Embrace Diversity, End Discrimination
The focus of this year’s Human Rights Day, 10 December, is Non-discrimination.
Today a special event was to be held, at 1:15 EST in the Trustee Council Chamber, at UN Headquarters, in New York, in recognition of Human Rights Day. It is to include a panel discussion on race, poverty and power, in relationship to development. It will be opened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who synopsized this year’s focus recently as:
“Discrimination targets individuals and groups that are vulnerable to attack: the disabled, women and girls, the poor, migrants, minorities, and all those who are perceived as different.
… But these victims of discrimination are not alone. The United Nations is standing with them, committed to defending the rights of all, and particularly the most vulnerable. That is our identity and our mission.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Often repeated, Hillary Rodham Clinton, then First Lady said in 1995; Women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights, once and for all”. It bears repeating until reality matches truth. At the US State Dept. Dr. Esther Brimmer took note of the fact that the US has finally joined the Human rights Council in her speech HERE.
“Commit, Act and Demand: You Can End Violence against Women”
The Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers (CWGL) will cosponsor with MADRE, a discussion tonight at 7:00 PM EST. entitled “Sex Workers Rights are Human Rights”. For more information contact; www.madre.org.
The 16 days campaign sponsored by CWGL, has highlighted 16 global partners that represent commitment and dedication in the struggle to end violence against women. They have description links to all the highlighted partners HERE.
Seven were also noted in an earlier Grab and Keel post HERE.
Directorate of Gender Affairs – ANTIGUA and BARBUDA
On November 25 the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the Honourable W. Baldwin Spencer, made note of their efforts to eliminate violence to women in his speech HERE.
In part, he said that the Dr. The Honourable Jacqui Quinn-Leandro, who is The Minister of Education, Sports, Youth and Gender Affairs, is guiding activities for the 16 days which are “aimed at mobilizing all well-thinking persons to play our part in bringing an end to violence against women”.
One example of these island activities was the march dedicated to increasing awareness and accountability among men, held on November 25th.
The Women’s Council for Domestic & Family Violence Services (WCDFVS or (WA) – AUSTRALIA
The Women’s Council states that it: [..was established in 1977 and now represents 54 Women’s Refuges and domestic and family violence services in Western Australia….]
They set forth their Strategic Plan 2008 – 2011
The key objectives of the WCDFVS Strategic Plan 2008 – 2011 are to:
Strengthen our unified voice on domestic and family violence issues;
Maintain the WCDFVS as an independent, viable and credible organization;
Improve the access of women and children to Women’s Refuges, Safe Houses and services which seek to deal with the effects of domestic and family violence;
Provide leadership in the area of domestic and family violence issues to key stakeholders and the community;
Increase the community awareness of the incidence, effects and responses to domestic and family violence;
Collaborate with key stakeholders in the development of policies, legislation and programs which impact on women and children experiencing domestic and family violence; and
Ensure access and equity for all members in rural and remote locations.
United Women Banja Luka – BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA
United Women, based in Banja Luka, says it best themselves:
by Aleksandra Petric
[When United Women Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina started activities in 1996, the issue of violence against women was largely ignored by official authorities at all levels. Rape in a marriage was not recognized as criminal act. There were no legislative and public policy documents in BiH that would protect women from violence at home and in public sphere. We opened Center for Legal and Psychosocial Assistance for Women and the first SOS Telephone for Women and Girls Victims of Violence in our region…]
Women’s Action for Change (WAC) – FIJI
WAC’s partner IWDA, stated in May 2009: […The abrogation of Fiji’s Constitution and Declaration of Emergency will directly impact the economic, social and political environment for all people living in Fiji, extending the underlying uncertainty, division and fear that are legacies of four coups in 20 years. …]
In September of this year, Fiji was suspended from the Commonwealth of Nations over Commodore Frank Bainimarama’s refusal to hold elections by 21010.
Despite the State’s difficulties, WAC just sent a message to Copenhagen 15, asking for commitments to reduce Carbon dioxide emissions to 350 ppm. They are concerned that small island states will be unable to survive global warming. WAC is fighting for family, the future and their children’s future.
Women Won’t Wait – INTERNATIONAL
In their bio, they say:
[Women Won't Wait" is an international coalition of organizations and networks working to promote women's health and human rights in the struggle to address HIV and AIDS and end all forms of violence against women and girls.
"Women Won't Wait" seeks to speed up effective responses to the linkages of violence against all women and girls and the spread of HIV….]
WWW works in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and North America. Most of their campaigns were begun in 2007 and few in 2008. In the United States they have formed the following:
Formation of the Women of Colour United (WOCU) Coalition for the Elimination of VAW and HIV&AID
Women of Color United
[Founded on April 1st 2007, Women of Color United is a network of (Latin American, Native American/American Indian, Asian and Pacific Islander American, Arab-American/Middle Eastern American and African American) individuals and organizations that brings together constituencies of over 50,000 women nationwide. WOCU individuals and member organizations include survivors of violence, women living with HIV&AIDS, violence against women (VAW) survivor groups and service agencies, HIV & AIDS service and advocacy organizations, immigrant and Diaspora groups, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, sororities, and other women’s groups..]
MEGEN – KENYA
Their site is currently listed as under construction. Originally set up as a project within FEMNET to work with men, they are in the process setting up their own office. Xy OnLine, a directory of groups and publications dedicated to gender politics published a downloadable article Oct. 8, 2009, in regards to the MEGEN as seen in their description below:
MEGEN (Men for Gender Equality Now)
Defying the Odds: Lessons learnt from Men for Gender Equality Now (Kenya)
Thu, 08 Oct 2009 – 08:57 | MEGEN (Men for Gender Equality Now)
MEGEN activists share their personal experiences as individuals and as Changemakers. While writing their stories, the activists were asked to reflect on their own change processes: what sparked their activism around gender and violence? And how has the MEGEN platform been helpful in this process? The publication also includes short briefs on the work of the project, highlighting the challenges, successes and lessons learnt in different program areas. In the process of developing this booklet, many people have been of great help; the dedicated MEGEN activists who shared some of their life experiences in their own writing, the then MEGEN Project Coordinator Kennedy Odhiambo Otina and other FEMNET staff members and MEGEN teams.
KAFA: Enough violence and Exploitation– LEBANON
KAFA is a non-profit, non-political and non-confessional organization whose goal is to; “Contribute to the eradication of all sorts of gender based violence and exploitation of women and children and the realization of all their rights”.
They focus on gender based violence, child molestation and trafficking. They have a hot line, and work from the premise of UN Security Resolution 1325., offering downloads, doing advocacy, awareness raising and victim support.
BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights – NIGERIA
From 1996, BAOBAB has evolved from a group of assorted ad hoc parties into a full sized agency. On December 2nd, their newsletter says following event took place:
[As part of its campaign to mark the 2009 “16 Days against Gender Based Violence” campaign, the BAOBAB team with its network of “Men against Violence against Women ” in the lead, took the advocacy to the streets! While in a particular popular area of Lagos known for its busy commercial bus activities-called ‘Oshodi', the team shared anti-gender based violence messages with the crowd – heightened with the aid of their traditional talking drums! ‘Ohhh' was the almost unsaid expression on their faces as they appreciated the fact that men are now in the fore-front of advocating the end of violence against women. And…guess what? The BAOBAB led network of men ran out of the IEC anti gender-based materials as the demand for them was so overwhelming! However, this ‘minor crisis' of IEC material shortage did not deter the team, who carried on with their verbal messages and talking drums. The team captured some of the comments by the men on the streets:..
Rutgers University, Human Rights House - UNITED STATES
Rutgers organized a coffeehouse event to bring attention to the 16 days campaign and gender violence. Spokeswoman Christina Doonan said:
[…By bringing together poets, musicians, dancers and artists for an evening of entertainment dubbed “Justice and Java: Expressions Against Gender Violence,” our goal is to draw spectators from the university community and also members of the broader local community in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Our two primary goals are to engage in consciousness-raising and to raise funds for a local women’s shelter. Taking advantage of our opportunity to have an audience, we will provide our viewers and listeners with information about the various forms of gender violence, its prevalence, and the resources available locally for those who have encountered it, or know someone who has. Given the fact that university campuses are sites of increased risk for gender violence, we feel that this campaign is a particularly important human rights issue here at Rutgers”….]
The Advocates for Human Rights – UNITED STATES
For more than 25 years, the Advocates for Human Rights has worked to help humans fully realize their rights in the United States and around the world. They offer legal, education and training, and other forms of activism. In the United States, their support several projects including:
* Death Penalty Project
* Immigrant Rights
* Post-9/11 Project
* US Compliance with International Treaties (Shadow Reporting)
* Women’s Human Rights
* Human Rights in the US Toolkits
On the International front their most recent activity is the release, December 7th, of a new report entitled: “Human Rights in Ethiopia: Through the Eyes of the Oromo Diaspora”. It will be available for the upcoming United Nations, Human Rights Council review of Ethiopia’s compliance with its human rights obligations.
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