News and Events

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UK WILPF signs on to strong anti-militarism letter in The Times today, 28.06.14, amongst WW1 discussion and Armed Forces Day. Read here:
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Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict
A small delegation from Leicester Branch participated in the Summit organised by William Hague and Angelina Jolie.
We heard from survivors and experts and it was harrowing. It made us redouble our efforts to work on the root causes of sexual violence in conflict which is war itself. We also want to raise awareness of the continuum of sexual violence from the home to battlefield. We intend to explore the difficulties faced by women and men who live in our City and have survived sexual violence in conflict and to see how austerity measures impact on provision of services that address those complex needs
Did you follow us on Twitter throughout the Summit? Follow us now….@leicesterwilpf
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Bringing Women Together for
International Women’s Day March 8th
We invite you to a day of FREE activities at the:
1325 Project 12 Bishop Street, Leicester.
All women welcome and feel free to bring your children. See invitation and let us know you are coming – we want to make sure we have enough food! Activities include; taster workshops – drumming, the Emotional Freedom Technique, food, discussion, Top Swap, ‘your potential’, face painting for kids and more. See INVITATION International Women’s Day Leicester WILPF event for more information
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Have you got your limited edition Pussy Riot cloth bag?
Thanks to the arts platform Axisweb, you can support WILPF and own one NOW- see how here http://www.axisweb.org/features/news-and-views/our-news-and-stories/bagabag/
Thank you for your support.
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Dear WILPF member/supporter/friend

Nuclear Abolition Week – 6 – 13 July 2013

There are five simple things you can do this week (or one or two or whatever you can manage)

WILPF has been a part of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) since its launch in 2007. In recent years, the campaign has grown and we’re in a very exciting moment for nuclear disarmament, a lot of things are happening. Ray Acheson and Beatrice Fihn, from our Reaching Critical Will Campaign, represent WILPF on the campaign’s International Steering Group, and WILPF will continue to play a key role in the campaign in the coming years as we hopefully will be able to start negotiations of a treaty banning nuclear weapons.

Each year, ICAN organises a week of action for nuclear abolition. The 2013 Nuclear Abolition Week starts tomorrow 6 July and will last until 13 July. During this week, we would love it if as many of YOU as possible could join our efforts.
Like we said, there are five simple things you can do – can you manage at least one?

1. Sign and circulate a petition – http://www.goodbyenuk.es  (it’s available in a number of languages)

2. Take a photo of your shadow, your friends’ shadows and your WILPF branch members’ shadows for our Share your Shadow photo campaign (also on http://www.goodbyenuk.es), which is intended to show solidarity with the victims of nuclear weapons and raise awareness of the unacceptable humanitarian harm that nuclear weapons cause.

3. Tweet about nuclear abolition week, our petition and the share your shadow campaign during the week using the hashtag #goodbyenukes and use Facebook to share the link to the petitionthe video, the photo campaign and so on.

4. Subscribe to the ICAN Newsletter subscribe to the ICAN newsletter.

5. Ask your MP to sign the Early Day Motion on Trident Replacement – only 47 have signed to date and 12 of them are Scottish. Let’s get the support of MPs who don’t have Trident in their back yard.

More information about Nuclear Abolition Week can be found here, in the latest newsletter, or in the FAQ below. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Nuclear Abolition Week 2013?

Nuclear Abolition Week is a week of action led by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) to raise awareness for the unacceptable humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and demand negotiations for a treaty banning the last weapon of mass destruction.

The global initiative will take place from 6-13 July and will involve partner organizations from ICAN, which exist in more than 60 countries.

What is the aim of Nuclear Abolition Week 2013

Nuclear Abolition Week ICAN’s latest initiative aimed to highlight the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and build momentum for the start of negotiations for a new ban treaty. Since the 2010 Review Conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty concluded that nuclear weapons would have “catastrophic humanitarian consequences”, a new international movement consisting of a group of likeminded states, various UN agencies, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and civil society actors have explored how this framing can help bring progress to multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations, which have been deadlocked for many years.

Drawing on the successes of the processes which led to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (2008) and the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty (1997), ICAN aims at bringing nuclear disarmament back into the humanitarian domain where it belongs.

What are some of the actions being planned?

For the latest news about the actions and events taking place during Nuclear Abolition Week, please visit www.goodbyenuk.es. Examples of planned events include a Guinness Book World Record attempt in the Netherlands for most parliamentarians signing onto a call for a treaty banning nuclear weapons and the ‘collection’ of shadows at the Tour de France. Nuclear Abolition Week will also kick off ICAN’s Share Your Shadow initiative, discussed in detail below.

Share Your Shadow

Share Your Shadow is an initiative which aims to raise awareness for the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and the demand for a treaty banning them as the only sustainable way to achieve the aim of their total elimination. People are encouraged to capture their shadows in photographs, videos or artwork, submit them to www.goodbyenuk.es and share them through social media outlets. The shadows will form a striking and creative collage that will celebrate the value of human life and send a strong message of support for the abolition of nuclear weapons, starting with the initiation of negotiations for a treaty to outlaw them.

What is the significance of shadows to nuclear weapons?

On 6 August 1945, the United States detonated an atomic bomb over the city of Hiroshima. Three days later another nuclear weapon targeted Nagasaki. The death toll was enormous. Near the center of the explosion, the thermal radiation from the blast was so powerful that people were instantly vaporized, leaving only a shadow on the ground where they stood

The explosions over Hiroshima and Nagasaki left numerous nuclear shadows around the city. They serve as permanent reminders of the horrific nature of these weapons and as powerful symbols of the need to outlaw weapons whose effects cause unacceptable humanitarian suffering.

Why is ICAN aiming at the total elimination of nuclear weapons?

A single nuclear weapon detonation in an urban area would kill tens of thousands immediately and leave hundreds of thousands more in desperate need. A wider use of nuclear weapons could cause global climatic changes that would impair global crop production and result in famine even in different continents from where the original conflict took place. In order to avoid such unacceptable disasters, nuclear weapons must be eliminated.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=P_fTrDlLkOo

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Just found us?
Did you find out about us in from an advert? Want to join a branch near you? Email leicesterwilpf@gmail.com and we’ll put you in touch with our membersip officer.
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UK WILPF Spring Seminar and AGM 16th March 2013, London, UK.  Are you coming? Click here ot find out more about the programme for the day and the seminar theme “The Voices of African Women – a campaign of UK WILPF: Aims, Successes, Challenges and Future Plans” http://wp.me/a1k3gl-3G
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16 Days Against Violence Against Women
Over the last 16 days, WILPF has published a series of blogs as part of the global campaign ’16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women’. You can read them all on our international website, below.
This time last year, Cynthia Cockburn, spoke at our conference in Leicester, ‘Violence Against Women in Peace and War‘  which marked the same global event. This year, Cynthia contributes a fitting conclusion to the WILPF commentary from Sections around the world.
Read it here:
To catch up on the blog from WILPF Sections around the globe, go to www.wilpfinternational.org or you can take this opportunity to follow us on twitter (@leicesterwilpf or @UKWILPFor LIKE us on facebook /UKWILPF
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Whistleblower Film (15)
At St Martin’s House, Peacock Lane, Tuesday 26th June, 6pm
Film will be followed by a short discussion
BOOK NOW to secure your place – more details click here
Call or text 07885 600 362 or email:
The film showing is free and light refreshments are available. This is a WILPF fundraising event. We welcome you to come prepared to donate. Thank you
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Next Leicester WILPF meeting
Details: Email leicesterwilpf@gmail.com
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23 May 2012 – WILPF speaks out about UK human rights failings ahead of the Universal Periodic Review of UK
An event, run by Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), 23 May 2012, will draw conclusions about British progress in human rights ahead of its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to be heard in the Human Rights Council in Geneva, 24 May.

WILPF argues that the UPR session should highlight three issues where the UK government has failed to comply with its human rights obligations: the cost and humanitarian consequences of the development and deployment of nuclear weapons; the arms trade and protection of civilians; and the importance of enhancing human rights to fully achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

For example, the UK expenditure on nuclear weapons last year was some USD 5.5 billion, making it thefifth largest global spender and the budget is increasing. WILPF is deeply concerned that this continuing high expenditure on nuclear and military equipment, including Trident, means higher cuts in budget allocations to health, education and social services, which disproportionately affect women and children here in the UK.

Madeleine Rees, Secretary-General of WILPF explains,

“The UK needs to improve its policies that are detrimental to women’s human rights, peace, security and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in conflict affected countries as well as UK territory. We want to know what steps the Government UK will take to cut its military expenditure, in particular its expenditure on nuclear weaponry”

In addition, the UK has prioritized the sale of arms as a means of increasing export revenue but the proliferation of this trade directly influences the degree of militarization within states and has a devastating impact on human rights. It particularly increases the level and type of violence experienced by women. WILPF argues that the impact has been evident in the suppression of democracy protestors in Bahrain and Libya where governments have used tear gas, crowd control ammunition, sniper rifles, and armoured vehicles bought and made in the UK.

The current control mechanisms allows for sale of arms to regions where violations of human rights are documented, where conflict is likely, or where it is reasonable foreseeable that the types of arms being sold would be used against the civilian population.

There is an intrinsic link between arms sales, human rights and maternal health, particularly in conflict affected countries with rising poverty levels, malnutrition, lack of accessible and appropriate health-care services as well as lack of security and protection of women’s rights.

Rees continues,

“We want the UK government to comply with its own human rights index on arms exports and cease exporting arms to countries where there are extensive human rights violations. On the one hand the UK has fully committed to the MDGs and has prioritized maternal health as part of its aid package whilst on the other, its arms trade serves to compromise its obligations to fundamental human rights.”

Read Summary Note for Permanent Missions: Critical Issues for Consideration

Recent International WILPF Environemnt E-news
Read it here:
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Leicester WILPF deliver solidarity statement to OCCUPY Leicester
You can read it here:
 Leicester WILPF solidarity OCCUPY statement
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Date: 25 November 2011 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women Campaign: 16 Days of Activism 2011 “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women!”
WILPF sections and members around the world today – November 25 – and until December 10th will engage in collective activism demonstrating our roots as one global women’s peace movement by our united participation in the global 16 Days Campaign. The 2011 theme of the 16 day campaign “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women!” directly links to WILPF’s vision and work. For 96 years now, WILPF has led the way as part of a global movement, towards full disarmament, gender equality, racial and economic justice, and an end to all forms of violence.
“We should never forget to do activism. It is what works. It’s absolutely central to WILPF”, says Madeleine Rees (WILPF Secretary General) to a gathering of WILPF-ers recently. WILPF sisters and sections worldwide expressed their enthusiasm to set about realizing the 16 days challenge. Worldwide WILPF sections are organizing a variety of inspiring and strategic activities to build on both the message of WILPF and that of the 16 days campaign!
“It is inspiring to be the Secretary General for an organization that gathers so much enthusiasm and determination”, continues Madeleine Rees. With countries spending enormous amounts of money every year on militarism, together we call for a shift in priorities in order to achieve sustainable development, gender equality and peace!
WILPF sections in over 16 countries will take part, including Australia, Colombia, Costa Rica, DRC, Germany, Finland, India, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Switzerland, Sweden, the UK, and USA, as well as activities in Geneva arranged by the International Office of WILPF.
Our sister section in DRC is organizing public education seminars and outreach activities focusing on promoting women’s participation and gender equality. The activities will precede the historic Presidential election scheduled for November 27th. Today, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, WILPF sections around the world stand united in solidarity with our sisters in DRC in the hope of an election process free of intimidation and violence.
“Being part of such a large network of WILPF sisters is one of the best things that has happened to me”, expresses WILPF Nigeria President Joy Onyesoh and continues, “I see it as a privilege to have the opportunity of participating in the joint campaign and being at the forefront of the struggle for women’s rights and empowerment”. WILPF Nigeria is planning a seminar on the 2nd Dec on Women, Peace and Security.
Several sections will screen the price winning film “The Whistleblower” featuring Madeleine Rees in her former capacity as the head of the UN High Commissioner’s office in Bosnia such as Sweden and Norway.
Many of WILPF’s sections are arranging demonstrations, among them the US section. They have declared that we will be blowing the whistle on security, and be sure that we will be loud!  Whistleblowing demonstrations will take place at local municipal buildings around the US.
The Australian section has chosen a cultural activity with a commemorative event and play by The Performers for Peace to be held in Reddecliff Place, Brisbane on the 25th November. In Pakistan WILPF will organize an event for every day of the 16 days campaign, including a joint event in Islamabad on the 25th in coordination with UNWomen Pakistan and more than 30 other NGO’s.
In Geneva, International WILPF will be hosting a two-day expert meeting on law, its intersections and how we can use it to further our aims of reducing military expenditures, investing in peace and upholding human rights. WILPF is also planning a workshop on how to “Join the Dots” on how we can do better to implement the women, peace and security agenda through the Geneva based mechanisms. The film the Whistleblower will be screened also on December 10th with Kathy Bolkovac and Madeleine Rees on the panel discussions afterward.
Peace to all on November 25th!Information:
For more information on WILPF activities globally during the 16-day campaign click here.
For comments on WILPF’s participation in the campaign contact Maria Butler maria@peacewomen.org
To see WILPF’s work on our websites: http://www.wilpf.int.ch; http://www.peacewomen.org; http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org
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Challenge Militarism: WILPF Autumn Seminar

Title: Challenge Militarism: WILPF Autumn Seminar
Location: 3rd December 2011, Human Rights Action Centre, 17-25 New Inn Yard, EC2A 3EA

10.30 am – 4 pm

Click here to register onilne

1 year of the World’s military expenditure OR 700 years of the UN regular budget OR 2,928 Years of the budget for UN Women?

Following the 2011 WILPF International Congress, our priority is challenge militarism: Invest in Peace. That’s why it is so appropriate that our annual seminar is part of this year’s 16 Days of Activism Campaign, themed “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women!”

The seminar aims to provide the tools to challenge violence and militarism and identify the building blocks for peace: inspiration and information from high profile speakers; interactive workshops to experience activities that shape politics, the media as well as action to challenge militarism and build an international culture of peace.

Speakers Include

Fiona Lloyd-Davies, award winning film maker and photojournalist. Director of ‘The Worlds Most Dangerous Place for women’ and “Field of Hope’

Lindsay German, Stop the War Coalition

Ranveig Svenning Berg, IANSA

Rainatou Sow, MakeEverywomanCount

Janet Fenton, UK WILPF

Other Speakers to be confirmed

Workshops Include

Parliamentary Lobbying

Non-Violent Direct Action Training

Sing out for Peace

Food Sovereignty

Exact details of workshops and workshop leaders to be confirmed

Watch this space!

Click here or email the office@ukwilpf.org.uk to register, we suggest a donation of £5 for the seminar and a vegetarian lunch is available for £5.

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Violence Against Women in Peace and War

Leicester Conference

Weds 23rd November, 2011, 10am to 4pm

Leicester WILPF invites you to this conference to critically explore the intersections of violence against women both in times of peace and conflict. It will focus nationally and internationally and aims to build on debates amongst feminists, academics and activists.

The starting point is the recognition that violence against women exists at different levels and from the local to the global. The conference marks the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence with this years’ theme – From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women!

Keynote speaker – Cynthia Cockburn – Academic, Researcher, Feminist, Activist

Other speakers on: Small Arms and domestic violence in the UK, (IANSA), Sex Trafficking (POPPY Project), Challenges of implementing UN SCR 1325 in Sri Lanka and more

Venue: St Martin’s House, 7 Peacock Lane, Leicester, LE1 5PZ

Book a placeclick here for a booking form or for more information contact our conference organisers ‘Tomorrow Together’ at:

leicesterwilpfevents@gmail.com

£30 academics/organisations, £20 students – includes vegetarian lunch.

 Previously

Leicester WILPF sends its support to the ‘Occupy ‘ movement now extending across Europe and the United States and particularly in Nottingham, East Midlands. WILPF women share the condemnation of greed and abuse of power that characterises the government of so many countries where the needs of humanity are valued below those of corporate power and military might.

It particularly supports the non violent, leaderless and democratic manner of the resistance, fitting so well with our WILPF principles, which include furthering by non- violent means the social and economic transformation of the international community. We believe in the establishment of economic and social systems in which political equality and social justice for all can be attained, without discrimination on the basis of sex, race, religion, or any other grounds whatsoever.

06.11.11

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and prior to that…

The Leicester Group have been working to raise funds to support the European Tour of Clorinde Zephir.

Clorinde Zephir visited Brussels on 26th January where she visited a range of people including  Labour MEP for the East Midlands and Labour’s Leader in Europe, Glenis Willmott,  Mary Honeyball, MEP for London and Labour’s Spokesperson on the European Parliament’s Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee and Michael Cashman MEP for the West Midlands and member of the Committee on Development.

Clorinde also spent time with Barbara Lochbihler, Green MEP, Germany and previous Director of Amnesty International in Germany and WILPF Secretary General during the 1990s. See picture – Clorinde, second from left and Barbara Lochbihler to her left.

Clorinde also spoke at the Francophonie, in Paris on 27th January on the subject of Gender and Climate Change in Haiti.

Details of the Project are in the briefing below.  Read on to find out about the UK leg of the tour.

Clorinde Zephir at Westminster

Clorinde Zephir spoke at Westminster on 10th February following her arrival from Munich, where the German Section of WILPF organised a series of meetings for her.

Leicester West MP, Liz Kendall and her team were instrumental in helping to bring MPs, members of the House of Lords and supportive organisations together to hear Clorinde speak this week.

Rushanara Ali, MP and Shadow International Development Minister, pictured with Clorinde right, hosted the meeting which explored the current situation in Haiti, with particular reference to the situation for women and girls.

Clorinde spoke about the need to understand the history of Haiti when tackling the reconstruction after the earthquake. She raised questions about how aid was used and spent and the shockingly slow progress of reconstruction. She highlighted the degeneration of women’s rights since the earthquake, especially worrying given the poor situation for them prior to January 2010. She also spoke about the very urgent need to address women and girls’ sexual reproductive rights. Her views on the need for sustainable education, training and jobs together with access to health and other services and the right to justice were also heard.

Participants in the meeting were keen to follow-up the issues Clorinde raised and Rushanara Ali, offered her assessment, in terms of what she felt could happen next. Labour Members from the House of Lords also gave valuable insight with well received offers of support to WILPF as we plan, with Clorinde and others how they wish to proceed.

On the same day, Clorinde also had a meeting with Baroness Joyce Gould and colleagues in the House of Lords to discuss the situation of women and girls.

On 11th February, Clorinde met with the International department of the TUC to explore possible support for women workers’ rights in Haiti.

UK WILPF would like to express its very sincere thanks to all those who have assisted us, in solidarity,  to work with Clorinde in the UK and we hope to build on these foundations in the coming months. We intend to produce a fuller report of the visit shortly.

Gary O’Donnell, Leicester’s very own comedian, generously donated proceeds from his show at the Leicester Comedy Festival  to support our work to raise the profile of the situation for Haitian women and girls. Thank you Gary, it was a great show!

Many friends, work colleagues and family also helped with fundraising, so thank you very much.

Briefing:

Visit by Clorinde Zephir, ENFOFANM, Haiti

European Tour, January/Feb 2011. Facilitated by WILPF Europe

The European Sections of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) are bringing a feminist from Haiti, also a WILPF member, to speak about the very serious situation on the ground regarding the violation of women and girls’ sexual and other rights. Clorinde Zephir is from a long standing women’s organisation in Haiti, ENFOFANM, which has been campaigning on women’s rights since the 1980s.

The earthquake devastated the organisation and killed a number of the women workers. WILPF’s link with Haiti was established in the 1920s when we made known the consequences of the American military occupation on the people of Haiti. Our aim, today, is to highlight the dreadful situation for women and girls, which seems to be overlooked by the main aid agencies, and ensure that women, in the spirit of UN Resolution 1325 (which WILPF initiated and continues to work to strengthen) are involved in decision making and reconstruction. Women’s voices need to be heard in order that these violations, often including rape, are dealt with in a structural way. As you will know, women’s rights in Haiti were limited before the earthquake and any progress made has moved back to a very depressing low. WILPF made an oral statement to the 13th Special Session of the Human Rights Council, shortly after the earthquake, calling for a human rights approach to the recovery process. (See Note 1: WILPF statement to UN Jan 2010)

About ENFOFANM

ENFOFANM is a feminist organisation founded on September 20, 1987 by Clorinde Zephir, in order to fight against the isolation of Haitian women caused by 30 years of the Duvalier dictatorship. ENFOFANM works within the battle for equality between men and women, understanding that equality is the sole condition for development and the base of democracy. ENFOFANM focuses on the importance of information in allowing women to reclaim control of their rights in development and democracy. To do this, ENFOFANM works through documentation and communication, trainings and advocacy campaigns.

In the years of the coup d’état and the subsequent military dictatorship, ENFOFANM has increasingly focused its work on the escalating violence against women in Haitian society. During the long years of the occupation, the women of ENFOFANM continuously denounced this violence not only in Haiti but in international and regional fora in Europe, Asia, and Latin American and the Caribbean. ENFOFANM participated in both the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994, and at the 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, where a group of 9 Haitian feminists from ENFOFANM drew attention to the plight of the women of Haiti with the launch of ENFOFANM’s first book, Haitian Women: Between Repression and Democracy.

ENFOFANM returned from these two conferences with a renewed sense of purpose a newly dedicated commitment to women’s sexual and reproductive rights and health. ENFOFANM believes that the lack of recognition of women’s rights, lack of respect for women’s sexual and reproductive health, and the violence against women endemic in Haitian society are intimately connected and ultimately responsible for the failure of true democracy to take hold in Haiti. In order to address these central issues, ENFOFANM has spent the last 15 years since the fall of the military dictatorship working to raise the awareness of Haitian women about their rights and their roles in a democratic Haiti. ENFOFANM has dedicated years to preservation of the memory of the struggle of the Haitian women and to the training and education of a new generation of Haitian feminists, capable of continuing the fight for women’s autonomy and bodily integrity at the national and international level. (For a more comprehensive list of ENFOFANM’s advocacy activities, please see Note 2.)

Amongst the women’s organizations in Haiti, ENFOFANM was especially devastated by the losses of January 2010. Despite the scarcity of resources, ENFOFANM’s dedicated team has worked diligently since the earthquake to recover what materials can be saved from the collapsed office and to organize and condense its formerly vast library in order to re-establish a much smaller office. In this period of recollection and rebuilding of the state at all levels, ENFOFANM is appalled by the losses to women’s sexual and reproductive health as well as the apparent indifference of the crisis response to this issue.

The Situation, as reported by ENFOFANM in July 2010

The United Nations Population Fund and National Population experts in Haiti predicted in July 2010, the International Day for Population, that the events of the year would cause rapid increases in birth rates, unwanted pregnancies, mortality and maternal mortality, and internal migration, especially to Port-au-Prince. The women and girls of Port-au-Prince, especially those most affected by the January 12 earthquake, need immediate aid and specifically directed outreach to prevent further damage to their reproductive and sexual health and rights. ENFOFANM is currently working on and fund raising for a project to address some of these issues.

On January 12, 2010, the country of Haiti was devastated by the worst earthquake to hit the Caribbean in recorded history. During the months since, Haiti has continued to suffer with several hundred thousand people remaining in tents or other temporary shelters, continued catastrophic effects on the health infrastructure of the country, rates of sexual and domestic violence skyrocket, and thousands of children find themselves orphaned or cut off from their families.

Despite continuous attention from the international community and media, women’s health and rights have not been seen as a priority in the Haiti disaster response. Despite the large donations of medical supplies and personnel into the country, we have not seen a corresponding infrastructural response to the needs of Haitian women and girls, who are once again bearing the greatest part of their country’s burden.

Haitian girls have never had the benefit of a national system of education on human rights. Indeed, much historical women‘s organizing in Haiti has been focused on getting girls into school at all. Notably, there has neither been any national system of sexuality education nor any other organized work to educate children in schools about women’s equality, human rights, or sexual and reproductive health. As a result, amongst Haiti’s young people rates of STI infection, including HIV, are abysmally high, and early and unwanted pregnancies are rampant.

In a country with already low literacy rates and many children in need of school, orphans are frequently forgotten or left behind. The children orphaned by the earthquake join the ranks of the already disadvantaged, overfilling existing orphanages and centres and necessitating the rapid construction of new homes for children. Allegations of abuse and fraud are rampant, while many small orphanages find themselves in dire straits with limited shelter and never enough food or medicine to meet their needs. For the girls in these homes, violence, sexual abuse and neglect are all-too familiar. Many will reach puberty and experience sexual debut without even basic education on anatomy or reproduction. It is therefore imperative that any national advocacy to provide education on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls begin here, and begin immediately.

Note 1:

WILPF Oral Statement

13th Special Session Human Rights Council

“Support to the recovery process in Haiti: A Human Rights approach”

Thank you Chairperson,

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) welcomes this Special Session focused on the future reconstruction of Haiti. This terrible earthquake has once again shown us the vulnerability of human life and the devastating impact of a natural disaster. However, it must be noted, that the extent of the horror faced by Haitians today is directly linked to its history of brutal colonial exploitation, systematic postcolonial oppression and punitive international trade relations. Long before the tragedy of this earthquake, the perpetual crisis that Haitians endured on a daily basis was carelessly ignored by the media and international agencies.

WILPF commends the UN for its fast and effective response and urges the strengthening of its position in leading multilateral relief and rehabilitation efforts. The UN should be at the forefront of humanitarian assistance and it should avoid placing a military face on relief aid. Humanitarian assistance does not have to be, and ideally should not be, provided by personnel in combat uniforms. The Human Rights Council must guide future reconstruction efforts and adopt a Resolution during this Special Session that focuses on:

• The protection of women against violence;

• The participation of women in the planning of rehabilitation and development efforts;

• Disaster risk reduction and preparedness projects, which include leadership roles for women;

• And connecting relief, rehabilitation and development to democratic political institution building, with a focus on increasing the representation of women;

Finally, WILPF urges the Human Rights Council to acknowledge the role of Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security in disaster situations. Women have the right to be protected from violence and participate in decision making during all phases of reconstruction. Thank you Chairperson.

Note 2:

List of ENFOFANM Advocacy Activities

 

• During 1988-1995, ENFOFANM worked in solidarity with the Women’s League for Social Action for documentation of the history of the women’s movement, and researched and recorded the historic memory of Haitian women.

• In 1999, ENFOFANM participated in a meeting of Latin American feminists, where she established a close relationship with other centers of documentation and the Latin American media groups Isis Internacional, Mujer Fempress, ALAI, Ce-Mujer, and the Center for the Promotion of Feminist Action (CIPAF).

• In 1991, ENFOFANM founded AYITI FANM and created the first team of female journalists specializing in women’s issues.

• In 1992, ENFOFANM collaborated with Quisqueya University and the CIPAF on a training for female researchers specialized in women’s issues.

• From 1991-1995, she promoted at the national level feminists like Olympe de Gouges, Yvonne Hakim Rimpel, the sister Mirabal, Clarz Zetkin, etc.

• ENFOFANM organized the first large exhibition in Port-au-Prince and Cap Haitienne titled Ëyes Open on Women’s Rights,” which included posters from 14 countries.

• During the coup, from 1991-1994, ENFOFANM continuously denounced violence against women at national and international levels with several information campaigns in Europe and Caribbean.

• In 1993, ENFOFANM took part in organizing the first national meeting on violence against women.

• From 1991-1995, ENFOFANM participated in several regional meetings on women’s rights in the Caribbean and Latin America, including the meeting of CAFRA and the network Development Alternatives for Women in a New Era (DAWN).

• In 1994, ENFOFANM participated in the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, and introduced to Haiti the issue of women’s sexual and reproductive health.

• In 1995, ENFOFANM published “At the Dawn of Beijing” to encourage national reflection about the upcoming 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing, and participated with a group of 9 Haitian women at the Beijing conference.

• Upon returning from Beijing, ENFOFANM organized an exhibition in Haiti to raise awareness about the conference and to publicize the ongoing action of the Haitian women’s movement.

• From 1994-1997, ENFOFANM developed and practiced an advocacy strategy for the improvement of the Ministry on the Condition of Women and Women’s Rights.

• In 1996, ENFOFANM participated in the campaign to pressure congress to ratify the Convention Belem do Para and to proclaim April 3rd to be the National Day of the Haitian Women’s Movement.

• In 1997, ENFOFANM marked its 10th anniversary with an exhibition on the history of the feminist movement.

• In 1998, ENFOFANM helped organize a congress of Haitian and Dominican women to discuss the issue of violence against women.

• Since 1999, ENFOFANM has actively campaigned for the realization of the sexual and reproductive rights of Haitian women.

• Since 1999, ENFOFANM has organized a campaign in Haiti on September 28th to join in the Latin America and Caribbean regional activities for the legalization of abortion.

• From 1998 to 2000, ENFOFANM participated in a committee to pressure parliament to adopt laws outlawing discrimination against women and to enforce laws supporting the victims of violence.

• In 1999 and 2000, ENFOFANM participated in the International Women’s March.

• From 1999 to 2002, ENFOFANM worked to promote Haitian women directors.

• In 2002, ENFOFANM contributed to an advocacy plan for the defence of women’s rights which later became the National Advocacy Plan for Women’s Rights.

• In 2003 and 2004, ENFOFANM promoted the work of Haitian women journalists, especially the premiere female journalist Yvonne Hakim Rimpel.

• In 2003, EnfoFamn participated in the Theatre Festival of Belgium’s Haiti production of “Four Paths;” and produced a run of “”The Vagina Monologues” along with a seminar on women’s sexuality.

• In 2004 and 2005, ENFOFANM participated in a campaign called “1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize” and proposed 3 Haitian women.

• In 2006, ENFOFANM organized a international colloquium on the situation of women in Port-au-Prince. Many women participated, from Haiti and other Latin American and Caribbean countries.

• ENFOFANM participated in many advocacy activities for political equality, against insecurity, and against violence against women in prisons.

Clorinde Zephir, will speak in Paris, Italy, Rome, Germany and the UK and her tour includes a presentation to the “Gender and Climate Change” seminar in Paris at the International Organisation of la Francophonie.

UK Section Organisers

Lorraine Mirham, UK Executive and International Board Member

Mary Alys, former International Board Member

….and members of the Leicester Branch

Challenge Militarism: Invest in Peace

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