Advancing Human Rights
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May 2, 2011
Justice Done or Missed Opportunities?
On Sunday, President Obama announced that the United States conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda, and strongly proclaimed “justice has been done.”  “Justice has been done” was then reiterated throughout our nation and the entire international community. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed Osama bin Laden's death claiming that he was personally “relieved that justice has been done.” Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berusconi, further stated that bin Laden’s killing was not only “a great result for the United States but also for all democracies,” and Palestinian Authority spokesman Ghassan Khatib said that “getting rid of bin Laden is good for the cause of peace worldwide.” Americans chanted in the streets and sang patriotic songs.
The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), US Section extends our hearts to all people who have suffered as a result of violent acts of terrorism, but deeply challenges the belief that “justice has been done” when the blood of another has been spilled – even if it was a person who caused great harm. In choosing, once again, to use force rather than to pursue justice through established rules of law, the US. Government missed out on profound opportunities to advance universal guarantees of human rights, strengthen peace and security, and open pathways for greater understanding and reconciliation.
A new Program offers Support for Delegates from WILPF Branches interested in participating in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women meetings in New York from February 19 – 26, 2011. You’ll be working at the UN as a member of a six person delegation, bringing WILPF perspectives into conversations with government and NGO representatives, learning the ropes, and preparing to take UN advocacy strategies and campaigns back to your local branch and beyond. Read more here.
New Program to Support Delegates from Active WILPF branches at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women
The nationally coordinated raids that occurred on September 24th at 7 a.m. targeted many activists in Minnesota, Illinois, and Michigan. Some 14 individuals were subpoenaed to appear before a Grand Jury. The WILPF MN Metro Branch was one of the first groups to publicly stand in solidarity with other peace organizations and progressive activists in condemning the FBI raids. The branch’s statement said, in part: “Such tactics serve only to suppress dissent, inhibit action for peace and justice, and discourage legitimate travel abroad. They are evidence of an ongoing climate of curtailment of civil liberties under the pretext of the ‘war on terror.’”
We encourage other branches to make and publicize similar statements, and meet with their legislators to protest these invasions. The national meeting of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression was called to address the ongoing FBI actions and three key demands were discussed: ending the repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists, returning all materials seized in the raids, and calling off the Grand Jury. During the meeting, Attorney Bruce Nestor of the National Lawyers Guild explained that the Guild sees the material support laws, which are the basis of the investigation against the 14 anti-war activists, as an attempt to repress U.S. activists' involvement and solidarity with liberation struggles.
It’s time to ratify CEDAW!
Those living in the Washington, D.C. area are urged to join the WILPF delegation at the CEDAW Hearing, this Thursday, Nov. 18, at 2 p.m. at the Dirksen Senate Office Building (room 226). You’ll have the opportunity to hear witnesses speak on the importance of CEDAW, including: Geena Davis (Academy Award Winning Actor and Founder of The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media); Wazhma Frogh, (from the Afghan Women’s Network and a winner of the State Department’s “Woman of Courage Award”). This Senate hearing, the first in eight years, focused solely on the importance of ratifying CEDAW is a momentus step forward in our decades long struggle for ratification of this important treaty. Click here to read the statement submitted by WILPF, U.S., for the occasion.
Support Ratification of the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
Statement in Support of Ratification of the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
Submitted to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law
Senator Dick Durbin, Chair
November 13, 2010
The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), U.S. Section commends the U.S. Government for the timely submission of its first Universal Periodic Report to the Human Rights Council and for its involvement of local and state governments in completing the report. The U.S. properly sent the highest level delegates to meet with the Council in Geneva for the review and was innovative in its attempts to make the review accessible and participatory for civil society groups in the U.S.
Recalling this demonstration of positive commitment to human rights, WILPF now calls upon the U.S. Senate to immediately ratify the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which was signed on behalf of the United States in 1980. The U.S. is the only country to sign and not ratify this important women’s human rights treaty.
The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), U.S. Section, calls upon the U.S. Permanent Mission to the United Nations to fully support women’s participation in peace and security processes, as mandated by United Nations Security Resolution 1325.
On October 26, 2010, the United Nations Security Council commemorated the 10-year anniversary of the unanimous adoption of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325. Hailed in 2000 as a landmark in putting women’s participation, protection and relief and recover priorities on the security agenda, SCR 1325’s implementation over the past 10 years has been dire:
- Only 3% of signatories to peace agreements are women;
- Of 300 peace accords since 1998, a mere 18 reference sexual or gender-based violence;
- Of the 192 Member States of the U.N., only 20 have National Action Plans for the implementation of UN SCR 1325—the United States has yet to develop its own SCR 1325 NAP.
Celebrate Jane Addams Birthday - Support Women Peacemakers!
This fall marks the 150th anniversary of Jane Addams' birth and the 10th anniversary of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325. To mark this historic occasion, WILPF is launching a special project designed to bolster women's active engagement in conflict resolution and prevention. The new Advancing Women as Peacemakers (AWP) Project will educate citizens on the history of women as peacemakers, stressing the interconnectedness of gender equality and peace, and the unique roles women can and have played in peace negotiations. This fall, AWP will sponsor a national speaking tour and workshops featuring women peacemakers from conflict areas around the world. WILPF branches and other groups are encouraged to join this initiative and host a workshop. For more information, please contact Tanya Burovtseva, AWP Project Coordinator, at (617) 266-0999 or email: email@example.com.
This June, WILPF members will join thousands of activists to make the slogan “Another World is Possible” come to life. The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom is on the official program and our members Edith Bell and Odile Hugonot Haber are also involved in additional workshops.
This gigantic, grassroots forum will address the key issues WILPFers work on, so it is a good place to make connections, spread WILPF’s name, and have an impact. Members can register at the official U.S. Social Forum website or if you want to use WILPF’s official registration password, contact carol.disarm(at)gmail.com.
There is a space on the registration form to indicate your organizational affiliation; write in WILPF and it will help us coordinate getting together in Detroit.
WILPF members attending the 54th meetings of the Commission on the Status of Women push to reallocate government dollars from military expenditures to basic human needs. A pamphlet produced as the result of our strategizing at the International Board meeting about how to unify WILPF's talking points is available: Click here to view or download the pamphlet as a pdf file.
A Human Rights Crisis for Women in Honduras
Editor’s note: This article quotes extensively from Lisa VeneKlasen, executive director of Just Associates which hosted the Honduran Feminists in Resistance when they came to the U.S. It was compiled by WILPF editor Theta Pavis.
Honduran women have mobilized in unprecedented numbers across the country since the coup in June against that country’s fast-growing pro-democracy movement. Their peaceful demonstrations demanding a return to constitutional order, have been met with brutal repression by the police and military working with the de facto government. Our aim is to place women’s human rights squarely on the agenda shaping U.S. policy toward Honduras.
The WILPF Enews Editor Theta Pavis recently (September2009) had the opportunity to inteview AnnJanette Rosga, the Director of WILP's UN Office, about the Gender Equality Architecture Reform (GEAR), the newly created UN agency for women and about the role WILPF played in GEAR's creation.
“Measures to prevent ill health and disease are as important as the availability of appropriate medical treatment and care. It is therefore essential to take a holistic approach to health, whereby both prevention and care are placed within the context of environmental policy...."
The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), U.S. Section, calls upon the U.S. Senate to immediately ratify the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
This year marks the 31st anniversary of the CEDAW Convention, the historic international bill of rights for women’s human rights. As an international non-governmental organization with UN consultative status, WILPF was a vital part of the decades-long process culminating in the adoption of the CEDAW Convention. In 1974, WILPF formally instructed its sections in various countries to engage their governments in the crafting of an international human rights convention which would “bring together the various aspects of women’s rights to form international law,” because we understood that “only through the intensive participation of women can best possible development in each country . . . and world peace [be] achieved.”
The CEDAW Convention was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 18, 1979 and signed, on behalf of the United States, by President Jimmy Carter in 1980. Yet, thirty-one years later, this powerful treaty has yet to be ratified by the U.S. Senate. The US is the only country to sign but not ratify the Convention.