Ending violence against women

January 23, 2007 at 10:13 pm Leave a comment

Anthony Barnett from openDemocracy is also here at the WSF. He has contributed this post and the one below.

Yesterday began for me at the human rights tent with over 500 people. Its theme was human rights and the struggle for gender equity: ending violence against women. There was a great panel. The session opened with two witness statements from Honduras and from the Congo, followed by a musical performance that ended with the female chorus learning karate to prevent rape. Then the session was thrown open to the floor for their questions and comments.

There were lots of men in the audience. From Kenya and Uganda men asked, why do you want women to karate against us, don’t we have human rights? Women should be equal but are not men and women also different.

On the panel were expert respondants, Mary Robinson from Ireland, Miloon Kothari from India and the UN, Miria Matembe from Uganda (who really told the men to wake up!)

Mary Robinson was patient and careful. Gender based violence was not only directed at women, look at the selection of men, sons and husbands, at Sebrenica. But today in Darfur, women are suffering at this moment in a shocking and disgusting way, which needs to be prevented. She argued for a systematic, strategic approach, engaging with power to “realise rights”, the name of her organisation. Every year 600,000 mothers die in childbirth, deaths that could be prevented. Why is this not more of a priority? A silent violation of fundamental right is taking place on an enormous scale.


Entry filed under: Diversity and equality, General, Human rights and dignity, Peace and justice.

UN Resolution 1325 Women’s sexual and reproductive health rights

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