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Celebrating CEDAW - Youth Essay Contest: "We Can Change…"

Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of CEDAW

"We Can Change..." Youth Essay Contest

CEDAW promises women of the world their human rights and fundamental freedoms.  Yet in many countries this remains an elusive dream.  How and what can we change to "ensure the equal rights of men and women to enjoy all economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights" as envisioned by the Convention?

We invite young people around the world, especially in developing countries, to share their ideas.  What is the most important issue affecting women's lives in your country, and what solutions do you propose?  Submit your short, original essay for the chance to win valuable prizes and to get published on the WLP website!

To enter, email your completed essay to wlp@learningpartnership.org with the author’s name, age, country, and email address.  Please write "Essay Contest" in the subject line.

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Jennipher, the woman thrown to the dogs

By The Independent

When Nathan Awoloi bought his wife for two cows, he believed it gave him the right to treat her like an animal. Claire Soares reports from Pallisa, Uganda, on the charity that saved her

Hunched over a sewing machine, Jennipher Alupot is an unlikely poster girl for the women's rights movement.  In fact, the young Ugandan mother is totally unaware of how her story – almost too horrific to be believed – has caused waves across the country and down the corridors of power, ultimately giving thousands of abused women the chance of justice.

For seven years, Jennipher was forced to breastfeed the puppies of her husband's hunting dogs. After drinking and smoking heavily, Nathan Alowoi would appear at the marital bed, bind his young wife's legs and hands together and force the mewling animals to her nipple.

He had handed over two cows to his father-in-law as part of the "bride price" for his new wife.  So, he reasoned, if the cows were no longer around to provide milk then his new purchase would have to provide for the pups.  "I had to feed them all through the night; then in the morning he would untie me," his wife, now 26, explains matter-of-factly.

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CFP: “What Pertains to a Man”? Transcending Gender Boundaries in Jewish and Israeli Law

Call for Papers

“What Pertains To a Man”?

Transcending Gender Boundaries in Jewish and Israeli Law

Conference to be held at the University of Chicago Law School

Monday March 1, 2010

This small one day conference will be structured around two documentary films, Praying in her Own Voice and Paper Dolls (Bubyot Niyar), each centered on ways in which Israeli law and culture deal with individuals and groups who transcend the gender boundaries of Jewish law.  The conference title is taken from Deuteronomy 10:22, which declares it to be an abomination for a woman to put on what pertains to a man and for a man to wear women’s clothing.

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Call for Proposals: Equality and Justice Under the Rule of Law

The International Women's Program (IWP) of the Open Society Institute invites proposals focusing on one or more of the following objectives:

1) Reducing discrimination and violence against women

IWP seeks to support initiatives that improve the status of women by:

  • Strengthening legal frameworks and enforcement mechanisms that focus on women’s rights
  • Strengthening civil society’s capacity to hold governments accountable to implement laws
  • Increasing women’s capacity to understand and claim rights

2) Strengthening women’s access to justice

IWP seeks to support initiatives that strengthen judicial response to women and reduce the obstacles to access by ensuring:

  • Legal aid, counsel and assistance is available and resourced
  • Judges, lawyers and prosecutors understand and apply gender justice
  • Transitional justice mechanisms are equitable and inclusive of women

3) Increasing women’s role as decision-makers and leaders

IWP seeks to support initiatives that encourage and increase women’s role as decision-makers in a number of arenas including the following:

  • Peace and reconciliation processes
  • Electoral and legislative processes
  • Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR), Security Sector Reform (SSR) and reconstruction programs
  • Local/indigenous independent nongovernmental organizations or initiatives that link local and international organizations

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"We are all Laila" - Blogging for Women's Voices Dec 24 - 30

Some people think that having food, lodging and relatively good economic conditions - which is the case with most Internet users- is the peak of human development and signals that nations are fulfilling all their duties towards their citizens.  This belief influences the way many individuals exercise their right of self-expression as they simply give in to the collective outlook.  Consequently, they start a chain of repression and suppression passing it on horizontally to families, circles of friends and acquaintances; and vertically to next generations.  Unfortunately, the situation gets worse if this individual is a female because it entails silence in the face of unfair practices directed against her in our Arab world.

This was how "We Are All Laila" was initiated 4 years ago.  It has aimed at opening a window for self-expression to female bloggers by specifying one day - a whole week this year- for discussing and writing about women's issues.  Thanks to "We Are All Laila", these bloggers found some kind of psychological support that enabled them to speak up and talk about their daily problems as women.  It provided a kind of protection against fear of the usual accusations of threatening the values of society or -worse- believing these accusations and feeling guilty about them. "We Are All Laila" aims at highlighting women's problems and prompting them to draw real images of their own experiences in order to open a dialogue that can lead to changing the ideas of a whole society.  Therefore, "We Are All Laila" is an independent and non-profit initiative.

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'Taking the Pledge' - short film about human rights and sex work

Taking the Pledge is a 13-minute film featuring sex workers from Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Mali, Thailand and more!  They describe the problems created by the 'anti-prostitution pledge' required to receive USAID and PEPFAR funds.

In English, Khmer, Thai, French, Portuguese and Bengali, with English subtitles. Watch in full-screen mode to read the subtitles.

Produced by the Network of Sex Work Projects.

Erin Siegal

shot the interviews and edited the film. 

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Together for Transformation: A Call to Men and Boys

Gender lies at the root of war and peace and it is increasingly being recognized that issues of masculinities need to be addressed in the field of peacebuilding and active nonviolence.  WPP is convinced that in order to transform cultures of war and violence, women peace activists need to work together with male allies on these issues. In light of this analysis, WPP has organized the Training of Trainers Program “Overcoming Violence - Exploring Masculinities, Violence and Peace”.

The first part of the ToT took place from November 30 till December 12, 2009 in The Netherlands, and brought together 19 pioneering activist men, from 17 different countries.

The training focused on gender-sensitive active non-violence, the theory of masculinities and its relation to violence, and participatory and gender-sensitive facilitation.

The rich exchange of strategies and cultural practices related to peacebuilding, active nonviolence and issues related to masculinities and femininities has been an empowering experience for all.  During 2010, the WPP will be intensively working together with the trainees while they are preparing their community projects and follow-up trainings in their home context.  All these activities include working together with female allies for gender-sensitive active nonviolent peacebuilding.  Mid – 2010, the 19 trainees will participate in a second Training of Trainers as to exchange knowledge and experiences, and consolidate the learning into a training manual.

A first powerful outcome of the training is a statement produced by the ToT trainees to affirm their commitment to gender-sensitive peacebuilding:

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IGLHRC and Lambda Legal Consulting with Nepali Government on LGBTI Rights Protections

(Los Angeles, December 21, 2009) The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and Lambda Legal are working with Nepali government leaders as they explore how to include protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in the country's laws. Jennifer C. Pizer, Senior Counsel and National Marriage Project Director for Lambda Legal, returned this week from two weeks in Kathmandu at the invitation of Nepali lawmakers to advise the government's eight-member study and drafting committee. The committee will present its recommendations to the Nepali Parliament in 2010. Pizer’s trip was organized and sponsored by IGLHRC, and continues that organization’s technical support of LGBTI advocates in the Himalayan nation and across Asia.

"Nepal has become a world leader in LGBTI rights," said Cary Alan Johnson, IGLHRC's Executive Director. "We commend Nepali lawmakers for their outreach to and consideration of the LGBTI community and we congratulate the civil society in Nepal on their advocacy and success. These efforts should be a model for nations seeking to develop legal protections for LGBTI people."

Prior to the 2007 Supreme Court ruling that directed Nepal's Parliament to end all forms of legal discrimination against the LGBTI community, police abuse was common, including the 2004 murder of a meti (transgender woman) by a police officer. Resulting from the ruling was a study and drafting committee which includes representatives of the ministries of law, population and environment, as well the National Commission on Human Rights and national police. According to the Supreme Court's direction, the committee will consider how other countries have extended full rights – including the right to marry – to their LGBTI citizens.

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Istanbul Prosecutor Considers Lesbian Love to be Obscene

By Bawer ÇAKIR  (bawer@bianet.org) BiaNet

The Prosecutor's Office launched an investigation into the contents of the book "The 'L' State of Love" about love stories between lesbians because it allegedly deals with "unnatural relationships".  Zeliş Deniz from LambdaIstanbul criticized the repetitive pretence of "public morality".

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office initiated an investigation on the book "The 'L' State of Love" by Burcu Ersoy which was part of the "From Women to Women Story Contest" carried out by the Kaos Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association (Kaos GL).

The prosecutor's office reasoned the investigation by claiming that lesbianism is "an unnatural sexual relation" and "obscene".

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Ugandan Anti-homosexuality Bill Means 'Targeted Killings'

By Wambi Michael

KAMPALA, Dec 10 (IPS) - Uganda will be going back to the days of the Idi Amin regime if it passes a Bill which will arrest or kill people for being gay or lesbian and for repeatedly engaging in homosexual sex, say rights activists.

Pro-gay activists compare the provisions in the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill to the 1972 order former dictator, president Idi Amin gave expelling Ugandan born Asians because of their colour.

"This is a form of targeted killings similar to Idi Amin. We already have a law on homosexuality but you see people like David Bahati, instead of concentrating on more pressing issues in his constituency, he is spending time to write a forty-page document aimed at gays and lesbians," said Jacqueline Kasha, a lesbian Ugandan human rights activist. 

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill's section on 'aggravated homosexuality'

A person commits the offence of aggravated homosexuality where the:

(a) Person against whom the offence is committed is below the age of 18 years;

(b) Offender is a person living with HIV;

(c) Offender is a parent or guardian of the person against whom the offence is committed;

(d) Offender is a person in authority over the person against whom the offence is committed;

(e) Victim of the offence is a person with disability;

(f) Offender is a serial offender; or

(g) Offender applies, administers or cause to be used by any man or woman any drug, matter or thing with intent to stupefy or overpower him or her so as to thereby enable any person to have unlawful carnal connection with any person of the same sex.

A person who commits the offence of aggravated homosexuality shall be liable on conviction to suffer death.

Where a person is charged with the offence under this section, that person shall undergo a medical examination to ascertain his or her HIV status.

Source: Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009

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