France: Speech by Jean-Luc Melanchon on the force of action for peace

. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION .

Text transcribed from the video of the speech by Melanchon (transcribed and translated by CPNN)

My friends! “La force!” The force makes force. It’s a lesson from the trade unions. The force you see gathered here did not fall from the sky, was not granted as a favour. It was conquered by the commitment of free conscience that decided to break with all the other organised frameworks and make something new. That force is capable of raising the clamour that you have just heard here, which allows us to regain our energy. (. . .) That force is capable of engaging the new generation. That force is the people. We are the forward detachment. That force is a collective intelligence. Yes, we love electoral campaigns, because they suddenly make us consciously engaged
(. . . )


(Click on photo to enlarge)

We advance to meet our sovereign that is universal suffrage. We advance to meet that magical moment which moves every democratic conscience, every republican conscience, in the secret of the voting booth, the magnificent magic where no one has less power than another person because of their wealth. Where no one has less power than another person because of their religion or skin colour.

The right to vote ! Magnificent ! The free community, the free heart, the free conscience, in equality, in liberty, in fraternity. The right to vote is not only a citizen’s duty, it’s a dignity. And for all that, it is a power. A terrible power! A power that all the rulers fear because of the strength it gives to the most humble among us. That power that allows us to say with Angela Davis: “I will no longer accept. I will not accept the things that I could not change. I will change the things that I can no longer accept. ”
(. . .)
This is the first time that your ballot makes you the arm of Jean Jaures, as it started from his chest: if you do not want war, vote Insoumis!
(. . .)
We have passed from a Europe of social programs to a Europe of permanent austerity, of massive unemployment, of debt accumulated in its countries without any help from the Central European Bank which holds a large part of it and which increases interest rates so that the people, once again, must suffer even more.

At that time they told us at every election time, when there was the Soviet Union, that we were threatened by the tanks of the Red Army which were 48 hours from Paris. Now, the Union is no longer Soviet, it is content to be Russian, but the tanks are still there, it seems, and once again they are appearing in the electoral program.

So we have moved from the Europe of peace at the time of the Soviet Union to the Europe of war today and the war economy. This is what they have done to the great dream that the founding fathers had bequeathed to them. The question is not what we are going to do with this Europe, but how the people will be able to emerge from the permanent economic crisis in this Europe, from the logic of exploitation as the only adjustment variable to lower the price of labor. How will people be able to emerge from an ecological crisis caused and amplified by the European Union, which places no limits on the use of pesticides, which is not interested in the disastrous consequences for public health and which is incapable of holding its objectives in relation to climate change. Finally, a Europe incapable of making its mark in the world’s geopolitical crisis. This is the bottom line. This is the summary of what we have to do.

The world order is changing. The dominant power of the previous period, a power that believed for a time that it was the only one in the world, the United States of America, is today faltering, while another power is rising, what is called, unfairly but finally, let’s use this term, the Global South. It is the BRICS that are rising. They call us the “Westerners”. It seems that they mean us, but we, the French, are not so much “Westerners” as that, for we are present on every continent in the world. So please count us in a separate category: universalist, creolized, French.

Peace is at stake when the geopolitical order changes, because those who dominate want to continue to dominate and those who would like to dominate strive to find their place in a new domination. So more than ever, we must be the France aligned with the non-aligned. If we want to be useful, we must be France in the exclusive service of peace. If we want to be useful to universal humanity.

As usual we hear the braying of those who return with the memory of their own turpitude, they who capitulated as it was Munich, come to reproach us for saying that it is useless to expose ourselves to a war on the continent. Don’t think this is a threat in a vacuum! War results from the conditions that make it possible and necessary for some, but still war results from the inability of leaders to control their engagements. It was the assassination of an archduke that began the First World War. Today we are closer to the political conditions of the First War than those of the Second, when it was just and legitimate to arm ourselves to defeat the Nazis.

But this time it is a strange situation for France, a nuclear power, to be governed by people who are capable in a Council of Ministers of talking about an incident at Sciences Po and sending the Prime Minister there to change the situation and making a big deal out of something that never happened. But at least we can say that it produced something magnificent. Thirty-three students said “We are Jewish, and we will not allow our Jewishness to be used to suppress Palestinian rights.” Thank you young people, thank you a thousand times, thank you a million times, because this is the France that does not want its children to be sorted by their religion but only distinguished by their debate and their opinions.

To vote for the Insoumis is to vote for the unity of our republic, a vote that does not point the finger at any one religion or skin color.

(Article continued in the column on the right)

(Click here for the original version in French)

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

How can parliamentarians promote a culture of peace?

(Article continued from the column on the left)

We must open the path to peace. Maybe some of you say that this path, yes, yes, well, okay, we understand, it is peace, but it does not exist, Mr. Mélenchon, the proof is that there is a war. Well, when there is a war, there is only one thing to do, and that is to stop it. And the question to ask is whether it is possible. Well all the elements are there.

For example, in Gaza, it is not true that we cannot stop the war and the massacre. It would be enough for the United States of America to stop supplying Mr. Netanyahu’s government with weapons. It would be enough for France to stop doing it. It would be enough for the European Union with the deputies you are electing to be there to say STOP! Enough! We are breaking the coalition and cooperation contract with Israel! We demand the judgment of war criminals, ALL war criminals, because we do not distinguish between them.

Regarding Gaza we are not proposing any other utopia than this: apply the international law that you voted for. Cease fire immediately and permanently! Implementation of UN resolutions. End of colonization! What’s extraordinary about that? It’s the same thing that we’ve been repeating for so many years. But then if we repeat it for so many years we tell them, at least respect the law, at least the international law that you have established!

The same goes for Ukraine. If we are not there to say a path exists, who is going to do it? There are people who will tell us “we have to arm ourselves, we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that!” Do what? Leading us straight to war? For what result? Only one result, massive destruction, death, death, more death!

War can produce nothing else except deaths, victims, desolation, destruction! War is the failure of the human condition. War is the failure of civilization. War! War will never produce anything other than war again! Always war, more war!

With regard to Ukraine peace is possible on the condition that we understand one thing, that fiinally there can be no other outcome than a situation where there is no neither victor nor vanquished. Peace must give each of the two parties mutual guarantees.

I heard a journalist choke up, “Mélenchon said mutual guarantees!” This ignorant person did not know that the word had been used by Mr. Macron himself ! The guarantees must be mutual between whom? The fighters, of course. Obviously the guarantees are mutual.

Once this principle has been established, then it is obviously necessary to enter the path of peace through concrete measures which suit both parties, such as the protection of nuclear power plants, which would lead instantly to the creation of demilitarized zones. The Ukrainian Parliament has requested this guarantee,, and the Russians have not said they are opposed to it.

And once we enter into this logic, then we enter into the logic of the ceasefire! And if there is a ceasefire, then we can discuss border security. Now little by little I see them coming to understand; it always takes them time to admit that we are right. With regard to a conference for border security, there is no need to invent structures. They already exist through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Its conference on security in Europe was concluded in 1975, that is to say in the middle of the Cold War between two blocs that were preparing, if necessary, to destroy the world since they had the possibility of destroying it 16 or 17 times, which makes least 16 or 15 times too many.

A security conference obviously would lead to negotiations and from what President Macron told to Manuel Bompard, the Russians are ready for a ceasefire, but it’s to replenish their potential. Maybe so, but that’s what it takes. And when we start the ceasefire, well we don’t have to think about resuming the war.

Secondly, he told Manuel Bompard that President Zelensky was ready and knew that in the end he would have to accept a consultation of the populations affected by the borders. It’s clear from simple common sense that what was true before the war is perhaps no longer true now that the war has taken place, and that some who were originally on one side may now feel more on the other.

As soon as we agree to the ceasefire, as soon as we agree to the referendum of the populations concerned, as soon as we agree to demilitarize everything surrounding the nuclear reactors nuclear, then what is the obstacle to peace?

France may object that Mr. Putin is not a reliable interlocutor. But the effort must still be made. It must be brought before public opinion.

Threatening to send troops, saying that there are no limits, mentioning France’s nuclear capacity and claiming to extend it to all the nations of Europe, this is absurd ! Imagine a button which gives access to the use of the nuclear bomb, with 28 fingers on it! What is the meaning of such an idea? None! Whom is it supposed to frighten? The supposed adversary, thereby forcing him into a situation of response?

This is how the president has managed to create an indescribable mess, already with his own allies, but also with the adversaries because we already have Putin’s response. As for Mr. Putin, of course he is a dangerous head of state because he is a head of state involved in the question of peace and war! He therefore does in his domain what he believes to be his duty just as we ourselves do what we believe to be our duty.

We must talk peace! We must vote for peace! PEACE! PEACE! PEACE! That is our vote! Peace in Gaza! Recognition of the State of Palestine! Punishment of war criminals! Peace in Ukraine. PEACE! That’s why we have to vote ! It’s the vote that gives us force.
(…)
To conclude, I cite “Le Petit Prince,” that I suppose many of you have read. This is a citation for you. Listen carefully and reflect on it, because it is profound. “You see, in life there is no solution. There is only the forces on march. You must create them, and then the solutions will follow.” “Bon courage!”

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Search for Common Ground in Israel and Palestine

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY .

Excerpts from the webpage and videos of Search for Common Ground

Our CEO, Shamil Idriss, is currently in the heart of Jerusalem (featured here in front of the Damascus Gate), meeting with our team on the ground and other key figures. He filmed several videos to provide a few updates on the critical work happening there, and you can click the button below to view them.

Video 5. Click on image to see the video

° video 1 with an update on the work we have been doing in Israel and Palestine, including our work in Gaza with hygiene kit distributions and how we are supporting pregnant women.

° video 2 with a bit of good news in our inter-religious work in the middle of the dark situation. “We’ve been working on interfaith education for tolerance and respect for seven years now, and for the first time one of the municipalities where we work has decided to integrate the program into their planning and budget.”

° video 3 describing the look and feel on the ground and how people are affected by the war. For Israeli Jews the images of the hostages are on banners everywhere making it hard for people to imagine a secure future side by side with Palestinians. The Arab Israeli population are feeling very much under threat and traumatized by the images from Gaza.

(article continued in right column)

Question related to this article:

How can a culture of peace be established in the Middle East?

(article continued from left column)

° video 4 on how Search is working with women to take a more significant role in the peace process right now. “We’ve been working with a really powerful and growing community of women leaders, including activists, lawyers, former Knesset members, former Palestinian ministers in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Tel Aviv working to ensure that they are not left out of whatever peace process that will have to come out of this war. We are supporting them as they develop their own thinking and strategy for how to accelerate and influence that kind of peace process. It’s well known that peace processes that involve women last much longer and are more viable.”

° video 5 on why Shamil is in Israel to support the work on the ground and help gain more support to continue this necessary work. “I am here to support our team and maybe open a few doors for potential partners and donors. But mostly so I can be more informed when I appeal to our supporters in the States and elsewhere to support the work of peacebuilders here. Solidarity is understandable, but It’s very clear that the end of this war and the prevention of future such wars won’t come simply through solidarity. It’s going to have to come through peacebuilding. Inter-communal solidarity has to be built, even if it is unimaginable right now. The people we’ve been talking to, a former foreign minister, a former prime minister, former ministers in Ramallah, and grass roots activists as well, they recognize that the only way out of this is through a legitimate peace process ad the building of trust. So when I speak to our supporters I can can effectively appeal that in addition to any solidarity with your own community, that you support the peacebuilders here across both Palestinian and Israeli society.

We hope these videos offer a reminder that there’s nothing abstract about your partnership, that it’s issuing into real relief and peacebuilding for real people, right now.

Your commitment to peacebuilding is invaluable. Would you join us in supporting this work on the ground?

Additionally, if you’re particularly interested in peacebuilding in the Middle East, don’t miss our upcoming virtual conversation with Shamil on Thursday, March 21 at 2 p.m. ET. He will delve deeper into the situation on the ground and discuss the pathways to peace in Israel/Palestine. click here for the video

Thank you for your continued support and dedication to building a better world.

Greta Thunberg, 40+ Other Climate Activists Block Entrance to Swedish Parliament

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article by Thor Benson in Common Dreams ( licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Greta Thunberg and over 40 other activists blocked  the entrance to the Swedish parliament on Monday, demanding action on the climate crisis.

The activists held signs that said “Climate Justice Now,” and Thunberg expressed her dissatisfaction with how the Swedish government is handling the global emergency.

“Sweden is unfortunately not unique in completely ignoring the climate crisis, not treating it as an emergency at all. But actively trying to greenwash, deceive, and lie in order to make it seem like they are doing enough and that they are moving in the right direction, when in fact the exact opposite is happening,” Thunberg said.

Thunberg went on to say that Sweden is “very good at greenwashing,” even though the country has “very high emissions per capita.” She said the country cannot claim to be a climate leader.

(article continued in right column)

Question for this article:


Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

Local resistance actions: can they save sustainable development?

(Article continued from the left column)

“The climate justice movement has for decades tried to get our message across, and scientists and the most affected people have been sounding the alarm for even longer than that,” she said. “But the people in power have not been listening. They have been actively ignoring and silence those speaking out.”

Thunberg has faced  the risk of going to jail over her climate protests repeatedly in recent years, and she has continued  to sound the alarm that countries are not doing enough to fight the climate crisis.

The Swedish government has been facing intense criticism recently for enacting policies that will likely increase its carbon emissions. Thunberg vowed to continue her resistance to such policies.

“The climate crisis is only going to get worse and so it is all our responsibilities, all of those who have an opportunity to act must do so. We encourage everyone who can to join us and to join the climate justice movement,” Thunberg said.

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Kremlin, NATO at odds over pope’s call for Ukraine to show ‘white flag’ and start talks

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article by Guy Faulconbridge and Andrew Gray in Reuters reprinted by permission

 The Kremlin on Monday(March 11) said a call by Pope Francis for talks to end the Ukraine war was “quite understandable”, but NATO’s boss said now was not the time to talk about “surrender”.


Rescuers work at a site of a residential building heavily damaged during a Russian missile attack, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kharkiv, Ukraine January 23, 2024. REUTERS/Sofiia Gatilova/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Vatican ambassador, known as the papal nuncio, to express its “disappointment” with Francis’ comments in an interview recorded last month that Ukraine should have “the courage of the white flag” to negotiate an end to the conflict.

The ministry said the pope’s comments “legalise the right of might and encourage further disregard for the norms of international law”.

In an attempt to defuse the situation and clarify Francis’ remarks, his second in command at the Vatican said in a newspaper interview on Tuesday that the first condition for any negotiations is that Russia should halt its aggression.

As the West grapples with how to support Ukraine and the prospect of a sharp change in U.S. policy if Donald Trump wins November’s presidential election, Putin has essentially offered to freeze the battlefield along its current front lines, a premise Ukraine rejects.

“It is quite understandable that he (the pope) spoke in favour of negotiations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

He said President Vladimir Putin had repeatedly said Russia was open to peace talks.

“Unfortunately, both the statements of the pope and the repeated statements of other parties, including ours, have recently received absolutely harsh refusals,” Peskov said.

(Continued in right column)

Questions related to this article:
 
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

(Continued from left column)

Russia says it sent its troops into Ukraine in February 2022 in a “special military operation” to ensure its own security. Kyiv and the West decry it as a colonial-style war of conquest.

Moscow’s offers to negotiate have invariably been predicated on Kyiv giving up the territory that Moscow has seized and declared part of Russia – more than a sixth of Ukraine.

THE KREMLIN: A WESTERN MISCONCEPTION

Peskov said Western hopes of inflicting a “strategic defeat” on Russia were “the deepest misconception”, adding: “The course of events, primarily on the battlefield, is the clearest evidence of this.”

But NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said negotiations that would preserve Ukraine as a sovereign and independent nation would only come when Putin realised that he would not win on the battlefield.

“If we want a negotiated, peaceful, lasting solution, the way to get there is to provide military support to Ukraine,” he told Reuters at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Asked if this meant now was not the time to talk about a white flag, he said: “It’s not the time to talk about surrender by the Ukrainians. That will be a tragedy for the Ukrainians.”

He added: “It will also be dangerous for all of us. Because then the lesson learned in Moscow is that when they use military force, when they kill thousands of people, when they invade another country, they get what they want.”

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said the nuncio, Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas, had been told the pope “would be expected to send signals to the world community about the need to immediately join forces to ensure the victory of good over evil.”

Ukraine wanted peace, it said, but one that was fair and based on U.N. principles and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s peace plan.

Zelenskiy said on Sunday the pontiff was engaging in “virtual mediation” and his foreign minister said Kyiv would never capitulate.

Zelenskiy, who signed a decree in 2022 ruling out talks with Putin, said last week Russia will not be invited to a peace summit due to be held in Switzerland.`

Zelenskiy’s peace plan calls for a withdrawal of Russian troops, a return to Ukraine’s 1991 borders, and due process to hold Russia accountable for its actions. Russia says it cannot hold any talks under such a premise.

South Africa requests ICJ emergency orders to halt “unspeakable” Gazan genocide

. . HUMAN RIGHTS . .

An article from Pearls and Irritations

“Israel is now massacring desperate, starving Palestinians seeking to obtain food for their slowly-dying children.” The situation in Gaza is now so terrifying as to be unspeakable, writes South Africa in an urgent request for the International Court of Justice to issue additional provisional measures to stop Israel’s genocide.

South Africa today filed an urgent request with the International Court of Justice for the indication of additional provisional measures and the modification of the Court’s Order of 26 January 2024 and decision of 16 February 2024 in the case concerning Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in the Gaza Strip (South Africa v. Israel), according to the ICJ in a press release dated 6 March.

In its request, South Africa states that it is “compelled to return to the Court in light of the new facts and changes in the situation in Gaza — particularly the situation of widespread starvation — brought about by the continuing egregious breaches of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide . . . by the State of Israel . . . and its ongoing manifest violations of the provisional measures indicated by this Court on 26 January 2024”.

It requests the Court to indicate further provisional measures and/or to modify the provisional measures indicated it its Order of 26 January 2024, pursuant to Article 41 of the Statute of the Court and Article 75, paragraphs 1 and 3, and Article 76, paragraph 1, of the Rules of Court, respectively, “in order urgently to ensure the safety and security of 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza, including over a million children”. It urges the Court to do so without holding a hearing, in light of the “extreme urgency of the situation”.

The situation in Gaza described by the ICJ as “perilous” on 16 February, “is now so terrifying as to be unspeakable… justifying — and indeed demanding — the indication of further provisional measures of protection,” argued South Africa.

South Africa’s has requested that the ICJ make the following additional provisional measures and modification to existing measures:

1. “All participants in the conflict must ensure that all fighting and hostilities come to an immediate halt, and that all hostages and detainees are released immediately.

(continued in right column)

Question related to this article:

How can war crimes be documented, stopped, punished and prevented?

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

(continued from left column)

2. “All Parties to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide must, forthwith, take all measures necessary to comply with all of their obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

3. “All Parties to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide must, forthwith, refrain from any action, and in particular any armed action or support thereof, which might prejudice the right of the Palestinians in Gaza to be protected from acts of genocide and related prohibited acts, or any other rights in respect of whatever judgment the Court may render in the case, or which might aggravate or extend the dispute before the Court or make it more difficult to resolve.

4. “The State of Israel shall take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address famine and starvation and the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians in Gaza, by: (a) immediately suspending its military operations in Gaza; (b) lifting its blockade of Gaza; (c) rescinding all other existing measures and practices that directly or indirectly have the effect of obstructing the access of Palestinians in Gaza to humanitarian assistance and basic services; and (d) ensuring the provision of adequate and sufficient food, water, fuel, shelter, clothing, hygiene and sanitation requirements, alongside medical assistance, including medical supplies and support.

5. “The State of Israel shall submit an open report to the Court on all measures taken to give effect to all provisional measures ordered by the Court to date, within one month as from the date of this Order.”

“Palestinian children are starving to death as a direct result of the deliberate acts and omissions of Israel — in violation of the Genocide Convention and of the Court’s Order. This includes Israel’s deliberate attempts to cripple the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (‘UNRWA’), on whom the vast majority of besieged, displaced and starving Palestinian men, women, children and babies depend for their survival,” write South Africa.

The latest death toll from Israel’s assault on Gaza stands at 30,717 people killed, including more than 12,300 children and 8,400 women. More than 72,156 Palestinians have been injured.

 Read the full text of South Africa’s submission to the International Court of Justice here: APPLICATION OF THE CONVENTION ON THE PREVENTION AND PUNISHMENT OF THE CRIME OF GENOCIDE IN THE GAZA STRIP (SOUTH AFRICA V. ISRAEL)

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Dialogue Remains Best Key To End Conflicts In Africa – Obasanjo, Ex-President of Nigeria

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION .

An article by  Bolaji Jimoh in New Telegraph of Nigeria

Olusegun Obasanjo, the former President of Nigeria on Tuesday said dialogue remains the best way to end numerous crises in Africa.

Tinubu made this known while speaking at a youth leadership conference in Abeokuta on the theme, “Opportunities for Peace: Roles of the Youths in Conflict Prevention in Africa.”

According to him, in order to encourage young people to be leaders in promoting peace rather than being used as tools for committing acts of violence across the continent, efforts to instil in them a culture of security and peace must be intensified.

(Article continued in the column on the right)

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

(Article continued from the column on the left)

The programme which was organized by Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library and Institute for African Culture and International Understanding, the Centre for Human Security and Dialogue is one of the events planned in honour of the former president’s 87th birthday.

As per the former President, it is imperative to prioritise compassion and tolerance over hateful narratives and negative attitudes that fuel conflicts and ultimately lead to violence. Peace is a non-negotiable for development and economic success.

Instead of being drawn in or utilised as tools of destabilisation, he added, young people in Africa ought to be agents of peace and stand hard against conflicts in any area of the continent.

“We must begin to bring up our youth in a culture of peace and security. The chances are that where we have a culture of love, we will have peace.

“The first thing to do is to inculcate in the youths the ingredients of peace, which is love and fellowship.

“Look at the attributes that God gave us to have a life of stability, a life of peace; they are, as I mentioned, kindness, mercy, and forgiveness,’’he said.

International Women’s Day: Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

. . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

An article from the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

On International Women’s Day: Why challenging the narrative is more important than ever

In this insightful Q&A with Maha Batran, WILPF’s MEL & Partnerships Advisor, she delves into the heart of the Palestinian struggle, exploring its historical roots, the ongoing challenges faced by Palestinians, and the importance of challenging prevailing narratives. Through candid reflections and expert analysis, she uncovers the gendered impact of occupation, the nuances of Palestinian resistance, and the global solidarity movements demanding justice and accountability.

What are the root causes of all this strouggle? And how are women affected?

In 1948 the State of Israel was created marking the end of the British Mandate of Palestine. 1948 year is also known as Nakba where armed Jewish/Zionist groups ethnically cleansed Palestinians  in parts of the land. They not only killed tens of thousands of Palestinians but also forcefully displaced more than 700,000 Palestinians out of their homes into the West Bank, Gaza and the neighbouring countries. My father’s family was kicked out from their home in Jaffa and settled in Gaza in 1948. Israel occupied the rest of historic Palestine in 1967, to include East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank where I now live. 

For decades, UN General Assembly resolutions were passed protecting the rights of the Palestinians and demanding Israel stop its colonial project and oppression. This includes UN Resolution 194, on the protection of the Palestinian refugees’ right to return to their homes and live in peace with their neighbours, or receive compensation. Those resolutions remain on paper. I personally remain a refugee in Palestine without the right to visit, let alone settle in Jaffa. Meanwhile any Jew from around the world can come (and be financed and encouraged) to settle in Jaffa.

The Palestinian Liberation Organization (internationally-recognised representative of the Palestinian people) and the State of Israel signed a peace treaty, the Oslo Accords in 1993. The agreement stipulated a transitional five-year period for a Palestinian Interim Self-Government arrangement to end with a permanent arrangement where Palestinians have the right to self-determination and peace, living side-by-side with Israel. This transitional period ended with no handing of power to the Palestinians over the West Bank and Gaza as prescribed by the Accords. On the contrary, increased Israeli control, land grab and settlers inside the West Bank grew exponentially. The peace negotiations failed. I have seen it with my own eyes, the settlement on the hill across from our home was just expanding, the checkpoints between town and cities in the West Bank multiplied, and we had absolutely no sovereignty, no control over the land, the water resources, the air, the borders, building permits, nothing. Palestinians couldn’t accept this. Who would have? 

We have witnessed daily violations of human rights, international law and crimes against humanity and war crimes towards Palestinians. These have been recorded by International, Palestinian and Israeli human rights organisations and commissions in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel, including deeming the occupation illegal under international law (and now an advisory opinion is being sought about the issue at the International Court of Justice) and exposing the crime of a system of apartheid by the State of Israel. 

The Israeli policies that victimise and discriminate against the Palestinian people have a clear gendered impact as they isolate Palestinian women, impoverish them, limit their rights and freedoms and inhibit their participation in the public political, cultural, social and economic spheres. The occupation and apartheid state policies have huge effects on women’s legal, social, educational, economic and political status, as well as their priorities, access to services especially for girls and women victims of gender-based violence, and their available options for resistance.

Learn more

For further resources on the history of Palestine and Israel visit the UN page

Other resources can be found here.

You can read more about the impact of occupation on Palestinian women WILPF’s analysis

Also this by Palestinian women’s organisations.

This statement by UN experts on the recent human rights violations by Israel towards Palestinian girls and women.

And what has the situation been in Gaza until the current escalation of violence?

The situation for Palestinians has been deteriorating over time, and Palestinians living in Gaza have been under a blockade since 2007. Actually, I haven’t been able to visit Gaza since 1999 because the Israeli state wouldn’t give me a permit. So technically, the siege has been enforced since then. And Gaza’s living conditions have worsened over the past decades. Gazans and activists have tried to resist in non-violent means. The Freedom Flotillas launched by international solidarity groups which use international waters to try and cross to Gaza in boats.  The Great March of Return towards the Gazan border with Israel where refugees (who account for 70% of the population in Gaza) marched every Friday towards the borders in a symbolic move to break the siege of Gaza and exercise their right to return to their land were specific examples of initiatives to try and break the blockade of Gaza and bring world attention to the situation in Gaza.  However, the international and political response to these attempts was little. Military groups in Gaza launched rocket attacks from Gaza onto neighbouring Israeli territories, and Israel launched six large military assaults (2008-2009, 2012, 2014, 2021, 2022, and 2023) with thousands killed. But the siege persisted. 

The current escalation of violence, the continued blockade, the failure to deliver on commitments in the peace process has been enabled through the longtime impunity of  the Israeli army and officials committing crime after crime with no accountability or consequences. Gaza was often described as a ticking bomb, with over two million people living in what was often described as an open-air prison, and continuously under attack. 

WILPF’s campaigning has called on allies to challenge the narrative around the conflict. Why is that important and what does this mean?

Western media frames the cause of the Palestinians as a complicated conflict, with two-people not being able to live side by side and co-exist. It also uses language of supremacy and dehumanisation. A narrative that fails to acknowledge the history of the land and its people, the humanity and equality of Palestinians and the dynamics and drivers of the violence and injustice. This narrative has thus far and will certainly fail to produce effective strategies to address the situation. This is why it is important that we reframe the narrative of the conflict and name practices and dynamics by their proper names and put them in the right context.

Historically, but also increasingly with the latest events, Palestinians have been dehumanised with Western media passively reporting on their suffering (Israelis are often reported as being “killed” while Palestinians are reported “having died” and often blamed for their own death), so that they are portrayed as less important human beings and more “killable”. This language of supremacy, and “God providing this land to God’s chosen people” has been long heard from Israeli officials and supporters; it is also the foundation of the Zionist project. The“birth-right” project where any Jew is supported (financially and logistically) to visit Israel and settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and settle there is just one example of how the colonial project, in the name of the “right of the Jewish people to the land”, is justified and defended through narrative. Palestinian refugees who have been kicked out of their land when the State of Israel was created, have been denied the same “right”. WILPF and others have been challenging this narrative. 

(Article continued in right column)

(Click here for a version in French.)

Questions related to this article:

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

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

(Article continued from left column)

We often hear that other oppressed peoples may have the right cause but are going out demanding it in the ‘wrong way’. This is faced by Palestinians too. 

It’s important to start by emphasising that people’s right to resist occupation is protected by the Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, and a dozen UN resolutions, including UNGA Resolution 37/43 which stated the legitimacy of the struggle for independence, and liberation from foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle. This means that Palestinians have the right to resist the illegal Israeli occupation, with all available means. Armed struggle needs to also abide by international law (which for example, prohibits the targeting of civilians). It is also important to also acknowledge that labelling a person or a group for resisting occupation or oppression by “terrorist” or their acts as “terrorist acts” has been a long established practice, some of these labels were later revised such as the cases with Yasser Arafat  led violent attacks and later was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.Nelson Mandela was considered one of the greatest peacemakers after successfully fighting apartheid with violent and non-violent means. Those who have the power to have their views accepted and create the narrative also have the power to label and mislabel.

People ask “Why is there no Mandela in Palestine?” How do you respond to those kinds of critiques of Palestinian resistance and leadership? 

We Palestinians have peacefully resisted Israel’s occupation and human rights abuse through countless persistent initiatives ranging from Youth movements, union organising, arts and culture, popular marches, and political initiatives. For example, the Youth Against Settlements which is most active in Hebron in the West Bank, where Israeli settlers are slowly taking over Palestinian homes in the heart of the city protected by soldiers; the Great March of Return; the Freedom Flotillas; the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement which is replicated from the South African anti-apartheid movement, and which was endorsed by WILPF in a resolution in 2011; and most recently, global movement around the world calling for a ceasefire in Gaza but also to dismantle the apartheid system and end the occupation.

However, the clamp down on any such attempts at resistance was violent and almost inevitable (see for example, Amnesty International’s Trigger Happy Report). The chance that leaders survive Israel’s systematic and widespread targeting of peaceful resistance is virtually nonexistent. Israel has a long history of the use of collective punishment and excessive force including the assassination of Palestinian activists, journalists, poets, politicians and systematically penalised others, including children, through measures such as the illegal prolonged administrative detention denying Palestinians basic judicial guarantees, such as the case of academic Ahmad Qatamesh.

For further resources on the Palestinian right to resist, visit the legal analysis and the FAQs that WILPF contributed to on Gaza and international law.

There have been many countries and institutions that have cracked down on and even criminalised pro-Palestinian activism in the name of fighting anti-semitism.  Does the resistance of Palestinians, Israelis and internationals to Israeli (State and settlers) oppression of Palestinians amount to anti-semitism?  

No. There is a difference between standing up against human rights violations by the Israeli army and settlers, and anti-semitism. 

Anti-semitism is not acceptable. However, advocating for Palestinian rights does not make you anti-semitic. If you believe in equality and justice, you are not anti-semitic. Palestinians and supporters of Palestinian rights recognise that there are root causes for all the violence (which is the continuation of the Israeli colonial project of dispossession and the apartheid system of oppression) and this needs to be addressed. 

The Israeli state and pro-Israeli propaganda have tried to frame and taint supporters and advocates of Palestinian rights as anti-semitic so that they are immediately suppressed on false moral ground. Many Jewish groups and activists are resisting the pro-Israeli efforts to falsely equate critiques of Israel with anti-semitism and are seeking to disentangle Jewish identity and liberation from Zionism and the Israeli state.  

These include Jewish Israelis and Israeli organisations exposing and standing up against Israeli State violations of human rights and international law, including B’tselem, Yesh Din, and HaMoked. There are also Jewish Israeli individuals, such as authors and historians Illan Pappe and Avi Shlaim, who have dedicated their work to help expose the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the Zionist project. There is Amira Hass, the Israeli journalist and daughter of Holocaust survivors living in the West Bank amongst Palestinians also writing to expose Israeli violations especially in the West Bank.

Jewish voices around the world who oppose Israel’s actions against Palestinians, including Jewish Voice for Peace (visit JVP FAQs for further information about their stands particularly on questions around not equating the Jewish identity of the group with zionism and anti-semitism), and individuals, such as jewish intellectuals and authors Naomi Klein and Judith Butler. 

There is a difference between being anti-semitic, and standing up for justice, accountability, equality and freedom. One should be able to speak the truth, fight for the protection of human rights, an oppression-free, colonial-free and apartheid-free world without fear. 

There have been different kinds of solidarity and peace efforts over the years by civil society and peace activists. What kind of solidarity is helpful to the Palestinians and the Palestinian cause? 

Not all peacebuilding efforts have been helpful to Palestinians and the Palestinian cause. Approaches to peacebuilding that buy into a false narrative of ‘two peoples that can’t get along’ will inevitably produce ineffective and even harmful results. Solidarity and peace activists must differentiate between coexistence and co-resistance, between solidarity and normalisation, between exposing the violations of human rights and international law and between overstepping those in favour of “a peace solution between two people”.

Coexistence, which is usually promoted through activities such as camps or dialogue sessions between Israelis and Palestinians, is about normalising the relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed. Normalisation activities are often referred to as the “colonisation of the mind” where the oppressor-oppressed relationship and status quo are seen as normal, with some cosmetic improvements. These activities proliferated during the Oslo period (1994-1999), but because the root causes were not addressed, they failed. And while some people, and some self-proclaimed feminists, support normalisation activities, these are not accepted by the majority of Palestinians, will remain in the margins of the real struggle, and will not bring justice. 

Co-resistance, on the other hand, acknowledges that the oppressor and the oppressed are not on equal footing, and that history, particularly Israel’s foundation through the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, is well recognised. It demands the recognition and assertion of the inalienable rights of Palestinians, including the right to return.

The BDS has set very clear definitions and guidelines for anti-normalisation activities. They also have tailored guidelines for the different sectors and groups. These should always be consulted with.  

Final word?

This conflict, our conflict is about a settler-colonial state enforcing a military occupation and an apartheid regime. The world  has witnessed a state commit a livestreamed genocide.  Many of their leaders are complicit, along with the international mechanisms that have failed to stop it. In response, they have risen. This movement has inspired the government of South Africa to bravely take Israel to the World Court for the Crime of Genocide. 

This global movement is demanding accountability from all complicit governments, institutions, and corporations. The movement is growing and trying to shake the world order today. Gazans have lost so much themselves, but the world sees Gaza as a global front against the rule of oppression, colonialism, and tyranny, so they act in solidarity with Gazans and for justice for all including themselves.  

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International Women’s Day: The Warriors of Peace

. . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

Text from Facebook page of Guerrières de la Paix – Mouvement 

This International Women’s Day has a special flavor. We know to what extent wars and conflicts can destroy struggles and weaken achievements.

We, The Warriors of Peace, are convinced that women, when they unite, form the most powerful shield against the destruction of the world. We are the resistance. We are the ones who hold on, who stay standing.

We, The Warriors of Peace, are a French pacifist and anti-racist movement bringing together Muslim, Jewish, Christian, atheist, practicing and unbelieving women of different origins and different cultures.

We are part of the pacifist movements of Palestinian and Israeli women.

They themselves had already been inspired by the movement founded by women in Liberia in 2003 to work towards an end to the civil war.

It is this chain of international solidarity of women that we wanted to extend when we organized the first edition, on March 8, 2023, of the Global Women’s Forum for Peace in Essaouira, Morocco. The event brought together activists from around the world, including Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2003, as well as Moroccan, Afghan, Syrian, Palestinian, Israeli, Uighur, Rwandan activists, etc.

On October 4, we participated in the “Mothers’ Call” march in Jerusalem alongside thousands of Palestinian and Israeli women, activists for peace and justice.

These women, beyond the walls erected to separate them and teach them to hate each other, gave the whole world a lesson in sisterhood, by walking together, hand in hand.

On October 7, 2023, the world turned upside down. Not our commitments. Nor our beliefs.

On October 7, the first images of the massacre were images of violence against women. The bodies of Israeli women exhibited, raped, mutilated and murdered were among the first images of horror to flood the Internet. Hamas terrorists boasted live about their feminicides. And, today, we dare not imagine what the women who are still hostages must endure on a daily basis.

Not condemning these crimes, not naming them is a moral fault. A lack of respect for our feminism.

From the start of the destructive bombardments by the Israeli army on the Gaza Strip, among the first images of horror, there were also defenseless women, mothers and children under the rubble. Women are at the heart of the humanitarian drama that the government of Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right allies are inflicting on Gaza.

We stand with our Palestinian sisters who are paying the heavy price of war crimes, mourning and destruction. We think of the pain inflicted on them by having to leave their homes, of seeing their children starving, of those mothers who bury their children with broken hearts, of those who had to give birth in terrible conditions amidst chaos and bombings.

We women cannot consent to the dehumanization of our sisters wherever they come from. The suffering of some in no way relativizes that of others and we must be able to recognize them all.

(Article continued in right column)

(Click here for the original article in French.)

Questions related to this article:

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

(Article continued from left column)

It is important that we are also able to name all the crimes, and to be in solidarity with the horror experienced by our Israeli and Palestinian sisters. In times of war, women are on the front lines. Because they embody life, they are targets to be destroyed. It is therefore urgent that they take their full place at the negotiating table.

It is with this awareness that UN Resolution 1325 was adopted with the objective of increasing the participation of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, as well as in peacebuilding.

Women must be heard, recognized and involved. Moreover, when they are, peace comes more quickly and is more stable and more lasting.

Ensuring that women’s rights are respected everywhere is our all responsibility. If a woman is oppressed, wherever she is in the world, it is all of our rights that are violated.

Together we denounce femicide and violence against women, here and everywhere.

Our empathy, our indignation knows neither determinism nor assignment.

We denounce the inhumane treatment inflicted on our sisters in Afghanistan deprived of education, care and rights.

We stand alongside Iranian women who with incredible courage continue to challenge the power of the mullahs.

We stand alongside our Uyghur sisters who are victims of genocide and systematic rape committed in Chinese camps.

We think of our sisters who continue to live through terrible days in Congo, the scene of massacres of ethnic minorities, feminicides and mass rapes.

We think of our Armenian sisters, of the violence they suffered and of the exile which once again strikes them.

We think of our Ukrainian sisters, of the sexual violence that many of them endured, of their children kidnapped and deported to Russia.

We think of the Russian opponents forced to live in exile.

We think of the humanitarian chaos of which girls and women are the first victims in Sudan.

And unfortunately the list is still far too long.

We, the Warriors of Peace, will continue to stand, proud and determined, alongside all oppressed women, alongside all our persecuted sisters, everywhere in the world.

It is about our feminism. Of our duty as humanity.

Feminism is justice, equality and dignity for all. It is the refusal of assignment and division.

Feminism is peace.

JOIN US!
MARCH 8 – 6:30 p.m.
TOWN HOTEL SQUARE – PARIS

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International Women’s Day: The Americas

. WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

A press survey by CPNN

In order to gather photos from the celebration of International Women’s Day, we put the following phrases into the google search engine:
° women’s day photos 2024
° Photos “Journée internationale de la femme” 2024
° Fotos”Día Internacional de la Mujer” 2024
° Fotos “Dia Internacional da Mulher” 2024

Here are the results from the Americas.

ARGENTINA


The center of Buenos Aires on Friday evening during the celebration of International Women’s Day. JUAN IGNACIO RONCORONI (EFE) (from El País)

BERMUDA

The Government kicked of its celebration of International Women’s Day [IWD] with the Public Service IWD Wellness Walk around Hamilton earlier this week, with a number of female Public Service employees taking part, including the Governor, Minister of Youth, Social Development and Seniors and Head of the Public Service Cherie Whitter. The Government has prepared a series of activities throughout the week aimed at recognizing and celebrating the contributions of women in the public service under the theme #InspireInclusion. (from Bernews)

BOLIVIA

Women shouts slogans against gender-based violence during an International Women’s Day march in La Paz, Bolivia, Friday, March 8, 2024. AP Photo/Juan Karita (from APNews)

BRAZIL

People take part in a march in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil March 8. A banner reads “Stop to femicide. Legalization of abortion.” REUTERS/Tita Barros (From Reuters)


PETERBOROUGH, CANADA

Kawartha World Issues Centre and Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre rallied and marched in Downtown Peterborough for International Women’s Day from Peterborough Square to City Hall on Friday afternoon. Photo by David Tuan Bui. (from PTBO Canada)

VANCOUVER, CANADA

Various groups gather outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday March 3, 2024 for speeches followed by a march for International Women’s Day. (CityNews Image) (from Vancouver City News)

CHILE


Protesters march in groups in the commemoration of International Women’s Day in Santiago. SOFIA YANJARI. (from El País)

COLOMBIA

A woman attends an International Women’s Day event with a red handprint across her mouth, a symbolic representation of murdered and missing Indigenous women, in Bogota, Colombia, Friday, March 8, 2024. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara) (from APNews)

ECUADOR


People take part in a march in Quito, Ecuador, March 8. REUTERS/Karen Toro (From Reuters)

GUATEMALA


Young people in Guatemala City release green smoke in the Plaza de la Constitución. DAVID TORO (EFE). (from El País)

HONDURAS

Tegucigalpa, Honduras. International Women’s Day was marked with street actions Fot: Gustavo Amado/EPA (from Renascença)

Question related to this article:
 
Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

MEXICO


More than 180,000 protesters marched through Mexico City demanding access to justice and freedom from violence and fear. Some carried photos of people they were accusing of rape or violence. Other banners demanded that girls grow up without violence and drew attention to missing and murdered women. [Lexie Harrison-Cripps/Al Jazeera] (From Al Jazeera)

PANAMA


Women participate during marches in commemoration of International Women’s Day in Panama City, Panama, 08 March 2024. (from EPA Images)

PERU


Protesters dance during the protest in Lima (Peru). ANGELA PONCE (REUTERS)Argentina. (from El País)



PUERTO RICO


Shouting: “Vivas nos queremos”, “Nosotras parimos, nosotras decidimos” o “¡Qué viva la lucha feminista!” (“We love each other alive”, “We give birth, we decide” or “Long live the feminist struggle!”), two marches toured the streets of the capital of Puerto Rico, this March 8. RICARDO ARDUENGO (REUTERS). (from El País)

UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK

Address by António Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN, on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2024. (frame from video of UN television)


CHICAGO, UNITED STATES

In Chicago, the day before International Women’s Day, CODEPINK, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and Chicago Area Peace Action dropped a banner over the Chicago river that read: Feminists Say No to War with accompanying signs demanding negotiations in Ukraine and cooperation with China. (from Codepink)


SEATTLE, UNITED STATES

People chant as they walk down John Street on Capitol Hill during a march for International Working Women’s Day on Friday, March 8, in Seattle. Speeches portrayed Palestinian liberation as a “feminist imperative.” (Jennifer Buchanan / The Seattle Times) (from the Seattle Times)

WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES

On March 8th, 2023, peace activists in DC made a large human peace sign in the rotunda, a banner demanding “Peace NOW” was unfurled from an upper level. The group in the rotunda formed a human peace sign donned with pink parasols and peacefully sang “Give Peace A Chance.” The human peace sign and the “Peace NOW” banner were followed up by office visits to Congresswomen who initially signed the Progressive Caucus letter to Biden demanding he pursue a path to negotiations to end the Russia/Ukraine War. (from Codepink)


Women march in Montevideo (Uruguay), this March 8. MARIANA GREIF (REUTERS). (from El País)

VENEZUELA


Women participate in a demonstration in Caracas, Venezuela, March 8. REUTERS/Gaby Oraa. (from Reuters)

International Women’s Day: Africa and Middle East

. WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

A press survey by CPNN

In order to gather photos from the celebration of International Women’s Day, we put the following phrases into the google search engine:
° women’s day photos 2024
° Photos “Journée internationale de la femme” 2024
° Fotos”Día Internacional de la Mujer” 2024
° Fotos “Dia Internacional da Mulher” 2024

Here are the results from Africa and the Middle East.

ALGERIA

The National Human Rights Council (CNDH) organized a meeting in Algiers on Wednesday to celebrate International Women’s Day, during which it reaffirmed its solidarity with Palestinian women against Zionist aggression. (from Dzair Scoop, l’Algérie au Quotidien)

AZERBAIJAN


Baku, Azerbaijan. Activists hold a rally in support of women’s rights. Photograph: Aziz Karimov/Reuters (from The Guardian)

CAMEROON

Women parade on International Women’s Day in Yaounde, Cameroon, on March 8, 2024. Women from all walks of life participated in the parade here on Friday. Photo by Kepseu/Xinhua (from Xinhua)

CÔTE D’IVOIRE


The women’s union of the National Investment Bank (UNIFEM) organized on Friday March 8, 2024 in Abidjan, a conference-debate on the theme “The challenges of development of women: professional, family and psychological challenges. (from News Abidjan)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO


All dressed in black on the occasion of International Women’s Day, women from civil society, state civil servants, small traders, politicians, teachers, students and other social strata walk peacefully from the bridge Mulongwe to Unity Stadium. To the rhythm of mourning, accompanied by the melodies of Christian songs, these women carry banners and posters on which we can read: “The women of South Kivu demand an end to hostilities in the east of the DRC to increase the resources necessary for an equal Congo. We say no to the balkanization of the DRC. » (from Le Journal Africa

IRAQ


Baghdad, Iraq. Women chant slogans at a gathering on Al-Mutanabbi street in the city’s historic centre. Photograph: Ahmed Jalil/EPA (from The Guardian)

ISRAEL


A group of women stand along the beach, commemorating International Women’s Day by calling for the release of hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip in Tel Aviv, Israel, March 8, 2024. AP Photo/Oded Balilty (from AP News)

KENYA

Radio Africa Group staff celebrating International Women’s Day at their offices in Nairobi March 8, 2024.. Image: COLLINS APUDO (from The Star, Kenya)

LEBANON


Women carry banners and flags during a protest in support of Palestinians in Gaza in front of the UN Women office in Sin El Fil, Lebanon, March 8. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir (from Reuters)

Question related to this article:
 
Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

MALI

As part of the celebration of March 8, International Women’s Day, the delegation of the European Union to Mali in partnership with the Association of Malian Lawyers, organized a conference-debate on Thursday March 7, 2024, at the campus of the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropical Areas (ICRISAT) in Samanko. The event, focused on the theme “Women, Land and Economic Power: Crossed Perspectives between Positive Law and Customary Law”, brought together an attentive audience. (from Mali Web)

MOROCCO

Rabat – The Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture (IRCAM) celebrated International Women’s Day on Friday in Rabat, under the theme of “the role of women in conflict management”. (from the Agence Marocaine de Presse

PALESTINE

Thousands of Palestinian women have taken to the streets for International Women’s Day in an attempt to shed light on the issue of incarcerated women who have had their fundamental rights taken away from them. The marches took place in several areas of the Gaza Strip and eventually met in front of the United Nations office. Women carried banners and demanded their right to work, healthcare, and education and called for an improvement to the country’s economy. Photo: Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor (from the Middle East Monitor)

SENEGAL

March 8 was celebrated with pomp by the women of the Sédhiou region, following the example of the international community which dedicates this date to the platform of women’s rights. Under the authority of the Minister of Senegalese Abroad, Dr Annette Seck Ndiaye, also President of the Sédhiou Departmental Council, these women examined the generic theme chosen this year, “Investing in women, accelerating the pace ”, from different angles. Respect for rights, access to business opportunities and the fight against irregular migration were the highlights of this day. (from Sud Quotidien of Senegal

SOUTH AFRICA

Johannesburg, South Africa. Protesters hold placards during a demonstration organised by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies in support of female hostages taken by Hamas militants. Photograph: Olympia de Maismont/AFP/Getty (from The Guardian)

TUNISIA


Women take to the streets in Tunisia for International Women’s Day to stand in solidarity with Palestinians. One sign reads, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to feminism everywhere.” (from the Twitter page of BT Newsroom)

TURKEY


A demonstrator poses before the police barriers near Taksim Square, Istanbul, Turkey, March 8. REUTERS/Dilara Senkaya (from Reuters)

UGANDA

Ministers at the Women’s Day Celebration in Katakwi, Uganda. Credit Godfrey Ojore. (from New Vision Uganda)