Every month, Women In Black puts out a news bulletin summarizing recent events concerning women’s and human rights around the world. Understanding women’s and human rights issues (which are of course inextricably linked) around the world is key to WIB’s mission. It helps those involved better comprehend how they are connected to others around the world and creates a greater sense of solidarity. I helped Jennifer begin researching some stories for the June edition of the news bulletin today, so I thought I’d share what I found. It’s amazing that these things all happened over only three days- some are setbacks, others are accomplishments, but they all showcase the ever-evolving world of international women’s and human rights.
May 31, 2009- The Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) issued a report documenting the experience of 88 women living in a Farchana refugee camp located across the Sudan border in Chad. Researchers found that one third of the refugees interviewed for the study reported incidents of rape, with half of the reported rapes occurring inside and around the refugee camp. The report concludes that the nations of Darfur and Chad, as well as the international community, must send the message that rape is an intolerable war crime and its perpetrators must be held accountable and brought to justice.
May 31, 2009- Abortion doctor George Tiller was murdered on his way to church by anti-abortion activist Scott Roeder. Dr. Tiller was a physician from Wichita, Kansas and director of a clinic in Wichita, Women’s Health Care Services. His clinic was only one of three in the United States that performed abortions after the 21st week of pregnancy.
June 1st, 2009- According to Vital Voices, lawmaker and doctor Chris Baryomunsi introduced a measure for the criminalization of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Uganda’s Parliament this past May. Support has been far-reaching for the proposed law as women’s rights activists, health professionals, and government members including Parliament’s deputy speaker and the State Minister for Gender and Cultural Affairs have united to endorse the bill. If approved, the law would criminalize the practice of FGM and offenders would face a 10-15-year term of imprisonment. The measure is expected to win the two-thirds majority needed for its passage into law by this fall.
June 1st, 2009- Phyllia Tinyiko Nwamitwa was confirmed as the rightful heir to the chieftaincy of the Valoyi in South Africa by the country’s Constitutional Court after a five year wait. The decision has been widely celebrated by women’s rights groups in South Africa and is viewed as a true breakthrough for the advancement of women as it defies patriarchal tribal traditions and legitimizes the leadership capability of South African women in relation to men. Having recently assumed her role as Chief, Nwamitwa has since mediated two court sessions and plans to lead the 70,000-member tribe by focusing on development and promoting women’s rights “through a job-and-life-skills training program,” intending to “empower women to believe that they are as capable of leadership as men.”
May 27, 2009- At the 62nd convening of the World Health Organization, United Nations Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon proclaimed “no single issue that ties together the security, prosperity, and progress of our world than women’s health” and cited “damning statistics” complied by UN agencies that estimate 500,000 mothers die from complications during pregnancy and child birth each year. The Secretary General insisted that we can only, “move forward by thinking imaginatively…continu[ing] to connect our common challenges.” The Secretary General concluded by issuing a call to action declaring that “In the 21st century, no woman should have to give her life to give life.”
Posted By Donna Harati
Posted Jun 3rd, 2009