in Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp February 25, 2018 in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo by Allison Joyce

This week, the three women Laureates ­––in partnership with Bangladesh women’s organization Naripokkho­­––spent time listening to stories, meeting over 100 women refugees in the Cox’s Bazar area, and travelling to “no man’s land”, where thousands of Rohingya have been stranded between Myanmar and Bangladesh.

After hearing testimonies describing how security forces burned villages, tortured, killed and systematically raped women and girls—as well as reports from humanitarian organizations and UN officials—the Laureates concluded that the on-going attacks on the Rohingya of Rakhine State amount to crimes against humanity and genocide.

The Laureates are calling on Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and the Myanmar military to put an end to the killings and the persecution of the Rohingya people.

“She must stop turning a deaf ear to the persecution of the Rohingya or risk being complicit in the crimes,” said Tawakkol Karman. “Wake up or face prosecution.”

As women committed to peace, the Laureates are urging Aung San Suu Kyi to exercise her personal and moral responsibility stop the genocide. “If she fails to do so, her choice is clear: resign or be held accountable, along with the army commanders, for the crimes committed” added Karman.

The Laureates heard how Rohingya women have been twice victimized: for being Rohingyas and for being women. They described stories of horrific violence and systematic mass rape.

“My 18-year old daughter had her breasts cut off and she died,” a Rohingya woman in the Thyankhali camp told the Nobel peace laureates.

“My baby was only 1-year and 6-months old. The military tore her from my arms and slaughtered her in front of me,” said a Rohingya survivor of rape. She then passed around a photo she had of her child. She wanted everyone to see her little girl.

The laureates heard stories of children being thrown into fires and drowned in rivers. They heard stories of houses and complete villages being burned to the ground and children being shot while running to the forest to seek shelter and safety.

“The torture, rape and killing of any one member of our human family must be challenged, as in the case of the Rohingya genocide,” said Mairead Maguire. “Silence is complicity.”

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Questions for this article

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

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The Nobel peace laureates were impressed by the strength and resilience of the women who had survived such horrific crimes. One woman at the Thyankhali camp told them, “Why should we feel shame? We were tortured. We don’t need to feel shame about that.”

Another woman at Camp Kutupalong said, “We are not afraid of anything. We want our stories to be told.”

The Laureates are calling for the perpetrators of these heinous crimes to be brought to justice before the International Criminal Court.

“With over a million Rohingya displaced, countless dead or missing, and rape and sexual violence being used as a weapon of war, it is well past the time for the international community to act,” said Shirin Ebadi.

The Laureates met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, government officials, human rights organizations and humanitarian agencies. They extended their thanks to Prime Minister Hasina and to both the Government and the people of Bangladesh for their exemplary acts of compassion for the Rohingya refugees.

The Laureates also expressed deep appreciation to the Bangladeshi government and to the various humanitarian agencies that have met the extraordinary challenge of setting up the Refugee and Relocation Camps for over one million Rohingya refugees.

As a result of their visit to Bangladesh, the Nobel Laureates are calling for:

* An immediate end to the genocide against the Rohingya in Rakhine, and an order to the Myanmar military to immediately stop all acts of sexual violence.

* Justice for Rohingya victims: perpetrators of crimes must be brought to justice through the International Criminal Court (ICC).

* Bangladesh, as the only country in South Asia to have ratified the Rome Statute, should, along with other states parties, the UN Security Council and the Human Rights Council, refer the case to the ICC.

* Alternatively, the ICC Prosecutor should open an independent investigation into crimes against humanity and genocide perpetrated in Rakhine State.

* A voluntary, safe and dignified return. There should be no forced repatriation. When Rohingya do return to Rakhine State, they should be offered security and be granted full citizenship.

* The government of Myanmar to take immediate action to address the systematic discrimination of the Rohingya in Rakhine State, and ensure the Rohyinga’s right to nationality, land ownership, freedom of movement and other fundamental rights.

* A comprehensive arms embargo on Myanmar to ensure that there are no sales of weapons or other military equipment.

* The international community to increase its support to Bangladesh’s humanitarian response.

* Bangladesh to ratify the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention, as a major step to give protection to refugees and set an example in South Asia.

For more information, please contact:
Ketty Nivyabandi, Media Associate: + 1 613 691 1419
Katia Gianneschi, Media Outreach: +1 613 614 9740

(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

India: ’Life: A Mystical Journey’- A Gathering of 500 Women Leaders To Explore Spirituality as Tool For Peace And Empowerment


An article from India Education Diary

Over 500 accomplished women achievers, artists, policymakers, sportswomen among others will participate in the 8th International Women’s Conference (IWC). Titled, ‘Life: A Mystical Journey,’ the conference will be held at The Art of Living International Center, Bengaluru between February 23 and 25.

IWC has unique twin goals- individual development and collective action. It facilitates partnership-building and leadership development among women leaders globally.

Some of the speakers for this year’s conference include Arundhati Bhattacharya, former chairman, State Bank of India; Chetna Gala Sinha, Founder-Chairperson Mann Deshi Bank and Mann Deshi Foundation, Rani Mukherji , Indian Actress,  Vandana Shiva, environmentalist, and ecologist; Madhoo Shah, actress, MridulaSinha, Governor, Goa,  Adriana Marais, theoretical physicist, head of innovation at SAP Africa; Professor MaithreeWickramasinghe, founder director of Center for Gender Studies at the University of Kelaniya.

“Women are leading peacemakers. They work together towards creating a stress-free, violence-free society. The conference is a message in peace and unity,” shares BhanumathiNarasimhan, Chairperson, IWC.

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Questions for this article

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

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Increasing number of women are leading from the front in multiple fields. The IWC builds on this trend. It works with women leaders to enhance their impact and gives an impetus to the global advancement of women from all backgrounds.

The 2018 conference will explore ways to amplify the message of peace and empowerment, including spiritual tools.

“The role of women in the development of a society is of utmost importance. It is the only criterion that determines whether a society is strong and harmonious,” says Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder, The Art of Living, which is one of the conference partners.

Since its inception in 2005, the conference has focused on diversity and inclusiveness. Over 375 eminent speakers and 5500 delegates from over 100 countries have participated in the conference. The IWC focuses on advancing the status of women in fragile and post-conflict states. It also worked with the World Bank Institute to develop empowerment schemes for women in vulnerable nations and expanded vocational training for widows in Iraq.

The IWC also supports The Art of Living’s Gift A Smile project. Over 58,000 students study in 435 free schools across 20 Indian states. Encouragingly, girl children comprise 48% while 90% are first-generation learners. Promoting girl child education is the underlined focus area for IWC.

This year the focus will also be to create open defecation free districts in India. In phase 1, the organization will work towards sensitization and awareness about use of toilets and increasing health and hygiene in these areas. In Phase II, 4000 toilets will be built.

IWC in the past has been associated with pivotal social initiatives like constructing homes for the under privileged, creating awareness about environment and environmental care, movement to stop violence against women, and child and women empowerment through skills training.

Women’s March protests across America against President Trump


An article from Deutsche Welle

Thousands of protesters took to the streets across the United States on Saturday for the second annual Women’s March against US President Donald Trump, to coincide with the one-year anniversary of his inauguration.

The rallies aim to translate female activism into gains in a broad swathe of state and federal elections later in the year.

The biggest demonstrations were taking place in Washington, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago — but there were also marches in about 250 other cities and towns across the country. Support was also coming from abroad, with rallies in Britain, Italy and Japan among other countries.

Photo from Reuters. For other photos, see CNN coverage

“We will make our message heard at the polls this fall,” Emily Patton, a rally organizer, told thousands of demonstrators at the Reflecting Pool on Washington’s National Mall. “That is why we are urging people to register to vote today.”

Thousands of people gathered in Chicago’s Grant Park. Fawzia Mirza drew cheers from the crowd as she kicked off the event with a reference to the government shutdown, which began hours earlier.

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Questions for this article

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

The post-election fightback for human rights, is it gathering force in the USA?

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“When the government shuts down, women still march,” she said, adding that the event was about channeling women’s energy and “putting that power in the polls.”

Also high on the list of complaints with the US president are multiple allegations of predatory sexual behavior at a time when there is a growing backlash against such behavior, as illustrated by the growing social media phenomena known as #MeToo and #TimesUp.

Hollywood actors Eva Longoria, Natalie Portman, Viola Davis, Alfre Woodard, Scarlett Johansson, Constance Wu, Adam Scott and Rob Reiner addressed a crowd of hundreds of thousands in Los Angeles.

Longoria told marchers that their presence mattered, “especially when those in power seem to have turned their backs on reason and justice.”

Jane Fonda joined the march in Park City, Utah, where the annual Sundance Film Festival is taking place.

Hillary Clinton tweeted that the marches around the US and the world were “a testament to the power and resilience of women everywhere.”

Trump tweeted later in the day that it was a “perfect day” for women to march to celebrate the “economic success and wealth creation” that’s happened during his first year in office.

Several dozen activists demonstrating in Rome in protest were joined by the Italian actress and director Asia Argento, who alleged in October she had been sexually assaulted by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in the 1990s.

Argento addressed the criticism she received once she spoke up about her abuse, saying she was there to “assess the necessity of women to speak out and change things.”

Libyan activists design a peace campaign

. . . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . . .

An article from Relief Web

Women and men activists from Libyan civil society organizations met in Tunis from 12 to 15 December to continuing the process of preparing a campaign aimed at fostering the culture of peace, reconciliation and peaceful co-existence in Libya. The idea of the campaign came as a result of two conferences, the first held in late 2015 to develop the Libyan women peace agenda and the second held early 2017 to develop an action plan to implement the agenda. In the training, the participants learned about conflict analysis tools and why it is important to include women in the peace process for the global peace and security. They also learnt lobby and advocacy skills to present the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (UNSCR 1325) to Libyan people over the course of the campaign.

A Participant talks about UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. © UNDP

During the workshop, organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), the seven designated focal points for Tripoli, Benghazi, Misrata, Obari, Sebha, Albaida and Zawia, and their team members gained a better understanding of the UNSCR 1325 and became well versed on the best ways of communicating about it.

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Question for this article:

UN Resolution 1325, does it make a difference?

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“I am now better prepared to start the campaign in my hometown. This workshop has allowed me to develop my presentation and communication skills. It has also deepened my understanding of the objectives and means of implementing the UNSCR 1325”, said Ms. Leila Bousif from Benghazi, President of Aoun organization for Human Rights.

The participants also discussed the role of women in peaceful coexistence since the campaign, called “Peace Libya,” intends to raise women awareness of the principles of peace and community cohesion.

“Libyan women are not very active in achieving peace, but they always leaning towards it. There won’t be stability in Libya without women`s participation. Although they are paying a high price because of the war, they must play a more active and positive role to end it,” added Ms. Bousif.

“Peace Libya” campaign will be launched next year with this core message: “promotion of peaceful coexistence is the responsibility of every Libyan citizen.”

“Knowing how to transmit the messages of the campaign to local communities is a very important mater. Libya is a diverse country. At the end of the training, I felt happy because I learned new skills to communicate with people from diverse cultural background,” said Rabha Farcy.

During the training, some participants pointed out that exposing women to the UNSCR 1325 can encourage many of them to play a more active role in peace building in Libya.

“As part of the Peace Libya campaign and based on the skills I have gained in this training, I will try to explain the UNSCR 1325 to as many women as possible when I head back to Libya. Participation in the peacebuilding process is not exclusive to men. Women should also make their voices heard,” said Ms. Asia Shwihdi from Misrata.

The training was organized as part of the project ‘Advancing Libyan Women’s Participation During the Transition.’ Known as AMEL project, it aims to strengthen the role of Libyan women in the political transition.