End Gender Violence

Women from India demand an end to gender violence at the 57th Session of UN Commission on Status of Women being held at New York

Gender equality is, first and foremost, a human right. Women are entitled to live in dignity and in freedom from want and from fear. Empowering women is also an indispensable tool for advancing development, peace and reducing poverty. Women from India demanded an end to gender violence at the 57th Session of UN Commission on Status of Women being held at New York.

1387poster

The One Billion Rising campaign states, “One in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime”. According to UNDP, “72 million children “54 percent of them girls are out of school” and about billion women fall short of economic potential. According to UN Women 50% of women who die from homicides worldwide are killed by their current/former husbands/ partners.Women perform 66 percent of the world’s work, produce 50 percent of the food, but earn only 10 percent of the income. According to World Bank,”Eliminating all forms of discrimination against women in employment could increase productivity per worker by up to 40 percent”. Feministing states 40% of the child soldiers of the world are girls.

According to the Control Arms 26 million people are forced to flee their homes every year due to armed conflict. UN Women states approximately 250,000 to 500,000 women and girls were raped in the 1994 Rwandan genocide and in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, at least 200,000 cases of sexual violence, mostly involving women and girls, have been documented since 1996, though the actual numbers are considered to be much higher.

In northeast India, armed violence has taken its toll on the very notion of “normal civilian life” and led to innumerable instances of violations committed against civilian populations particularly women by both state and non-state actors. In most operations, be they cordon and search, combing, arrests, searches, or interrogation, the armed forces have, under the aegis of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 (AFSPA) done away with the basic, minimal safeguards accorded to women suspects by the Criminal Procedure Code as well as the SC directives.

Arrest by male security personnel, interrogation in army camps and police stations, torture and sexual abuse including rape by security personnel in custody has become routine. In Jammu & Kashmir mass rape of Kashmiri women by security forces was first documented in the Chapora (Srinagar) mass rape incident on March 7, 1990. Violations of women have also been reported from non-state groups. The Hmar Women Association (HWA) submitted a memorandum to to government where “the plights of Hmar tribal women in Tipaimukh sub-division of Churachandpur, Manipur, India who were raped and molested by two armed groups during January 2006.

In short women are facing violence and discrimination both in conflict as well as non conflict areas and the number is increasing.

At the backdrop of recent rise of women in India and around world on ending violence and the convening of fifty seventh session of UN Commission on Status of Women (CSW), Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network and Control Arms Foundation of India hosted a  panel discussion on the theme “Six Decades of UN Commission on Status of Women: Status of Women Now Worldwide and Evolving New Strategies to Ensure Elimination & Prevention of all Forms of Violence against Women and Girls” on 7 March 2013, 1 pm to 3 pm at Geneva Conference Room, Bahai United Nations Office,866 UN Plaza, Suite 120, New York NY 10017 .

Distinguished panelists of the event includedJody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate & co-chair of the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict; Dip. Minou Tavárez Mirabal, Chair-Foreign Affairs Committee, Chamber of Deputies, Dominican Republic & Chair-International Council, Parliamentarians for Global Action; Rashmi Singh, Executive Director, National Mission for Empowerment of Women ,Ministry of Women and Child Development, Govt. of India; Arvinn Eikeland Gadgil, Deputy Minister, International Development, Norway; Binalakshmi Nepram, Founder, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network & Control Arms Foundation of India.

On 12 March 2013, Control Arms Foundation of India will be hosting another panel discussion on the theme “Women, Peace and Security: Strategies To End Violence Against Women In Armed Conflict Areas And Leading Humanitarian Disarmament Efforts” , 12.30 pm to 2.30 pm at Conference Room, Bahai United Nations Office, 866 UN Plaza, Suite 120, New York NY 10017. The event will be chaired by Dr. Swadesh Rana, Former Chief of the Conventional Arms Branch in the United Nations Department of Disarmament Affairs.

Distinguished panelists will include Ms May Malony & Sharna de Lacy, Young Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom YWILPF, Australia; Dr. Angana Chatterji, Co-chair of Conflict Resolution and People’s Rights, Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership, University of California, Berkeley; Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia Director, Human Rights Watch; Dr Walter Dorn, Chair, Canadian Pugwash Group & Professor, Royal Military College of Canada and Binalakshmi Nepram, Founder, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network & Control Arms Foundation of India.