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by Malte Lei

The CSW – the Commission on the Status of Women – is an annual event.  Hundreds of women from all around the world come together in New York  in February in order to advocate for the rights of women  and girls.  These women come from all backgrounds – they are professors, teachers, social workers, economists, pastors, students, or mothers. They know what’s really going on in their communities, and are well aware of the needs of the people, probably more than the average government official in the UN system. To help the UN to hear the very needs of women and men, boys and girls “on the ground”, and to incorporate these needs into a strong statement – the Agreed Conclusion – is a main goal of the participation of women during CSW and the reason why they are invited by Ecumenical Women.

Individual Complaints

The Special Rapporteur is mandated to seek and receive information on violence against women, its causes and consequences from Governments, treaty bodies, specialized agencies, other special rapporteurs responsible for various human rights questions and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, including women’s organizations, and to respond effectively to such information.

The Special Rapporteur transmits urgent appeals and allegation letters (communications) to States regarding alleged cases of violence against women which she receives. Allegations may concern one or more individuals or may convey information relating to a general prevailing situation condoning and/or perpetrating violence against women. It should be emphasized that, in accordance with her mandate, the Special Rapporteur is in a position only to process cases of alleged violence or threats of violence directed against women because of their sex. The definition of gender-based violence used by the Special Rapporteur is taken from the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 48/104 on December 1993.

How to submit cases to the Special Rapporteur

It is important to provide as much information as possible. The individual complaint form can be used to document cases of violence against women. Read the rest of this entry »

cross-posted from UNIFEM

Violence against women and girls is one of the most systematic, widespread human rights violations in the world. It occurs in every country, rich and poor, and affects women and girls, regardless of age or socio-economic status.  Despite its alarming proportions and deleterious effects on so many levels, it has long been a silent epidemic that has only recently, due to decades of tireless effort and dedication by the women’s movement and concerned human rights activists, been placed high on global, regional and national policy-making agendas.

To advance UNIFEM’s work and accelerate progress in implementation and upscaling, the organization’s vision and future directions are set out in this 2008-2011 Strategy, A Life Free of Violence: Unleashing the Power of Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality. It looks at seminal reports, worldwide initiatives, and expert consensus and emerging issues in academic, advocacy and policy circles. It also provides an overview of UNIFEM-supported programming, work in progress at other UN agencies in the context of UN reform and other opportunities available to accelerate progress, such as the Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women.

Under the overall theme of ending impunity and strengthening accountability, the strategy’s four pillars centre around: furthering implementation of existing commitments and promoting upscaling; aligning informal and formal justice systems with international human rights standards; addressing rape as a tactic of warfare in conflict and post-conflict situations; and targeting primary prevention with key groups, especially men and young people.     Download your own copy.

by Meagan Manas
Cross-posted from National Council of Churches Women’s Ministries website

“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28, NRSV (emphasis added) 

The recent dramatic story of a woman who received a face transplant after being shot in the face by her husband reminded anyone who may have forgotten of the traumatic effects of the epidemic of domestic violence.  Some statistics say that a woman is battered every 15 seconds in America alone.  With the economy and jobs worsening, the added pressure of financial strain is bound to increase this sobering statistic.  And each of us can be sure there is someone affected by domestic violence in our congregation.  As we read in Galatians, we are one, and if one person among us suffers, we all suffer.  Read the rest of this entry »

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