Sunday, 18 May 2014

In Conversation with Sally Armstrong

Filed under: Africa files,children and youth,gender,Human Rights,Media and Conflict,South Asia — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:55 PDT

Canadian journalist and human rights activist Sally Armstrong often says that in her 25 years of reporting on women and girls in zones of conflict, she hasn’t had a good-news story to tell.

Indeed, the gender-based discrimination and violence she regularly reports on is horrifying. Girls being denied the right to go to school. Girls and women suffering acid attacks. Girls and women having their genitals mutilated. Girls and women being systematically raped as a weapon of war. Girls and women being murdered in so-called honour killings. Girls and women disappearing.

But Armstrong is telling more good-news stories these days. She says there’s reason to be optimistic: Girls and women all over the world are rallying. Her most recent book, 2013′s The Ascent of Women, tells the stories of the remarkable, courageous and tenacious women worldwide who are fighting for their rights — and emerging victorious.


Monday, 7 April 2014

The Rise of Rwanda’s Women: Rebuilding and Reuniting a Nation

Filed under: gender,Human Rights,Rwanda — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 10:14 PDT

Twenty years ago, in 100 days of slaughter between April and July 1994, an estimated one million Rwandan men, women, and children were killed by their fellow citizens. It was one of the worst genocides in history, and its effects still ripple through Rwanda, central and eastern Africa, and the world at large.

It would be obscene to say that such a catastrophe has had even the thinnest silver lining. But it did create a natural — or unnatural — experiment, as the country’s social, economic, and political institutions were wiped out by the genocide. And in important respects, the reconstructed Rwanda that emerged over the next two decades is a dramatically different country.

One major improvement has come in the leadership of Rwandan women, who have made history with their newly vital role in politics and civil society.


Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Death toll in Syria’s civil war above 150,000

Filed under: children and youth,Dispute resolution and negotiation,gender,International Law: War — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 16:40 PDT

BEIRUT – At least 150,000 people have been killed in Syria’s three-year-old civil war, a third of them civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday.

The UK-based Observatory, which monitors violence in Syria through a network of activists and medical or security sources, said that real toll was likely to be significantly higher at around 220,000 deaths.

Efforts to end the conflict by bringing together representatives of President Bashar al-Assad’s government and the opposition have so far failed. The United Nations peace mediator for Syria said last week that talks were unlikely to resume soon.


Wednesday, 26 March 2014

High Court Considers Definition Of Domestic Violence In Gun Case

Filed under: Disarmament,gender — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 18:13 PDT

Law enforcement, domestic violence organizations and gun control groups won an important victory in the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday.

The justices that people convicted of minor domestic violence offenses are barred under federal law from possessing a gun, even though some states do not require proof of physical force for conviction on domestic violence charges.


Monday, 3 February 2014

USA | Esta Soler: How we turned the tide on domestic violence

Filed under: gender,Human Rights,Media and Conflict — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:50 PDT

When Esta Soler lobbied for a bill outlawing domestic violence in 1984, one politician called it the “Take the Fun Out of Marriage Act.” “If only I had Twitter then,” she mused. This sweeping, optimistic talk charts 30 years of tactics and technologies — from the Polaroid camera to social media — that led to a 64% drop in domestic violence in the U.S.

In 1994, Esta Soler convinced Congress to pass a law to combat the devastating effects of violence against women.

Access to Guns Increases Risk of Suicide, Homicide: UCSF Meta-Analysis Finds Women at Greater Risk of Being Killed

Filed under: Disarmament,gender,Peace and health — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 07:46 PDT

Someone with access to firearms is three times more likely to commit suicide and nearly twice as likely to be the victim of a homicide as someone who does not have access, according to a comprehensive review of the scientific literature conducted by researchers at UC San Francisco.

The meta-analysis, published online Jan. 20, 2013, in Annals of Internal Medicine, pools results from 15 investigations, slightly more than half of which were done after a 1996 federal law prohibited the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from funding research that could be seen as promoting gun control. The review excluded studies that relied on survey data to estimate gun ownership and focused instead on studies that included more specific information about whether victims had access to guns.

All but two of the studies were done in the United States, where gun ownership is higher than anywhere else in the world and firearms cause an estimated 31,000 deaths each year. The review included studies about deaths by suicide and homicide but not accidental deaths.

Researchers found striking gender differences in the data. When firearms were accessible, men were nearly four times more likely to commit suicide than when firearms were not accessible, while women were almost three times more likely to be victims of homicide.


Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Where are the women in the peace process?

Filed under: Dispute resolution and negotiation,Europe,gender,Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:22 PDT

MORE THAN a decade after United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) was adopted, the absence of women from formal peace negotiations has revealed a gap between the aspirations of global and regional commitments and the reality of peace processes.

On July 16 I found myself closely following the appointment of ambassador and former permanent secretary of the foreign ministry, Andreas Mavroyiannis as negotiator by the National Council to resume the task of solving the Cyprus problem.

As I looked at the photographs of the National Council’s meetings covered in the press, I couldn’t help but wonder: where have all the women gone?

There in fifty shades of grey suiting were the representatives of the Cyprus negotiations team appointed for the peace talks. The number of men photographed at the discussion table: 20; the number of women: 0.


Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Podcast | The role of women in peacemaking: Miriam Coronel Ferrer & Emma Leslie

Filed under: Cambodia,gender,Peaceworkers in the news,Southeast Asia — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:02 PDT

Discussions about what the Mindanao peace process is and how the role of women has changed in peacemaking and what the unintended consequences are of being involved. We talk about how can the role of women can prosper and not be inhibited by the cultural requirements of faith.

Contributors are:

  • Miriam Coronel Ferrer, Chairperson, GPH Peace Negotiating Panel for Talks with the MILF, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Philippines
  • Emma Leslie, Director, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPCS), Cambodia

Media files

The role of women in peacemaking by Wiltonpark on Mixcloud

Monday, 4 November 2013

Israeli Women Risk Arrest To Take Palestinian Women To The Beach

Filed under: gender,Middle East,Nonviolence — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 16:58 PDT

TEL AVIV — Skittish at first, then wide-eyed with delight, the women and girls entered the sea, smiling, splashing and then joining hands, getting knocked over by the waves, throwing back their heads and ultimately laughing with joy.

The women were Palestinians from the southern part of the West Bank, which is landlocked, and Israel does not allow them in. They risked criminal prosecution, along with the dozen Israeli women who took them to the beach. And that, in fact, was part of the point: to protest what they and their hosts consider unjust laws…

Such visits began a year ago as the idea of one Israeli, and have blossomed into a small, determined movement of civil disobedience.


Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The other violence in Latin America

This work is a continuation of an earlier work, Militarism in Latin America. This new report deals with the other violence in Latin America, that is the violence, both armed and political that arises from social struggles that conflict resolution studies centers do not usually evaluate.


Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Keeping women safe in Cambodia | by Irwin Loy (audio)

Filed under: Cambodia,gender,Human Rights — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:55 PDT

PHNOM PENH – In Cambodia, violence against women is a troubling – and common – concern. Ou Ratanak [is] making women’s safety his business. And he’s hoping to tackle the problem for future generations, by heading an organization that works with young adults to change attitudes towards sexual violence.

Listen to the report by Irwin Loy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.


Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Litigation Conduct may Constitute “Family Violence” under the Family Law Act

Filed under: children and youth,gender,Human Rights — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:41 PDT

In the recently-released decision in M.W.B. v. A.R.B., the Supreme Court has characterized a party’s approach to the litigation with her husband as “family violence” within the meaning of s. 1 of the Family Law Act, and taken the violence into account, as the court must when family violence is present, in assessing the best interests of the parties’ child under s. 37 of the act…

The court… observed that under s. 37 of the new act, the best interests of the children are the only factor to be taken into account and that “this principle applies to all existing child custody questions.” The judge further observed that s. 37 requires a consideration of family violence, and that where family violence is present, the court must consider the additional factors set out at s. 38. This is where things get interesting.

First, the court reviewed the definition of family violence at s. 1 of the act. These are the parts of the definition which the court considered to be the most relevant to the case, as emphasized by the judge:

(d) psychological or emotional abuse of a family member, including

(i) intimidation, harassment, coercion or threats, including threats respecting other persons, pets or property,

(ii) unreasonable restrictions on, or prevention of, a family member’s financial or personal autonomy, …

(iv) intentional damage to property, and

(e) in the case of a child, direct or indirect exposure to family violence;


Monday, 29 July 2013

The ‘Prisoner’s Dilemma’ Tests Women In And Out Of Jail

Filed under: Dispute resolution and negotiation,gender — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:33 PDT

I just learned something interesting about women in prison, and it wasn’t by watching.

For the first time, researchers have investigated how actual prisoners — in this case female prisoners — respond to the “prisoner’s dilemma” a famous conundrum used to model and study cooperation and it limits.

In the dilemma, two prisoners must decide whether to rat each other out or keep mum. Although each is better off snitching than keeping quiet, they’ll both serve less jail time if they jointly keep quiet than if they both snitch — hence the dilemma…


Friday, 26 July 2013

Harper government says no to inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women

Filed under: gender,Human Rights,Indigenous Peoples — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:58 PDT

In a rare show of solidarity, Canada’s premiers and territorial leaders agree that there needs to be an inquiry into the hundreds of Aboriginal women and girls who go and have gone missing in Canada.


But the Harper government is still resisting the idea.


Saturday, 20 July 2013

Irena Sendler saved 2,500 Jewish children but died wishing she’d rescued more

Filed under: children and youth,Europe,gender,Human Rights,Nonviolence,Peaceworkers in the news — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:43 PDT

She smuggled out the children in suitcases, ambulances, coffins, sewer pipes, rucksacks and, on one occasion, even a tool box.

Those old enough to ask knew their saviour only by her codename “Jolanta”.

But she kept hidden a meticulous record of all their real names and new identities – created to protect the Jewish youngsters from the pursuing Nazis – so they might later be re-united with their families.

By any measure, Irena Sendler was one of the most remarkable and noble figures to have emerged from the horrors of World War II. But, until recently, her extraordinary compassion and heroism went largely unrecorded.


Friday, 12 July 2013

Violence against women: Canada needs federal strategy, report says

Filed under: Books, reports, sites, blogs,gender,Human Rights,Peace and health — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 11:03 PDT



The lack of both data and a national strategy to address violence against women in Canada is stalling progress to end the problem, says a new report being released Thursday.


What little data there is shows the problem is pricey, says the report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.


The combined cost of adult sexual assault and intimate partner violence is about $9 billion, or $334 per person a year, according to the report. (Victims in these crimes are mostly women.)



Monday, 1 July 2013

Judy Da Silva of Grassy Narrows won a German peace award

Grassy Narrows’ Judy Da Silva has been honoured with a German peace prize for her grassroots activism…

The German Mennonite Peace Committee presented Da Silva with the Michael Sattler Peace Prize for her leadership on Grassy Narrows’ decade-long blockade against unwanted logging during a May 20 ceremony at the Benedictine monastery of St. Peter’s in the Black Forest near Freiburg, Germany.

“We want to award the prize to Judy Da Silva in order to honour the nonviolent resistance of the Grassy Narrows First Nation against the destruction of nature and for the preservation of their Indigenous culture,” said Lorens Theissen van Esch, a member of the German Mennonite Peace Committee.


Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Palestinian Non-Violence Subject Of New Graphic Novel

Filed under: children and youth,gender,Media and Conflict,Middle East,Nonviolence — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 16:17 PDT

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.


Thursday, 2 May 2013

What Muslims Around the World Think About Women’s Rights, in Charts

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.


Monday, 4 February 2013

Women in Black stand for peace, even when they stand alone

Filed under: gender,Nonviolence,Peaceworkers in the news,Religion and peacebuilding — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 20:38 PDT

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.

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