April 2013 Bulletin

Welcome to our monthly update!

The International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict and our many members around the world have been busy breaking barriers and we wanted to have a forum to share some of our activities with all of you. A monthly bulletin with a Campaign update will be sent to you at the start of every month - we hope you will forward to your friends and encourage them to join the Campaign!

Campaigners in Action


The Campaign attended the United Nations 57th Session on the Commission on the Status of Women this March, which brought member states together in New York to discuss ending violence against women and girls. Campaign members, including Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams, participated in side events and high-level panels. 

As negotiations were held up by certain states, the Campaign called on all delegations to end the Commission with a strong statement that provides for a clear path of action to end violence against women and girls. Our collective voice was heard!

Photo from "Coordinated Action to Stop Rape in Conflict" held on March 5, from left to right: Ah Noh (Women's League of Burma), Julienne Lusenge (Solidarité Féminine Pour la Paix et le Développement Intégral, Democratic Republic of Congo), Hania Moheeb (Egyptian activist and journalist).


Country in Focus: Kenya

The Campaign's focus country, Kenya, held general elections on March 4. Uhuru Kenyatta has been elected President, despite an International Criminal Court indictment for murder, torture, and rape. Last month's elections were the first since Kenya's post-election violence in 2007-2008. During that time, gender violence was widespread, with women and girls often the first targets as violence was used as a tool to fracture communities and ethnic groups.

Kenyatta has been charged with orchestrating violence in the Rift Valley towns of Naivasha and Nakuru.  The ICC's Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that the trial against Kenyatta, to begin in July, will go ahead. The Campaign will be monitoring the case closely.


In the News

Arms Trade Treaty
Negotiations for a treaty to regulate the trade of conventional weapons commenced on March 18th at the United Nations.  Campaign members, including Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom have led the call for an agreement which contains gender-sensitive language and provisions to confront armed gender violence around the world.  The General Assembly passed the agreement with a strong majority.

As the conflict enters its 10th year, rape and gender violence is still widespread in the region. Rape is under-reported for fear of retaliation by the security forces and the area continues to be highly insecure for women and girls, particulalry in internally displaced camps.

Democratic Republic of Congo
Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda surrendered at the United States’ embassy in Rwanda on March 18th. The Campaign joined with other civil society members in calling on Ntaganda’s immediate transfer to the International Criminal Court where he is charged with war crimes, including sexual violence. While a first step in justice for survivors of rape in Eastern Congo, the Campaign joins with our members in the region in calling for the prosecution of all perpetrators of gender violence in the country.

The trial of José Efraín Ríos Montt has begun in Guatemala, where the former dictator faces charges of mass rape and other crimes against humanity against the indigenous Maya population in the Ixil region.  Sexual violence was pervasive during Guatemala’s 36 year civil war, during which an estimated 100,000 women were raped.

Parliament passed a sweeping new law on sexual violence in March on the heels of protests after the death of a young Indian woman who was gang raped on a bus in Delhi in December. Under the new legislation acts such as stalking, voyeurism, and sexual harassment are designated as crimes, although critics note that it also provides for the death penalty for repeat offenders or fatal attacks.

A woman who was arrested for telling a journalist about her rape by Somali security forces has been released from prison after her conviction was overturned. The journalist, who was also imprisoned, was released later in March after an appeal.

South Africa & Zimbabwe
In a groundbreaking move, South Africa will investigate Zimbabwe’s ZANU-PF party, led by President Robert Mugabe, for systematic rape ahead of elections held in 2008. The development comes due to the tireless efforts of Campaign Advisory Committee member AIDS-Free World and marks the first time that the principle of “universal jurisdiction” has been applied to the crime of rape.


From Our Members

Global Justice Center on Rape as a Weapon of War
Guest post on our website by Akila Radhakrishnan, Senior Counsel: “The time has come to go beyond the recognition that rape is being used as an illegal weapon/tactic of war – it’s time we started treating it like one, as we do with other prohibited weapons and tactics.”

Jesuit Refugee Service on Education to Prevent Violence Against Women in Eastern Congo
Guest post on our website by Danilo Giannese Great Lakes Africa Advocacy and Communications Officer on the work Jesuit Refugee Service does with survivors of rape in the conflict in Eastern Congo—and the benefits of educational programs. Women who can read, write, and support themselves through skilled work can find a safe space working with other women and sharing their experiences, gaining status in their communities and supporting themselves financially along the way.

Campaign Featured in The Guardian for International Women’s Day
Green Belt Movement Executive Director in Kenya, Pauline Kamau on the ongoing problem of sexual violence in Kenya and the need for African leaders to speak out on the issue in the interest of peace and justice.

Coordinator of Solidarité Féminine pour la Paix et le Développement Intégral in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Julienne Lusenge on the growing awareness and willingness to speak about sexual violence amongst ordinary Congolese citizens.

Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams on the need for increased accountability to prosecute perpetrators, provide resources, and support survivors of rape in conflict.


The Month Ahead

G8 Foreign Ministers Meeting
Foreign Ministers from the countries of the G8 will meet in London on April 10-11.  Hosted by the UK which holds presidency of the G8 in 2013, discussions will include committments to tackle ending sexual violence in conflict. British Foreign Secretary William Hague has announced that stopping conflict-related rape is a foreign policy priority for the UK's term of the presidency. Campaign members have been engaged to ensure that the meeting provides for concrete results that will be implemented, monitored, and overall support the prevention of gender violence, protection and justice for all survivors.


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The International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict
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