(Seattle, WA, USA) The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative named Fartuun Adan and Ilwad Elman of the Elman Peace Center in Somalia as the 2020 Aurora Prize Laureates. Adan is a Founding Board Member of Every Woman Treaty, and Elman currently serves on our Steering Committee. The following is a statement from Every Woman Treaty CEO Lisa Shannon, who cofounded the Sister Somalia program at Elman Peace – the first rape crisis center in Somalia.
“Gratitude in Action. The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative advances and recognizes this principle as central to humanitarian work, and as the world will now see: it is central to the world-changing work my sisters Fartuun Adan and Ilwad Elman continue to do in Somalia.
“In 2011, Fartuun welcomed me to Mogadishu. We met with sexual violence survivors, and I supported the launch of Sister Somalia - the Elman Peace Center's program for rape survivors. While post-conflict and conflict-related sexual violence disproportionately affects women and girls, Fartuun and Ilwad persevere, undaunted by statistics or the constant threats.
“For many women around the world, there is no easy path to justice. Laws, government systems, and social norms favor perpetrators. In courtrooms, media, communities, and homes across the world, female victims of violence are often blamed, ignored, and not believed, entrenching the world in a system of silence and impunity.
“I have had the great privilege of watching, up close, Ilwad's extraordinary life work unfold, as she shunned the comfortable life, trading it for courage beyond measure, stepping into being a fierce advocate for the world's most marginalized, combating violence at its roots, through Elman's extraordinary work ending violent extremism, and violence against women.
“Ilwad is the African leader of the future: Bold, compassionate, unrelenting in her work for every human being to realize human dignity and flourishing.
“I have also seen first-hand these women grapple with the deepest loss: That of daughter/ sister/ partner Almaas Elman last November. They carry on her spirit, and that of their father, through their tenacious commitment to human rights, safety, and dignity for all.
“Their family's work stretches back over nearly 30 years - work that transforms the lives of Somali youth and embraces nonviolence and peacebuilding. Thankful to see recognition of their leadership and their generosity with the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity.”
by Elizabeth Blackney
Must Reads: Zumrat Dawut, a Uyghur woman, speaks out about the Chinese government’s human rights abuses against her and fellow Uyghur women. Esther Salas, the federal judge who was targeted by a misogynistic, men’s rights attorney speaks out for the first time since the shooting against her family. Arwa Mahdawi on shifting the gendered narrative of leadership, and how being more like a woman can bring success. COVID-19’s devastating effects on women and girls’ access to healthcare. Allegations of rape and assault leads to a U.K. lawmaker’s arrest, and more.
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Memphis. In partnership with The Institute for Public Service Reporting at the University of Memphis, the Daily Memphian investigates the thousands of sexual assault cases that have been neglected or tampered by the Memphis Police Department, and how survivors are fighting for their justice. (Daily Memphian)
The following is a statement from Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi, Founding Co-Chair of Every Woman Treaty Steering Committee in support of her colleague Dr. Morissanda Kouyaté. “It is with great delight that I echo the United Nations General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, in congratulating Dr. Morissanda Kouyaté.
“Dr. Kouyaté is CoFounder and Executive Director of the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices and is a champion of the health and equality for women and children. He is one of the two winners of the 2020 United Nations Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize.
“We are proud of Dr. Kouyaté knowing his immense contribution towards ending Female Genital Mutilation and to the drafting of the Maputo protocol. This recognition is fitting and in harmony with the drumbeat of Mandela’s legacy.”
“Keep soaring our brother!”
Dr. Kouyaté joined Every Woman Treaty in 2015 as a Working Group member and served on the Core Platform Committee. He continues to serve on the Steering Committee, and describes his commitment to our mission, “I signed the Every Woman Treaty because I dedicate my entire life to the fight to restore women and girls all the rights that are wrongly confiscated to them. Violence against women is unacceptable, not only in words but also and especially in the facts.”
In this week’s Must Reads: South African activists and women are calling for an end to domestic violence after three women are found dead. Amina Mohammed addresses boys and men to be a part of ending violence against women and girls in their homes and communities. Protests grow as a 5-year old girl is raped and murdered in Sierra Leone and uncertainty lies for her justice. UN Peacekeeping examines how the COVID-19 pandemic has seen exacerbated rates of domestic and sexual violence in conflict-ridden zones. Twitter developing a resource system for domestic abuse survivors in Asia and the Pacific.
Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi, our founding Steering Committee Co-Chair, will be a speaker in the Gender and Peace Session @ 11:30 am CET to 1:00 pm CET. Her topic is: Women Peace and Security in the Context of the Boko Haram Conflict (Envisioning the future). Additional speakers in this session include: Dr. Louise Olsson, Senior Researcher and Coordinator of the PRIO, and more. For additional information and registration, visit: http://rpfaa.org/global-cyber-peace-conference/
In this week’s Must Reads: COVID-19 Pandemic Cannot Distract Us From The Urgent Need To Eliminate Sexual Violence In Conflict. Giving Voice to Alaska’s Unheard Sexual Assault Survivors. Citing ‘weight of history’, senior UN officials of African descent issue call to ‘go beyond and do more’ to end racism. Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi Responds To AU Call For End To Police Brutality. 'Like I'm in a cage': Domestic workers trapped and abused in lockdown London. Wartime sexual violence survivors: Bosnia and Herzegovina’s forgotten ones.
Following Burkina Faso’s Ambassador Dieudonné W. Désiré Sougouri statement on behalf of 54 African nations regarding the global outcry for an end to police brutality and systemic and structural racism perpetrated against Black peoples, Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi, President of the Medical Women’s International Association released a statement: “I align fully with Coordinator of the African Group on Human Rights issues and OHCHR on the call for an urgent debate to address racially inspired human rights violations. I add my voice by calling for a Declaration of Zero Tolerance on racially inspired human rights violations.” (TrendingNG)
Mukwege also noted progress: “The last G7 summit hosted by the French Presidency emphasized gender inequality and committed itself to the fight against sexual violence in times of peace, as well as in times of conflict. This commitment made by major economic powers recognizes that a prosperous world cannot be built without respecting women's rights and benefiting from their full inclusion and added value.”
“Security Council Resolution 2467 adopted in April 2019 recognized the need for a survivor-centric approach to address and prevent sexual violence in conflict situations. It also emphasized the need for recognition and care of children born of rape and the need to strengthen accountability mechanisms for perpetrators and instigators of violence.”
Read the full statement, via the Panzi Foundation.
Summer 2020 Internship Opportunities
Every Woman Treaty is offering unpaid internships to students and volunteers from around the world to work on our Lead Nations Project. Please share this announcement widely among your networks.
Due to the Covid19 pandemic, we are seeking summer interns who can work remotely from their home or place of study. We will provide supervision and support online primarily through Zoom calls.
Lead Nations Internship: The focus of this internship is to support our Lead Nations Project.
We are looking for interns who can assist with our Lead Nations strategy. A treaty isn't brought about by NGOs, but by nations, and we support our strong coalition of activists in 128 countries as they move the dial on women's safety and bring a treaty closer to reality in their nation. The responsibilities of this internship will include drafting country reports to aid in our outreach to lead nations, developing presentations, and providing research and other input on our grant-writing for projects related to Nigeria, Pakistan, and/or Kenya.
CVs should be sent to Eliza Johnson, Chief of Staff: Eliza@everywoman.org
Communications and Social Media Internship:
The communications intern will work closely with global media superstar, Elizabeth Blackney, who is our Chief Communications Officer. The intern will be responsible for drafting web copy and maintaining and updating the style guide for Every Woman Treaty. The intern will also support our media training curriculum in conjunction with other experts to enhance the advocacy, media, communications skills for our treaty activists in 128 nations.
CVs should be sent to Elizabeth Blackney, Chief Communications Officer of Every Woman Treaty at Elizabeth@everywoman.org
Graphic Design & Web Development Internship:
The graphic design intern will work closely with global media superstar, Elizabeth Blackney, who is our Chief Communications Officer. The intern will be responsible for creating designs for print and digital campaigns, creating infographics, maintaining our wordpress site, and video editing.
In this week’s Must Reads: Maternity ward massacre in Afghanistan. An effective response to the pandemic means tackling the violence and inequality faced by women. Using codewords to protect against violence. Every Woman Treaty Steering Committee Member Ilwad Elman and founding Board Member Fartuun Adan, cofounders of Elman Peace and Human Rights Center in Somalia chosen as 2020 Aurora Prize Humanitarians. Joint press statements Protecting Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and Promoting Gender-responsiveness in the COVID-19 crisis issued by 59 governments and the OSCE.
1. Afghanistan: The 100-bed, government-run hospital hosted a maternity clinic run by Doctors Without Borders, also known by its French name Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Just hours before the attack, MSF had tweeted a photo of a newborn in his mother’s arms at the clinic after being delivered safely by emergency caesarean section. (Reuters)
“Whilst fighting was ongoing, one woman gave birth to her baby and both are doing well,” MSF said in a statement. “More than ever, MSF stands in solidarity with the Afghan people.”
2. UN OCHA: Women perform 76% of the total hours of unpaid care work globally. They have the majority of caregiving roles in homes and in communities. They will also carry more of the weight of caring for the sick and helping to stem the spread of the virus. Women do this essential work in spite of obstacles and inequalities. (The Guardian) (UN OCHA)
Related: Three sisters who worked in Mexico's government hospital system were found murdered in the northern border state of Coahuila, stirring new alarm in a country where attacks on health care workers have occurred across the nation amid the coronavirus outbreak. Two were nurses, the other a hospital administrator. (New York Times)
3. South Africa. Because of the lockdown, many of these women are unable to leave their homes. They’re spending extended periods of time indoors with their abusers and are at great risk of violence.
“I started seeing a campaign in the UK where victims were using code words in text messages, so I adapted it to the local context. We all know about koesiesters here in Cape Town, so when I get that message I know you are in trouble,” says Peters. (Mail & Guardian)
4. The Gift of Hope: Fartuun Adan and Ilwad Elman named 2020 Aurora Prize Humanitarians for the second time. “Together, mother and daughter have thrown themselves into their work, helping former child soldiers and providing survivors of rape with much-needed assistance. Their daily activity brings numerous challenges, but danger and uncertainty remain on top of the list. (Aurora Prize)
5. Joint press statement Protecting Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and Promoting Gender-responsiveness in the COVID-19 crisis. “The pandemic makes existing inequalities for women and girls, as well as discrimination of other marginalized groups such as persons with disabilities and those in extreme poverty worse and risk impeding the realization of human rights for women and girls. Participation, protection, and potential of all women and girls must be at the center of response efforts.” (Sweden – Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
More: Domestic and sexual violence risks escalate in the OSCE region. Joint statement notes “At this challenging time, the social isolation of lockdowns means women and girls, as well as other victims, may be trapped in their homes with their abusers, isolated from the people and the resources that could help them… We need to address them and ensure that victims are able to access the support they need.” (UK FCO)
In this week's Must Reads: How to exist in a world that seeks to erase women. Rights activists in Kenya have raised alarm after indications that gender-based-violence may be on the rise with restrictions on movement due to the coronavirus. Domestic violence assault followed by arson and mass shooting by perpetrator disguised as a RCMP officer in Nova Scotia. UK Pharmacies to provide safe spaces during coronavirus lockdown after rise in calls. Women mobilize to prevent COVID-19 in crowded Rohingya refugee camps. CEDAW Call for Contributions. Invitation to join Every Woman Treaty on May 11, 2020 via Zoom.
1. Rafia Zakaria: How to exist in a world that seeks to erase women. "The transformation we ultimately need as a society is (to get to a place) where it does not occur to men that they have the right or desire to harm women." (CNN)
2. Kenya: Agnes Odhiambo, a researcher on sub-Saharan Africa with the women's rights division of Human Rights Watch, "Now this is the situation that COVID has created where people are behind closed doors, there is no money. It’s a perfect environment for people who are abusive to even be more abusive or even for those who are usually not abusive to become abusive because of that stress, where they feel they need to exert their dominance in an environment where they are feeling kind of emasculated.” (VOA)
3. Victim of domestic violence aids police in Nova Scotia. Following a domestic violence incident, a woman somehow escaped and emerged from hiding at daybreak. She called 911 and informed the police the perptrator was in possession of a fully marked and equipped replica RCMP vehicle and was wearing an RCMP uniform. The perpetrator set multiple homes and buildings on fire, and targeted more than 20 people in a shooting spree. (National Post)
Related: Women face particular challenges due to gun access, as women are five times more likely to be killed if their partner owns a gun. Despite such danger, the US recently watered down the definition of domestic violence to include only physical harm at the level of a felony, excluding psychological abuse, coercion, and manipulation. (Mediators Without Borders)
4. United Kingdom: Boots Pharmacies to provide safe spaces during coronavirus lockdown after rise in calls. Many victims who are now unable to seek help while at home trapped with their abusers will still be expected to shop for food and medicine, and there have been calls for safe space initiatives to be introduced in supermarkets and more pharmacies. Multiple support services for domestic abuse have reported a surge in calls to helplines since the lockdown was imposed, while the Metropolitan police said it was making an average of about 100 arrests a day for offences linked to abuse in the home. (The Guardian)
5. Bangladesh: To counter the gendered risks and barriers for women and girls in Cox’s Bazar, Rohingya women leaders self-mobilized, forming networks and raising awareness on COVID-19 across all camps. The rise in domestic violence and other forms of violence against women as a result of social tensions and panic in the camps is another key concern for these women. Global estimates show that in crisis settings, more than 70 percent of women experience gender-based violence. (UN Women)
Invitation: Join us online May 11, 2020 via Zoom at 1:00PM EDT / GMT -4). We will be discussing our global week of solidarity with survivors around the world inspired by Mexican artist Elina Chauvet's Red Shoes protest beginning on June 4, 2020. In 2009, Chauvet staged her first art installation of red shoes - representing the bloodshed women face in Mexico because of femicide, domestic, and sexualized violence. Her installations have inspired activists around the world - join us to hear a special message from Elina Chauvet and take a stand in solidarity. (Every Woman Treaty)
The COVID-19 pandemic will likely have adverse and disproportionate effects on women and girls around the world, particularly in the rise of gender-based violence. CARE is working to prevent and respond to this issue in 24 countries. “We know that when emergencies hit, women and girls come last,” says CARE’s Humanitarian Policy Director Susannah Friedman. (CARE)
“A Difficult Client”: Lynn’s Story of Captivity, Non-State Torture, and Human Trafficking by Her Husband. (International Journal of Advanced Nursing Education and Research)
Colombian journalist Jineth Bedoya Lima to receive 2020 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. Born in 1974, Jineth Bedoya Lima’s reporting has focused on the armed conflict and peace process in Colombia and on sexual violence against women. Ms Bedoya Lima was herself a victim of sexual violence in 2000 when she was abducted and raped in connection with an investigation into arms trafficking she was conducting for daily newspaper El Espectador. Three years later, while working for the daily El Tiempo, she was kidnapped by militants of the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
“The courage and commitment of Jineth Bedoya Lima, doubly exposed to unacceptable risks as a woman and as a journalist, inspire profound respect,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “We need the work of professional and independent journalists.”
“The present pandemic highlights the vital role journalists play in providing all of us with access to reliable, in some cases vital, information in crises situations,” Ms. Azoulay added. “It also shows the many risks journalists face everywhere in the world in the exercise of their profession.” (UNESCO)
Share your stories with Every Woman Treaty with a reply to this email, or contact me directly at Elizabeth@everywoman.org.
In this week's Must Reads: Amid lockdowns, shutdowns, curfews, and social distancing, there is a rise in reported cases of sexualized violence. In the UK, "It's a perfect storm," Suzanne Jacob, chief executive of British charity SafeLives. Reports of domestic abuse have spiked by about 30% since France went into lockdown in mid-March. In Pakistan, between 70 to 90 percent of women experience some form of physical, emotional or psychological abuse— mostly from an intimate partner.
1. "Lockdowns will lead to a surge in domestic abuse, but also severely limit the ability of services to help." As the United Kingdom shut down, charities urged employers, bank staff, healthworkers and neighbours to be extra vigilant, adding that even a note dropped in a grocery bag could be a lifeline for a woman trapped with an abusive partner. (Thomson Reuters)
2. Reports of domestic abuse have spiked by about 30% since France went into lockdown in mid-March. French officials set up an “alert system” in pharmacies nationwide, where victims of domestic abuse could discreetly ask the pharmacist to call police by asking for a “mask 19.” The initiative mimics a scheme set up in Spain’s Canary Islands that uses the same code word. (Vice)
3. France announced that it will pay for 20,000 nights in hotel rooms for victims of domestic violence and open pop-up counseling centers at supermarkets. There are worrying reports from other countries, too. "There has always been gender violence, but this crisis makes it all worse," said Simona Ammerata, who works at the Lucha y Siesta women's shelter in Rome, Italy. (CNN)
4. "For decades, critically important public programs and structures have been starved of funding, and efforts to ensure that women have adequate income, health care, worker protections, support for caregivers, nutrition and housing assistance have been met with relentless resistance," said Fatima Goss Graves, head of the National Women's Law Center, in a statement to CBS News on Tuesday. "Those efforts have placed women and their families at unconscionable risk from the COVID-19 crisis." (CBS)
5. In Pakistan, the most-cited estimate says between 70 to 90 percent of women experience some form of physical, emotional or psychological abuse— mostly from an intimate partner. Acts of physical violence in marital relationships are almost always accompanied by psychological abuse, and in thirty to fifty percent of cases, it is also accompanied by sexual abuse. Such abuse is typically part of an on-going pattern of patriarchal control, rather than an isolated act of physical aggression. (DAWN)
Podcast with Indrani Goradia: Pandemic Inside a Pandemic. Listen on Our Voices Matter.
Coronavirus lockdown in India: Vimlesh Solanki, a volunteer for a Sambhali Trust, an organisation that supports women in Jodhpur, the second largest city in Rajasthan, says coronavirus has put women in danger. "Stressful situations like this means that there are more things that trigger their already abusive partners." (BBC)
Here’s What Women’s Rights Lawyers Want You To Know About Supporting Working Women During COVID-19. (Refinery29)
UNFPA issues guidance on COVID-19. Women represent 70 percent of the health and social sector workforce globally and special attention should be given to how their work environment may expose them to discrimination, as well as thinking about their sexual and reproductive health and psychosocial needs as frontline health workers.
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Share your stories with Every Woman Treaty via email at Elizabeth@everywoman.org.