Amid the Western media’s obsessive search for a Palestinian Gandhi, many stories of peaceful, non-violent resistance are often overlooked. One such story is that of Budrus, a small West Bank village — dotted with ancient olive trees and cacti — lying very close to the Green Line (the internationally-recognized border separating Israel from the West Bank). In 2003, Budrus’ residents found out that Israel’s separation wall would swallow chunks of their land. It was then that the villagers decided to employ non-violent tactics to protect their trees and land.(...more)
Tuesday, 7 May 2013
Thursday, 2 May 2013
We often talk about “the Islamic world,” or the “Muslim community,” but sometimes it takes being smacked with an enormous, amazing data dump to remind us that Muslims are actually an incredibly diverse group — if you can call them a group — who adhere to views that are informed by their cultural and political context as much as their religion.
For their mammoth new study about the world’s Muslims, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life interviewed more than 38,000 Muslims in 39 countries on topics ranging from morality, to politics and justice, and the relationships between the sexes.(...more)
Monday, 4 February 2013
Dressed in black, they stand in silence — straight-backed, dignified and opposed to violence in its many brutish forms.
And after 60 minutes of quiet reflection, they hold hands, voice their first names, say “peace,” and walk away.
Drive down Fourth Avenue in downtown Olympia between 5 and 6 p.m. Fridays and you will see them lined up facing north toward Budd Inlet from near the Heritage Park fountain. There were more than 70 women there on the eve of the war in Iraq in March 2003, far fewer after Barack Obama was elected president in 2008.
They are the Women in Black, Olympia’s contribution to a world-wide network of women committed to peace in a world wracked by violence.(...more)
Saturday, 29 December 2012
Can Canadians have an adult conversation about aboriginal issues?
Since Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence began a hunger strike more than two weeks ago in Ottawa, in an attempt to get the attention of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, websites such as Facebook and Twitter have been flooded with polarizing commentary over the Idle No More protests now taking place nationwide in her name.(...more)
Friday, 21 December 2012
The Supreme Court of Canada has crafted a classic Canadian compromise to one of the most divisive cases on religious freedom it has heard – a sexual-assault complainant who insists on wearing her niqab to testify.
Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin said that trial judges can permit a witness to wear the niqab when her evidence is uncontroversial or her credibility is not in dispute…
The upshot is that trial judges are being left to decide the niqab issue on a case-by-case basis.(...more)
Monday, 12 November 2012
Victoria film screening | Crime Scene Investigation Ethiopia: The Genesis | University of Victoria November 22, 7 pm. RSVP
CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION ETHIOPIA
A FILM BY STEPHEN HERMAN
(WATCH TRAILER HERE)
Shot in Ethiopia by a Canadian lawyer, this film shares the message that when it comes to dealing with crime, establishing an effective justice system begins with the proper collection of evidence. Viewers get a fascinating glimpse into the struggles faced by victims of gender-based crimes and the Ethiopian Police and prosecutors investigating these cases. It documents the partnership between a Canadian and Ethiopian agency and their work with Ethiopian police and prosecutors to increase their capacity to respond through enhanced crime scene investigation skills.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 22ND, 2012
7:00 INTRODUCTION: DARIN THOMPSON
Legal Counsel, Dispute Resolution Office, BC Ministry of Justice
Justice Education Society Board Member
7:15 FILM SCREENING
8:15 Q&A PANEL
• Evelyn Neaman, International Program Manager, Justice Education Society
• Shannon Halyk, Prosecutor, Criminal Justice Branch, BC Ministry of Justice
• Stephen Herman, Filmmaker/Lawyer, Scarborough Herman Bluekens, New Westminster, BC
AT: UVIC FACULTY OF LAW
Murray and Anne Fraser Building, Room 159
PLEASE RSVP TO daniela.gardea [at] justiceeducation.ca
Project undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through the
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Event eligible for “Continuing Professional Development Credits” with the Law Society of BC.
Friday, 9 November 2012
If you’re a coffee drinker, chances are the cup of java you drank this morning was made from beans that were produced or harvested by women. Women’s handprints can be found at every point in coffee production.
In fact, on family-owned coffee farms in Africa, about 70 percent of maintenance and harvesting work is done by women, according to an analysis by the International Trade Centre, but only rarely do women own the land or have financial control.
The International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) is trying to change that by giving them access to training and networking, and the opportunity to develop new trade relationships…
Fatima Aziz Faraji … manages a family coffee farm called Finca Estate in Tanzania. She’s pushed for a larger voice for women by filling the seats on coffee oversight boards traditionally reserved for men. For instance, she’s getting ready to begin a stint on the Tanzanian Coffee Board, and she’s a co-director of the Tanzania Coffee Research Institute.
So what is the IWCA’s alliance doing for women in her country? She explains the IWCA is bringing women together who previously had no access to each other, or the outside world.
The International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) is trying to empower women in the coffee sector through training, networking and new trade development.
Wednesday, 7 November 2012
Over 100 nations have adopted gender quotas in politics, giving women leading roles in society. Even beyond these reserved spaces, it has helped bring more women into the work force. This may be good for society, but the means towards this goal raise two questions: What is the reason for the increase beyond the quotas? If so, are quotas the best way forward?(...more)
Thursday, 1 November 2012
I was telling a law student yesterday that lawyers have taken a perfectly good conflict resolution technology – mediation – and created a Halloween Christmas.
“You know Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas?”
“Not all that well.”
So I explained.
The story is pretty simple. Jack O’Lantern is tired of throwing the Halloween party so he kidnaps Santa Claus and does Christmas instead. But because his nature, his essence, is Halloween, he creates a Christmas that looks like Halloween.
That’s what’s happened to mediation.(...more)
Friday, 19 October 2012
LONDON, UK – For more than seven decades, the complexities and dangers of nuclear weapons have preoccupied the world. Public opinion polls indicate that majorities in many countries favor a world without nuclear weapons, though many remain doubtful as to whether such a scenario is feasible. Indeed, throughout the Cold War, nuclear deterrence strategies were embraced by all of the world’s leading powers without resulting in nuclear war. In the 21st century, though the threat of nuclear confrontation has receded, the uncertainty of future threats undermines arguments for the abolition of nuclear weapons. For a wide variety of reasons, some governments around the world still seek to possess nuclear weapons, threatening the desirability and possibility of nuclear abolition.(...more)
Tuesday, 16 October 2012
The vice president and minister of Women’s Affairs says that more than a third of the global female workforce is engaged in agriculture. Her Excellency Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy made the statement Friday while delivering her annual message in commemoration of the International Rural Women’s Day Celebration.
Celebrated every year on October 15th, this year’s theme is ‘Women and farm land for food security’. The day was set aside specifically to honour rural women. The idea was put forward at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 and the day was selected, as it is the eve of the World Food Day, to highlight rural women’s role in food production and food security.
VP Njie-Saidy said: “Globally, more than a third of the female workforce is engaged in agriculture while in regions like sub-Saharan Africa including The Gambia, more than 70% women are employed in this sector, producing more than 90% of local stable food and over 99% of horticultural products.”
She recalled that in adopting its resolution on the observance of the day, the UN General Assembly in December 2007, cited two reasons; one recognising the fact that security, peace and social progress and the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, require the active participation of women in all spheres of the economy; and two -to acknowledge the contribution of rural women to food security.
“For the women of the world, the day symbolises a wider meaning. It is an occasion to review how far they have come in their struggle for quality peace and development…,” she said.(...more)
The result is dispiriting.
As the authors of Gender and Attorney Negotiation Ethics reported, “an unacceptably high number of lawyers indicate[d] they would be willing to engage in a fraudulent settlement negotiation scheme . . . if asked to do so by their client.”(...more)
Sunday, 14 October 2012
GABORONE, Botswana — In a landmark ruling, Botswana’s High Court on Friday affirmed women’s inheritance rights for the first time, up-ending a male-dominated system that had prevailed in the thriving African nation.(...more)
Wednesday, 10 October 2012
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari ordered Tuesday that the young Pakistani activist who was seriously injured in a shooting by the Pakistani Taliban be sent abroad for medical treatment, the website for Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported.
Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old Pakistani activist who won international acclaim for her work promoting peace, and two other young girls were shot and seriously injured Tuesday, police and hospital officials said…
Malala was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2011 for a blog she wrote under a pseudonym for the BBC. She also won the National Peace Prize in Pakistan, was honored with a school named after her, and quickly became an outspoken critic of the Taliban in Pakistan and a public advocate for peace.(...more)
Liberia’s president has not done enough to tackle corruption, says her fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee.
Ms Gbowee, a peace activist, shared last year’s prize with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Yemen’s Tawakul Karman.
She asked why Mrs Sirleaf’s sons had been given lucrative jobs and said she was resigning from the reconciliation commission.
Mrs Sirleaf became Africa’s first female elected head of state in 2006.
She was re-elected last year – just days after being awarded the Nobel prize.
“I’ve been through a process of really thinking and reflecting and saying to myself ‘you’re as bad as being an accomplice for things that are happening in the country if you don’t speak up,’” Ms Gbowee told the BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme.
“And when tomorrow history is judging us all let it be known that we spoke up and we didn’t just sit down,” she said.(...more)
Thursday, 27 September 2012
Today in the lead up to World Habitat Day on October 1st we’re proud to announce a new video People Before Profit – bringing communities across the world together to tell the global story of forced evictions. WITNESS has supported forced evictions campaigns for more than 10 years. During this time, these projects have amplified the voices of communities across the world. For World Habitat Day we are bringing many of these voices together for the first time to tell another story.
The video is also available in a multilingual version here in Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Spanish. In order to access the various languages, click the “cc” button at the bottom of the video frame.(...more)
Thursday, 20 September 2012
Around the world, women make peace in their homes and communities on a daily basis. But when it comes to negotiating and signing peace deals on a national or international level they are almost universally shut out, according to a report that calls for a more balanced approach to resolving conflict.
A 2000 UN security council resolution that called for equal participation for women in “the maintenance and promotion of sustainable peace” has been almost totally ignored, not least by the UN itself, says the report. There have been no female chief mediators in UN-brokered peace talks and fewer than 10% of police officers and 2% of the soldiers sent on UN peacekeeping missions have been women…
A report published by the Institute of Development Studies, funded by ActionAid and Womankind Worldwide, argues that this near total absence of women from official peacekeeping is not only a waste of a powerful resource for conflict resolution but also means formal peace deals are seriously flawed, taking a narrow definition of what constitutes enduring peace that mostly ignores the needs of women and girls.
The report, From the Ground Up, surveyed Afghanistan, Liberia, Nepal, Pakistan and Sierra Leone and found that in local settings women took a broader view of peace that included basic rights such as freedom from violence in the home, as well as education and healthcare.
“In contrast, men have a greater tendency to associate peace with the absence of formal conflict and the stability of formal structures such as governance and infrastructure,” the report said.(...more)
Tuesday, 12 June 2012
LONDON – Policies that promote gender equality, safeguards against violence and exploitation and access to healthcare make Canada the best place to be a woman among the world’s biggest economies, a global poll of experts showed on Wednesday.
Infanticide, child marriage and slavery make India the worst, the same poll concluded.
Germany, Britain, Australia and France rounded out the top five countries out of the Group of 20 in a perceptions poll of 370 gender specialists conducted by TrustLaw, a legal news service run by Thomson Reuters Foundation.(...more)
Tuesday, 22 May 2012
A man was shot dead because he got into a fight with a shopkeeper over change for a packet of cigarettes. This was a fairly un-noteworthy incident in South Africa in the summer of 1994, at a time when the country was in the throes of giving birth to a new constitution. Both the shopkeeper and his customer lived in one of the country’s many shantytowns, and both were well-connected to two opposing factions that had split the township in two. The two factions pledged allegiance to the same dominant liberation movement, but an intense leadership struggle for local control was underway. This meant that the killing assumed local political overtones. The township was tense, with everyone anticipating revenge at the funeral since violence often broke out at these times. The police were perceived as ‘the enemy’ for their role in enforcing apartheid, so local people did not trust they would successfully deal with the situation.
Instead, the local peace committee established under the country’s National Peace Accord (NPA), sprang into action. Meetings throughout the week involved political, religious and social
organizations. There was some tough and angry talk, but eventually all participants agreed on one goal – the funeral had to be peaceful, as indeed it was.1 The local peace committee had managed
to defuse a potentially violent incident. It might also claim credit for having prevented a vicious cycle of revenge attacks.
This study explores these local peace mechanisms and particularly focuses on structures established as part of a larger peace architecture. In 1997, Lederach noted two countries where regional and local peace commissions made effective contributions to peace: Nicaragua in the late 1980s, and South Africa in the early 1990s. Subsequently, similar local peace building mechanisms have been used in several situations as diverse as FYR Macedonia, Kenya, Nepal, Sierra Leone and Serbia, as well as in Northern Ireland. The UN system has been involved in various supportive
roles in some of these countries, and is considering involvement in others. It is too early to arrive at definitive international standards on implementing these structures, but there is a
sufficient body of experience to point to some tentative guidelines – the goal of this study… full paper (pdf)
Sunday, 13 May 2012
The Lady and the Peacock: The Life of Aung San Suu Kyi
By Peter Popham
(The Experiment, 448 pp., $27.50)
Aung San Suu Kyi mania is sweeping Rangoon. The paraphernalia for sale on the streets of Rangoon now includes the hitherto banned image of Aung San Suu Kyi on posters, stickers, key rings, and baseball caps. At one store, staff are hurriedly screen-printing new t-shirts with line drawings of her face while hundreds of freshly stamped flags bearing the peacock and star logo of her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), are being hung up to dry—the shop owner is expecting a rush on sales after the NLD’s landslide victory in Burma’s by-elections earlier this month. The party won forty-three out of the forty-four seats it contested, and even snatched up all four seats available in the new capital and government stronghold of Naypyitaw. It was a staggering victory, and most people I spoke to in Rangoon attributed it to the powerful allure of the party’s world-famous chairperson, Aung San Suu Kyi.(...more)