Around the world, members of The International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are hard at work. Together, our efforts to prevent sexual violence, protect survivors and prosecute perpetrators are making an impact.
Here's our latest roundup. Share our news with your friends and spread the word!
Campaigners in Action
In June, all eyes were on events at the United Nation Human Rights Council in Geneva and the United Nations Security Council in New York. The Campaign pressed both bodies to take concrete action to provide immediate support for survivors of sexual violence. We’ve also been in close touch with Campaign supporters in Egypt as new political turmoil threatens the rights of Egyptian women to protest safely.
Country in Focus: Democratic Republic of Congo
On June 18, Campaign Advisory Committee member World Pulse and a grassroots movement of approximately 200 women known as “Maman Shujaa,” or “Hero Women” in Swahili, succeeded in their grassroots campaign to convince the United States to appoint a special representative to negotiate an end to ongoing violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In response to their campaign, United States Secretary of State John Kerry appointed former US Senator Russ Feingold as United States Special Representative for the African Great Lakes region and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Feingold is tasked with beginning peace negotiations between parties to the conflict in the DRC. Maman Shujaa, in partnership with World Pulse, the Enough Project, and Change.org, submitted a petition with over 100,000 signatures to US President Barack Obama requesting the appointment of a Special Representative. World Pulse founder and CEO Jensine Larsen said, “The world is taking notice, and this underscores the power of women’s collective voices and technology to rapidly influence change.”
In the News
United Nations Human Rights Council The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva passed its annual violence against women resolution on Friday, June 14. Canada chaired the process for negotiating the resolution. The Campaign and Canadian civil society organizations expressed dismay that the resolution did not affirm the need for sexual and reproductive health services for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence.
United Nations Security Council United Kingdom Foreign Secretary William Hague presided over an Open Debate on sexual violence in conflict at the United Nations Security Council in New York on June 24. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Hawa Bangura, and Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Angelina Jolie gave statements to the Council. The debate resulted in a new Security Council Resolution – Resolution 2106 on sexual violence in conflict.
World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) published results of the first comprehensive study on domestic violence from a global perspective and its effects on women's health. The study found that thirty-five percent of women have faced rape or physical abuse, and around eighty percent of this abuse occurs in the home and is perpetrated by a spouse or partner.
From Our Members
HarassMap HarassMap’s grassroots campaign works to combat permissive attitudes about sexual harassment and violence against women, to stop making excuses for perpetrators, and to convince witnesses to intervene. It does this in part by recruiting volunteers who convince people in their own neighborhoods to agree to stand up to perpetrators and to protect individuals who face harassment. In recent days, as new protests have erupted in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and other areas of Egypt, HarassMap’s work to protect a woman’s right to protest has become more important than ever.
Panzi Hospital Rape of children is on the rise in South Kivu. “I have not seen such horror since 2004. Children are coming to the hospital in extreme critical conditions,” said Denis Mukwege, Medical Director of Panzi General Referral Hospital. According to hospital’s forensic doctor, 12 children ranging in age from one-and-a-half to nine years old were violently raped in Kabare and Mwenga Territories in South Kivu Province since the beginning of May 2013.
Women Under Siege As part of their investigation into sexual violence in Syria, Women Under Siege released the story of a woman rebel fighter willing to testify about her experience with torture and rape at the hands of Syrian Government forces.
Nobel Women's Initiative Twelve Nobel Peace laureates—including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Shirin Ebadi, Muhammad Yunus, Tawakkol Karman and Jody Williams— are calling for an immediate end to all forms of violence against Muslims and other ethnic minorities in Burma. Sexual violence is particularly widespread around Kachin and minority communities as a “systemic and calculated war tactic.” Moon Nay Li, a women’s rights activist in Burma, documents the escalating sexual violence towards minorities, noting that half the victims are killed after being raped and that victims are as young as nine.
The Month Ahead
Great Lakes Region Advisory Committee member Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS), working with United Nations Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa H.E. Mary Robinson and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), will be holding a Regional Conference on Women, Peace, and Security in Bujumbura, Burundi, from July 9-11, 2013. Conference participants will discuss women's participation in peace processes throughout the Great Lakes Region and the implementation of a "Peace, Security, and Cooperation" framework inclusive of topics such as sexual violence in conflict.
Sudan/South Sudan The mandate of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel for Sudan and South Sudan (AUHIP) expires on July 30, 2013. The panel is expected to issue the final report on its work since October 2009 on the Sudanese peace process. The Campaign expects AUHIP to include the topic of sexual violence in conflict as well as the participation of women in peace processes in its final report.
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe will hold presidential elections on July 31, 2013. Current President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai are the two main candidates for the presidency. Southern African leaders had asked Zimbabwean electoral authorities to postpone the elections in order to ensure the security of voters on Election Day, but thus far, Mugabe has rejected all calls to extend the deadline. The last Zimbabwean presidential election in 2008 resulted in high levels of sexual violence against voters, leading to an investigation into reports of systematic rape by Mugabe’s political party that South Africa’s Prosecuting Authority and the South African Police Service conducted.