Thursday, August 30, 2018

Feminicide across Europe: Cyprus

3.1 Definition  
There is no legal definition for femicide. While the murder of a woman or a girl by a family member is recognized by law, it is only in relation to family violence, which is not gender-specific:  
“Violence in the Family Law” - Under section 3 of the Violence in the Family (Prevention and Protection of Victims) Laws 119(I)/2000 and 212(I)/2004, this refers to: “any act, omission or behavior which causes physical, sexual or mental injury to any member of the family and includes violence used for the purpose of having sexual intercourse without the consent of the victim as well as of restricting its freedom. 
When a woman, or a girl, is murdered by a family member, it is defined by law as Violence in the Family and there is no differentiation between female and male perpetrators. 
Homicides that take place outside the family as a result of gender-based violence (e.g. by a boyfriend) are not categorized as violence against women or gender-based violence, despite the fact that analysis of the data in Cyprus demonstrates that the majority of these cases can indeed be categorized as gender based violence and acts of femicide. 
No forums and no literature exist in Cyprus related to the issue of femicide.  
3.2 Sources 
There are organizations dealing with family violence, but these are not gender specific, such as:  
1) The Service for Families and Children (Social Welfare Services), which aims to support the family unit, in order to enable family members to perform their roles and responsibilities effectively; to resolve family disputes that threaten the unity of family; to safeguard the protection and the welfare of children; to prevent delinquent behaviour and domestic violence; and to encourage the rehabilitation of people involved in anti-social behaviour and delinquency (  
2) Police Criminal Investigation Office (Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Office), which attends to all matters dealing with prevention, repression and handling of domestic violence and child abuse (  
3) Association for the Prevention and Handling of Violence in the Family (A project funded by the European Union) ( 
4) Advisory Committee for the Prevention and Combating of Violence in the Family (  
 (by Christiana Kouta and Elena Rousou) 

In order to fight feminicide/femicide, various Latin American and European countries have adopted increasingly specific laws and legal instruments that penalize feminicide. The ratification of the Belém do Pará Convention1 in Latin America and the entry into force of the Istanbul Convention2  in Europe, demonstrate an increasingly stronger international commitment against this kind of violence. The establishment of the Bi-regional Dialogue on Gender by the European Union (EU) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), as well as the adoption of the Urgent Resolution on Feminicide in the European Union and Latin America3 by the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat) also express this commitment.    

However, legal norms, agreements, and international dialogues alone are not sufficient for the eradication of violence against women, nor its most extreme manifestation, feminicide.

Traditionally, States were only responsible for their own actions or those of their agents, but international public law has evolved and currently, the principle of due diligence makes the State responsible for the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of violence, regardless of who commits the crime. The duty of due diligence obliges States to enter the private sphere, where historically, they have not intervened, but where the majority of cases of violence against women occur. 

Therefore, it is the duty of the State to take all necessary measures to prevent human rights violations, such as feminicide, before they occur. This means, on the one hand, adopting pertinent laws and policies to prevent, investigate, prosecute, and punish those guilty of abuse, and on the other hand, successfully implement them. 

Patricia Jiménez, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung – European Union, Brussels

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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Feminicide across Europe: Austria

There is no specific term in German for the murder of women: the same expression is used both for female and male victims (the German word, “Mord” is of Germanic origin and does not allow for a female suffix). The intervention centres (victim protection organisations, established by the Austrian Protection against Violence Act 1997) have been pointing out the risk of being killed by a (former) partner for years.  
The first (and only) empirical research study on femicide was completed by Birgitt Haller in 2011, financed by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Under the title of “High-risk victims. Homicide in relationships,” all convictions for (attempted) femicide from 2008 to 2010 were analysed: 39 legal proceedings against male perpetrators (and, additionally, eight legal proceedings against female aggressors) were analysed. 

Homicide data are collected and published annually by the Austrian police/ Ministry of the Interior. These are based on police reports - so, for example, it may emerge that a person was not murdered, but died in a domestic accident. Police data provide the sex of both victim and aggressor, but the categories used to define the relationship between victim and aggressor are very imprecise: they reflect whether the persons concerned had been living together or not, but they do not reveal the type of relationship between them (partners, aunt and niece, etc.).  Therefore, precise information on femicide in the strict sense is not available 

Birgitt Haller

In order to fight feminicide/femicide, various Latin American and European countries have adopted increasingly specific laws and legal instruments that penalize feminicide. The ratification of the Belém do Pará Convention1 in Latin America and the entry into force of the Istanbul Convention2  in Europe, demonstrate an increasingly stronger international commitment against this kind of violence. The establishment of the Bi-regional Dialogue on Gender by the European Union (EU) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), as well as the adoption of the Urgent Resolution on Feminicide in the European Union and Latin America3 by the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat) also express this commitment.    

However, legal norms, agreements, and international dialogues alone are not sufficient for the eradication of violence against women, nor its most extreme manifestation, feminicide.

Traditionally, States were only responsible for their own actions or those of their agents, but international public law has evolved and currently, the principle of due diligence makes the State responsible for the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of violence, regardless of who commits the crime. The duty of due diligence obliges States to enter the private sphere, where historically, they have not intervened, but where the majority of cases of violence against women occur. 

Therefore, it is the duty of the State to take all necessary measures to prevent human rights violations, such as feminicide, before they occur. This means, on the one hand, adopting pertinent laws and policies to prevent, investigate, prosecute, and punish those guilty of abuse, and on the other hand, successfully implement them. 

Patricia Jiménez, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung – European Union, Brussels

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Sunday, August 26, 2018

Feminicide across Europe: Croatia


The notion of femicide has been in circulation in Croatia since the late 1990s (Kovčo 1996), but mainly among the research community who nevertheless prefer to talk about killing women, rather than using the term femicide. Although there are several studies of domestic violence in Croatia, the first paper to use the concept of femicide was published in 2014 (Asančaić, 2014). 
1 Definition 
The term femicide is not widely used in Croatia. All reliable sources use expressions like “killing of women”. The expression “intimate homicide” is also in use to indicate the killing of a woman by an intimate partner as a specific form of homicide. 
The term femicide is most commonly used by feminist web portals, where articles about the problem of intimate partner violence in Croatia are occasionally published, and where the developments with respect to femicide within the UN or in other countries are reported. Government bodies do not employ the term. 

2 Sources 
There are no comprehensive resources on femicide in Croatia. The Ministry of Interior is the body that officially collects the data on reported murders of women, which include information about the relationship with the perpetrator, but not necessarily the motivation or the context in which the murder occurred. However, publicly available data reported in the Statistical Overview of the Basic Security Indicators and Police Work Results, published annually on the web of the Ministry, contain 
only information about the sex of the perpetrators and the victims of homicide. The annual publication, Men and Women in Croatia, published by the State Institute for Statistics does not contain any data on femicide. 

(by Ivana Radacic and Irena Cajner Mraovic) 

In order to fight feminicide/femicide, various Latin American and European countries have adopted increasingly specific laws and legal instruments that penalize feminicide. The ratification of the Belém do Pará Convention1 in Latin America and the entry into force of the Istanbul Convention2  in Europe, demonstrate an increasingly stronger international commitment against this kind of violence. The establishment of the Bi-regional Dialogue on Gender by the European Union (EU) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), as well as the adoption of the Urgent Resolution on Feminicide in the European Union and Latin America3 by the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat) also express this commitment.    

However, legal norms, agreements, and international dialogues alone are not sufficient for the eradication of violence against women, nor its most extreme manifestation, feminicide.

Traditionally, States were only responsible for their own actions or those of their agents, but international public law has evolved and currently, the principle of due diligence makes the State responsible for the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of violence, regardless of who commits the crime. The duty of due diligence obliges States to enter the private sphere, where historically, they have not intervened, but where the majority of cases of violence against women occur. 

Therefore, it is the duty of the State to take all necessary measures to prevent human rights violations, such as feminicide, before they occur. This means, on the one hand, adopting pertinent laws and policies to prevent, investigate, prosecute, and punish those guilty of abuse, and on the other hand, successfully implement them. 

Patricia Jiménez, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung – European Union, Brussels
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Friday, August 24, 2018

Letter to the Prime Minister on Sentencing of Two Women to Caning

24 August 2018

H.E. Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Bin Mohamad

Subject: Syariah High Court Sentencing of Two Women to Caning*

Your Excellencies,

The Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) is a regional women’s rights organisation established in 1986, with over 200 members in 27 countries in the region. We are writing to express our serious concern over the 12 August judgment by the Syariah High Court, which convicted two women for same-sex conduct, and sentenced them to caning and a RM 3,300 (US$800) fine. The caning sentence is due to be carried out on 28 August.

Under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT), which is ratified by 164 member states, all humans have the right to be free from torture. This is a non-derogable ban that admits no exceptional circumstances. Although Malaysia is not signatory to the CAT, as a UN member state it is committed to the principles and ambit of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which under Article 5, states “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

We condemn the state government for this sentence which is in violation of this ban. We urge the Prime Minister’s Office to appeal to the state government to show compassion for the two women and take action to have this sentence dropped.

While strong local government contributes to a robust democracy, the autonomy of the state from federal does not mean that state judiciaries are allowed to go beyond constitutional and international rights and protections. On this basis, we strongly encourage the Government of Malaysia and all its states to introduce a moratorium on caning and all other forms of corporal punishment. We note the statement from the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), which says “The interpretation of punishment in religion applied historically cannot ignore evolutions of society and standards, as well as the inexorable passage of civilisation.”

We urge Malaysia to ratify without delay the CAT and the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), particularly noting Malaysia’s Universal Periodic Review in the next session of the Human Rights Council.

This case demonstrates the challenges that the LGBTQIA community in Malaysia face on a daily basis. As a feminist organisation, APWLD does not accept criminalisation of same-sex relations and advocates for local and national laws and policies that affirm bodily autonomy and integrity for all. We strongly encourage Malaysia to take steps to decriminalise same-sex conduct accordingly.

We call for recognition of women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights worldwide. The Beijing Platform states that “the human rights of women include their right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence.” We emphasise that this type of sentencing is a step backwards for Malaysia and does not denote progressive development of human rights.

Misun Woo
Regional Coordinator
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law, and Development (APWLD), Thailand

*Caning is a form of corporal punishment consisting of a number of hits (known as "strokes" or "cuts") with a single cane usually made of rattan.
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Every small step we take will make a difference and get us closer to our goal of ending child marriage

We often hear people say “young people are the leaders of tomorrow” and “young people should be given the opportunity to lead.” But I know that youth are already leading. Over one third of Girls Not Brides members are youth-led organisations, which is fantastic. That means organisations where young people are in charge of day-to-day management, decision-making and other activities that ensure the effective running of a civil society organisation. That number confirms that young people are already leading change in their communities. Yet despite this, their work is often not given the legitimacy or credit that it deserves, or  they are not being heard.  

That’s why I am so excited about this activism training. Co-created with young activists, it will help amplify and strengthen the role that young people can, and do, play in ending child marriage across the world. In it there are dynamic and fun methods and strategies for training young people to champion change in their communities. As well as being community-level champions, the strong work that young people are doing should guarantee them a place and role in national-level processes. They need a seat at the table when important decisions are taken about what policies are necessary to end child marriage. Without them, decision-making will be ineffective and we will not see the change we need.
I know first hand what it is like to be faced with people wanting to make a decision about your future without consulting you. People who think being married as a child is the only route your life should or could take. 
I was living as a refugee in Tehran when my brother back home in Afghanistan decided to get married. My family needed to raise money so that he could buy his bride. They decided to sell me into marriage to raise that money. I was devastated. That was not the life I wanted for myself. I wanted to go to school. I wasn’t someone’s property to be bought and sold. I couldn’t imagine having to go back there to live a life of servitude. So I wrote a song in protest. I called it Daughters for Sale and with the help of a friend made a music video of it and posted it on YouTube. It went viral! People from all over the world got in touch and with the help of some of those wonderful people I came to live in America. Today, for the first time, I am in a real school, and looking forward to a future that I will choose. Even though my life has changed in many ways, one thing remains central: my role as an activist to end child marriage.
So, I ask you – as a young person, as an activist and as a global champion for Girls Not Brides – to use this manual and spread the hope and the power. Every small step we each take in this work will make a difference and get us closer to our goal of ending child marriage. Please work with and encourage young people of all races, genders and backgrounds to get involved, because it is only if we are all together that we will be able to end child marriage. I believe we can do it. Thank you.
Sonita Alizadeh Youth activist and Global Champion for  Girls Not Brides

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018


According to many research studies that will be noted here, slavery and pimp-controlled prostitution are the same experience from the perspective of the enslaved or prostituted. The abuses of power in prostitution and the abuses of power in slavery, discussed here, are profound social injustices resulting in great harm.3 The same arguments that justified the abolition of slavery also justify the abolition of prostitution. Pimps and traffickers are traders who own and enslave human beings. Sex buyers purchase these people, exploiting and abusing them. The adverse consequences resulting from harms inflicted by sex buyers on the women they use, rent, or own are discussed here. The inequalities and harms in prostitution are paralleled by inequalities and harms in relationships between slave owners and slaves. In the 1800s, conditions in the South and in the Atlantic African slave trade were so inhumane that they precipitated an international movement for emancipation and for abolition of legal slavery. Today, the same kinds of abuse have ignited a similar movement to abolish the global business of prostitution. As in the nineteenth century, the legal definition of slavery is today debated in some quarters, including whether or not an understanding 
 of slavery should be applied to prostitution.
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Monday, August 20, 2018

Egypt's feminists laud mass appointment of women as top judges

Women's rights activists and jurists hailed a decision by the Supreme Judiciary Council earlier this month to promote 16 female judges, expressing hope that women in top judicial positions will make their mark on the gender-sensitive issues that come before the courts.

"I am very optimistic about the promotion of the 16 female judges as it may bring forth another interpretation of laws, especially those concerning female genital mutilation, rape, safe abortion, inheritance and violence against women and eventually reform the judicial system," Randa Fakhr El-Deen, executive director of Egypt's union of nongovernmental organizations working to protect women and children, told Al-Monitor.

Fakhr El-Deen said that the long overdue move reflects the Egyptian leadership's willingness to move toward recognizing equal rights and ensuring the fair representation of women in Egypt’s judiciary.

Hadia Abdel Fattah, a women’s rights activist and founder of an anti-harassment initiative, said that feminists face “a male mentality” in judicial and wider government circles. With the increased presence of female judges in the judicial system, changes and reform, particularly regarding women’s issues, are possible.

Female activists in Egypt have been pushing for efficient implementation of new laws that protect women, such as the penalization of female genital mutilation and jail terms for those who marry underage girls as well as upcoming legislation that would penalize families who allow such marriages. They ask for maximum penalties for domestic violence, swift divorce under fair conditions for women and a no-tolerance attitude toward harassment and rape.

“When we feminists push for changes in laws affecting women, we get stuck with a male-dominated judicial community. Men in Egypt do not feel women’s problems as much as women do. That is why having female judges can be very helpful for women in Egypt,” she told Al-Monitor.

One of the plum posts is Qena Appeals Court, one of the top judicial rank now taken over by Judge Amal Ammar, a member of the Egyptian National Council for Women.

National Council for Women chairwoman Maya Morsi said that the Egyptian Constitution's Article 11 guarantees women’s right to high administration posts, including the judiciary. Morsi added that there are currently 66 female judges in the country. The number was reached in four batches of large-scale nominations — all of them in the last 15 years, almost half a century after other regional countries such as Lebanon, Iraq and pre-revolutionary Iran. In 2003, Tahani al-Gebali was appointed to the Supreme Constitutional Court. In 2007, the first female judges and prosecutors were appointed. More appointments followed in 2008, 2015 and 2017.

Yet, Egypt’s female jurists still have to break into the all-powerful State Council. The council issues legal opinions and reviews bills, resolutions and draft contracts for the state and public entities. The National Council for Women and some individual female jurists have been battling for access to this powerful body to no avail. Though there is no legislation banning their appointment, the State Council has kept women out via its own selection process.

Nevertheless, Gebali sees the recent appointments as a success story for women in the judicial sector. She told Al-Monitor, "The process started in 2003, when I was the first woman to be appointed vice president of the Supreme Constitutional Court and then tens of female judges were appointed in Egypt's courts in 2007. It is normal now for these female judges after being for several years in the judicial system to be promoted."

Gebali said that women's involvement can transform and reform the system, explaining, "There were many distinguished female graduates of Egypt's law schools who were not allowed to take up posts in this field. Now, those efficient women are being appointed as judges and also being promoted to leading posts. This is for sure a huge benefit to the judiciary system in the country."

But she added that 66 female judges out of a total of 17,000 judges in Egypt are not nearly enough. “Although the number of female judges is still low, I believe that Egypt’s new leadership is adamant on getting women to join every field in the country, especially the judicial system,” Gebali concluded.
Menna A. Farouk
Menna A. Farouk is an Egyptian journalist who has been writing about social, political and cultural issues in Egypt since 2013. She is an editor at The Egyptian Gazette newspaper. Farouk has covered stories about the unrest that followed the January 2011 revolution, press freedom, immigration and religious reforms. On Twitter: @MennaFarouk91

Read more:
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Saturday, August 18, 2018


Helen Wairimu, 106, walks home after a Shosho Jikinge class. In 2016, a young man came to Helen’s home and raped her. Helen still participates in the class every week, and encourages the other women to train harder. In Korogocho and Kibera, located on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya, a widespread superstition that having sex with a grandmother can cure HIV and remove all sins has led to many elderly women becoming targets for sexual assault. But recently, local groups known as Shosho Jikinge (Grandmother Defend Yourself) have formed to teach them how to fight back. In this series, photographer Nadja Wohlleben (@nadjawohlleben) shows how these women are learning how to identify potential attackers, use their voices, and escape dangerous situations.

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Australia - Dowry Abuse Legislation Passed in Victoria

 After much campaigning to introduce anti-dowry legislation in Australia, the Victorian Parliament passed the Family Violence Protection and Other Matters Bill 2018 earlier this month. The Bill will come into effect in December 2018 and will make Victoria the first Australian state to outlaw dowry abuse and recognise "abuse to demand or receive a dowry, either before or after a marriage" as a form of domestic and family violence. The Bill achieves this by redefining the meaning of family violence to include "using coercion, threats, physical abuse or emotional or psychological abuse to demand or receive a dowry, either before or after a marriage". This means that women who are experiencing dowry-related coercion, emotional, verbal or physical abuse will be able to report the abuse to police. The Bill has now passed to the Governor for royal assent.
16 August 2018 -
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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Shehla Masood

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Belief systems and gender norms fuel violence against women: exploring the beliefs and behaviours of young women and men

The report identifies eight belief systems and gender norms that fuel violence against women in the region. The accompanying beliefs and behaviours for each belief system and norm are described, showing both the regional trend and a comparison across the eight countries studied, highlighting the country or countries with the highest prevalence. These belief systems and gender norms are related to control of women’s bodies and sexuality and are rooted in the construction of a subordinated femininity and a hegemonic masculinity.7 The persistence of such beliefs and behaviours has a direct correlation with social impunity for perpetrators of violence against women and girls. 
For the analysis, we have used the metaphor of three mirrors: distorting mirrors, augmenting mirrors and worn/outdated mirrors. We consider belief systems and gender norms as representing mirrors in which men and women are obliged to see themselves, behaving in such a way as to ensure compliance with the gender stereotypes prescribed for them throughout their lives.

Distorting mirrors are the belief systems and gender norms associated with direct control over women’s bodies in relation to one of the strongest champions of hegemonic masculinity: male virility. Augmenting mirrors are beliefs and norms associated with expressions of control, but in relation to romantic love and the obligations of a concept of sexuality that leaves no room for anything other than compulsory heterosexuality. The main aspect of worn/outdated mirrors is the standardization of certain forms of violence and the provisions that have become entrenched as the attributes of a ‘good woman’.;jsessionid=C0B9203D92B240B38BE44DEFB762EC55?sequence=3
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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Belief systems and gender norms: how to identify them?

In this report, we use the concept of belief systems and gender norms to explain that the beliefs and behaviours that constitute them are deeply entrenched in the system that produces, reproduces and sustains violence against women. Language also plays a significant role, with discourse and repetition or replication (of both discourse and actions) shaping our ways of seeing, hearing, thinking and doing. Chauvinistic, sexist and racist beliefs and behaviours are replicated at the personal, group and society levels. 
The concept of gender norms stresses the importance of institutions or reference groups that have the power to determine which behaviours are appropriate for women and men, and which are not. These reference groups include friends, teachers, artists or musicians, parents, religious leaders, social networks or sports personalities, among others. 

The concept of belief systems takes into consideration the elements that determine gender norms (reference groups and behaviours), but also places context and culture in a central role, where certain institutions have acted to build and define structures which, in effect, serve to regulate what people should think, believe and do. Such institutions (family, church, markets, the media and educational institutions) have the power to dictate rules and deny the interests of certain groups (Figure 1). They thus succeed in institutionalizing gender-based inequalities by encouraging girls and boys, men and women, to internalize the roles prescribed to them by society. These institutions also tend to have 
substantial influence on the implementation of public policies.
It is important to stress that male-dominated, sexist and racist belief systems and gender norms, with their associated beliefs and behaviours, can be transformed. All of us can play a part in promoting alternative belief systems and gender norms, through individual as well as collective action. Changes at a personal level are vital, while bearing in mind that it is essential that any transgression of beliefs or behaviours must have an influence on the group: we must influence those whose power and control over consciences and behaviours has entrenched inequality.;jsessionid=C0B9203D92B240B38BE44DEFB762EC55?sequence=3
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Sunday, August 12, 2018

What is doing to change harmful belief systems and gender norms

 Oxfam has been working with feminist and women’s organizations to eradicate male violence through specific programmes and campaigns for around 20 years. We have been supporting the agendas of feminist and women’s organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean through stand-alone programmes on women’s rights, working on initiatives for the eradication of all types of violence against women, the economic rights of women, transformative leadership and participation of women, and campaigns led by feminist organizations in 9 of the 13 countries in which we work. 

Much progress has been achieved since 2017. We have committed to going beyond a funding role in the campaign Enough! Together We Can End Violence Against Women and Girls2, which focuses on young women and men aged 15–25 to transform the belief systems and gender norms which reinforce violence against women. This campaign is being implemented in eight countries, led by feminist and women’s organizations, young activists and Oxfam.
As part of Oxfam’s role in the campaign, this report helps to identify and analyse the belief systems and gender norms that fuel violence against women and girls in the region. We hope it will focus attention on this pernicious problem, which reproduces beliefs and behaviours, particularly among young people, and which entrenches social impunity for male violence. Oxfam has had the support of the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO) in the management of the national research teams for collection and processing of data in seven countries, while data collection in Bolivia was coordinated by Oxfam, Coordinadora de la Mujer and, Diagnosis. 

The research findings are based on analysis of 4731 surveys carried out with young women and men aged 15–25 in March and April 2017, together with reflections derived from 47 focus group discussions and 49 in-depth interviews carried out in June and July 2017.4 The report provides an overview of regional trends, as well as a comparative analysis across Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua – the eight countries involved in the Enough campaign.
As well as information collected at country level, the report uses other key sources of insights on belief systems and gender norms, such as regional discussions convened by Oxfam, with broad participation from the feminist movement, and particularly the regional conference, ‘Resistance and alliances in the face of inequalities and violence against women in Latin America and the Caribbean’, held in Medellín, Colombia, in March 2016. The report also reflects the processes for Enough campaign design in the various countries and on a regional level, which have provided platforms for debate and collaboration between partner organizations, young people, and Oxfam teams. 

We trust that the analysis provided by this research will be useful for all actors working to eradicate violence against women and girls in the region, and that it will also help to improve coordination between the various programme and campaign strategies seeking to achieve change. In this sense, the report should be central to the design of country campaigns, and a tool for collaboration between feminist and women’s organizations, young people and Oxfam.;jsessionid=C0B9203D92B240B38BE44DEFB762EC55?sequence=3
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Friday, August 10, 2018

Violence against women: a violation of human rights

In Latin America and the Caribbean, 1831 women died at the hands of men in 2016, and three out of ten women have suffered male violence during their lives.1 In recent years, countries in the region have made significant progress in tackling the problem by adopting national laws to protect women. Today, 16 Latin American and Caribbean countries have laws in place punishing violence against women, and 15 have incorporated feminicide/femicide as a specific crime. 

This legislative progress is a significant step forward. But gaps in implementation allow a culture of impunity for men who commit violence against women and girls. Without adequate financing and effective means to prevent, report and punish violence against women, the problem will not go away. 
Male violence must be prevented and eradicated. To do this, one of the main challenges is to change the harmful belief systems and gender norms that are used to justify violence against women. It also means recognizing that beliefs and behaviours built on a patriarchal system that is also sexist and racist are part of the structural causes of inequality that feed violence against women. 

This report provides insights into the prevalence of belief systems and gender norms among 
young women and men in the region. It looks in depth at the most entrenched beliefs and behaviours among the younger population and provides ample evidence that we must challenge and change the prevailing belief systems and gender norms if we are to make real progress in guaranteeing the right of all women and girls to a life free from violence.

The results of our research are alarming. In our sample across eight countries, 56 percent of men and 48 percent of women aged 20–25 know a female friend who has endured male violence in the past 12 months – a clear indication that this problem is rife. Moreover, six out of ten young people believe that women do not escape violent relationships because the man threatens to kill them. Five out of ten women consider that violence against women is normal. 

So, is it normal? 
The perception that male violence against women is normal is one of the key problems in tackling the issue. The normalization of violence pervades our discourse, our conversations, the way we relate to others, and also the sources of mass knowledge and public policies. This normalization is fuelled by beliefs and behaviours that are deeply engrained, not only among young people in their families and social circles, but also within public institutions – beliefs and behaviours that are reinforced through daily practices. 

Male violence has become normalized to the extent that 86 percent of young women and men in the region would not interfere if a male friend hit their female partner, and 25 percent consider that their friends would not do anything if an assault occurs in a public space such as the street, a park or a disco. The situation in Nicaragua is alarming, with four out of ten young men reporting that they know a friend who hits his female partner. In the Dominican Republic, three out of ten young people state that their male friends hit their female partner. 
Although 84 percent of young women and men believe that violence against women is a product of inequalities, they believe that solving the problem is not up to them. Two-thirds (67 percent) believe that the state should be responsible for reducing the consequences of male violence.

‘Women get used to being beaten and defend their aggressors… So it is best not to get involved.’ (Man, focus group, Bolivia) 

This indifference in the face of violence is all the more worrying if we consider that almost 62 percent of young men (15 to 19)  in the region justify sexual violence due to men having drunk too much alcohol, while 72 percent blame women because of the clothes they wear. 
As for sexuality, there is also a highly normalized belief system regarding pleasure and sexual desire, with 87 percent of young men and women aged 15–25 believing that men have greater sexual desire than women. This portrays women as incapable of feeling either desire or pleasure, and firmly establishes their enjoyment as secondary to a man’s desires. 

Moreover, a very high percentage of young people also deny women’s right to make decisions about their own bodies: 72 percent of young people aged 15–25. Likewise, 77 percent of young women and men agree that all women should be mothers. In Bolivia, for example, we found that 61 percent of men aged 20–25 believe that when a mother works outside the home, the children suffer abandonment.

‘I think every woman is a mother, even if she doesn’t have any children.’ (Woman, focus group, Cuba)

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples

There are an estimated 370 million indigenous people in the world, living across 90 countries. They make up less than 5 per cent of the world's population, but account for 15 per cent of the poorest. They speak an overwhelming majority of the world’s estimated 7,000 languages and represent 5,000 different cultures.

Indigenous peoples are inheritors and practitioners of unique cultures and ways of relating to people and the environment. They have retained social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live. Despite their cultural differences, indigenous peoples from around the world share common problems related to the protection of their rights as distinct peoples.

Indigenous peoples have sought recognition of their identities, way of life and their right to traditional lands, territories and natural resources for years, yet throughout history their rights have always been violated. Indigenous peoples today, are arguably among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of people in the world. The international community now recognizes that special measures are required to protect their rights and maintain their distinct cultures and way of life.

As a result of loss of their lands, territories and resources due to development and other pressures, many indigenous peoples migrate to urban areas in search of better prospects of life, education and employment. They also migrate between countries to escape conflict, persecution and climate change impacts. Despite the widespread assumption that indigenous peoples live overwhelmingly in rural territories, urban areas are now home to a significant proportion of indigenous populations. In Latin America, around 40 per cent of all indigenous peoples live in urban areas — even 80 per cent in some countries of the region. In most cases, indigenous peoples who migrate find better employment opportunities and improve their economic situation but alienate themselves from their traditional lands and customs. Additionally, indigenous migrants face a myriad of challenges, including lack of access to public services and additional layers of discrimination.

The 2018 theme will focus on the current situation of indigenous territories, the root causes of migration, trans-border movement and displacement, with a specific focus on indigenous peoples living in urban areas and across international borders. The observance will explore the challenges and ways forward to revitalize indigenous peoples’ identities and encourage the protection of their rights in or outside their traditional territories.

The observance of the International Day will take place on Thursday 9 August 2018 from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm in the ECOSOC Chamber at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The programme can be found in Events. More information in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) page.

International Year of Indigenous Languages

Languages play a crucially important role in the daily lives of all peoples, are pivotal in the areas of human rights protection, peace building and sustainable development, through ensuring cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue. However, despite their immense value, languages around the world continue to disappear at an alarming rate due to a variety of factors. Many of them are indigenous languages.

Indigenous languages in particular are a significant factor in a wide range of other indigenous issues, notably education, scientific and technological development, biosphere and the environment, freedom of expression, employment and social inclusion.

In response to these threats, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a Resolution (A/RES/71/178) on ‘Rights of Indigenous Peoples’, proclaiming 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages.
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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR empower and to prevent radicalisation on women

It is a common misconception that women, solely based on their gender, form a homogenous group. They do not. And neither do the women and girls supporting ISIS/Da’esh. Research shows the women who joined ISIS/Da’esh have different socio-demographic profiles and background stories. Their motivations range from a quest for belonging, the aspiration to help build a utopian Islamic state, to belong to something bigger and divine and a (perceived) moral duty to support their Muslim brothers and sisters, to a sense of adventure, the prospect of marriage, or a combination thereof. Another misconception is that female radicalisation can be explained as a single-causal process, predominantly fed by emotional or personal factors. It has long been acknowledged that radicalisation is a complex, multi-causal phenomenon. Understanding and responding to female radicalisation requires the same multi-layered approach. In addition, where men are mostly considered active players in their radicalisation, women are reduced to passive actors. Their radicalisation is perceived as a situation that happens to them, rather than a process they are a part of. These gendermisconceptions hinder an adequate response to the phenomenon of female radicalisation. Any serious attempt to prevent or counter female radicalisation must acknowledge the diversity of women and should avoid generalisations and oversimplifications.  In addition, gender misconceptions and gender stereotypes affect the space for women to contribute to PVE/CVE programmes and related initiatives. Often, women are included in these programmes as mothers, sisters and wives, based on their supposed ideal position to signal early warning signs of radicalisation. While women can be valuable assets in prevention and intervention programmes in this capacity, it reinforces gender stereotypes and ignores women’s capabilities to contribute in many other areas. Different studies and experts point out that women can play a vital role as policy shapers, educators, community members and activists.  

Recommendations for policy-makers on including women in their programming: 

 Facilitate and stimulate local, grassroots initiatives. In general, it has been acknowledged that bottom-up prevention efforts are more effective than top-down approaches. Local, grassroots initiatives are aware of the situation in their communities and enjoy the trust of the communities they are part of. Therefore, such initiatives are often better positioned to identify community grievances, making them potential key-partners in (drawing up) effective prevention programmes. On the other hand, local initiatives can benefit from existing (academic) expertise on radicalisation. An alliance between local initiatives and government institutions optimises prevention efforts;   
 Avoid demonising specific groups. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) has three suggestions how to accomplish this. First, the focus of prevention efforts should have a multi-ethnic approach rather than engaging with specific ethnoreligious groups to avoid labelling. Second, prevention efforts should strictly be led by civil society organisations, with no connection to security or intelligence operations. Security-led interventions should be reserved for countering initiatives. The specific  relevance of this is also underscored in the UK case study, where it is explained how the government-led PREVENT initiative received criticism for singling out Muslim communities and was even accused of spying on Muslim citizens. Third, prevention programmes are more effective if they have an objective that is wider than solely countering or preventing violent extremism. A focus on building strong, inclusive and resilient communities and addressing issues that concern them helps create a solid base of support for the programme;  
 Offer training to all professionals working with Islamist radicalised women and girls. Radicalisation is a complex phenomenon. All professionals dealing with radicalised Islamist women and girls should be aware of the multifaceted dynamics of (female) radicalisation, how to best approach radicalised females and their families, and how to offer support and counselling. Training should take place in the form of case studies and speaking directly with experts who have dealt with multiple cases. There should be a helpline for all working with extremists so they can discuss difficult cases with experts and make correct decisions; 
 Stimulate and facilitate cooperation between existing initiatives in an (online) support network. Organisations from different European Member States working on preventing female radicalisation can learn from each other’s experiences. However, social infrastructure often differs between Member States. Therefore, it is not always possible to transfer successful approaches. It is possible to learn from successes but they cannot necessarily be transferred;  
 Encourage women to partake in prevention efforts. Women can be valuable contributors to PVE/CVE efforts as mentors, community organisers, intervention officers, mothers, sisters, policy advisors, educators and health care professionals. Policies and programming should encourage women, provide them with the necessary space, and offer (additional) training to support them in their efforts; 
 Safeguard the quality of prevention and intervention programming. The number of organisations working on prevention and intervention has rapidly increased. In order to safeguard the quality of such programmes, it is vital to ask questions such as: is the programme substantiated by academic findings? Is it evaluated? Is it registered? These questions need to be seriously examined in order to ensure the target group is offered the correct and most appropriate support. 

Recommendations and considerations for prevention and intervention programmes aimed at women: 

 Target female specific push and pull factors that put women at risk of radicalisation and recruitment. ISIS/Da’esh has produced a highly-gendered narrative in which women are offered alternative concepts of freedom and empowerment, based on Islamic virtues. In this narrative, Western feminism is portrayed as imperialist and exclusively advantageous for white women, leaving little to no room for Islamic women and their values. ISIS/Da’esh promises women the opportunity to free themselves from the superficial and materialistic principles that are imposed on them by the West and to reclaim their true identity as intended by God. By stating that women are the hope of the Ummah, ISIS/Da’esh feeds this rhetoric and promises women perspective, meaning and self-worth. This propaganda    message, which resonates with different women and girls, suggests that a search for belonging and for meaning in life is important driving factors in the radicalisation of different women and girls. Prevention and intervention efforts should incorporate this in their programming;  
 Address female specific vulnerabilities that can increase the exposure of women and girls to radicalisation. A Dutch practitioner argues for example that girls in search of answers about their sexuality within Islam have an increased risk of being targeted by recruiters, especially if such issues are not addressed within the family sphere. Programming aimed at answering such questions and raising awareness among parents about this increased exposure could help obviate this vulnerability; 
 Recognise female specific enabling factors. Research shows that women and girls experience different enabling factors in their radicalisation than their male counterparts. A study by Pearson and Winterbotham reports for example that Islamist women, due to their choice of attire, have an increased risk of experiencing discrimination, which can cause feelings of exclusion. This could spiral into an increased vulnerability to radicalisation. Prevention and interventionist strategies and programmes aiming at identity and resilience should take this gender difference into account; 
 Account for female specific issues in intervention and reintegration programming. In line with findings of the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN), intervention efforts should be tailor-made, meeting the requirements of each specific individual. In general, such an approach will include individual coaching, family support and psychological and religious counselling. RAN raises awareness that quite often, women and girls who have joined or attempted to join ISIS/Da’esh have troubled family relationships and histories of abuse and/or sexual violence. In addition, in the case of women or girls returning to their families, issues including those related to honour and shame need to be addressed. In those cases, RAN recommends a risk assessment to establish whether it is safe for those women or girls to return home;  
 Raise awareness of women’s increased exposure to online recruitment and of female specific online recruitment tactics. It is generally agreed that the internet can play a crucial enabling factor in radicalisation processes. Studies suggest Islamic women and girls experience an increased vulnerability to online radicalisation, as traditional gender norms and gender expectations affect how women engage in the public sphere. Consequently, it is important to raise awareness of recruitment tactics used on social media and how to respond in an early stage, for example through education; 
 Make use of the opportunity that the Internet can provide. The internet can be an important tool to spread counter-narratives and to tackle radicalisation by deploying the same tactic as recruiters. Effective counter-narratives require addressing female specific issues. In addition, programmes exist that can help identify women and girls searching for answers online. An operative can reach out to these    women and eventually invite them to a closed network where she/he can attempt to move the woman or girl away from extremist messaging. 


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Monday, August 6, 2018

Good practice initiatives to prevent radicalisation

National programmes 

PEN-LCRV - National Strategic Plan to Fight against Violent Radicalisation (Ministry of the Interior, 2015)391 Considering violent radicalisation as one the greatest security threats to Spain, the National Strategic Plan to Fight against Violent Radicalisation is a nationwide coordinated plan to detect and neutralise all sources of violent radicalisation. The Integral Strategy against Terrorism and Radicalisation (Ministry of the Interior, 2015) is part of the national PEN-LCRV strategy, and also includes an international mandate, as its activities are framed within the European Union programme for the fight against radicalism (2005). Stop radicalism (Ministry of the Interior, 2015) is also included in the PEN-LCRV. It brings together twelve ministries in the task of preventing radicalisation. The goal is to empower local community institutions and individuals who have direct contact with local residents.   

New Programme for the Prevention of Radicalisation in the Penitentiary System  Penitentiary systems are also included in the Spanish programme of fighting against radicalism. The programme takes preventive measures and timely actions to detect processes of radicalisation. 

Local Programmes 

Strong Cities Network  Malaga has a local strategic plan to help families dealing with the possible spectrum of radicalisation. As part of the international Strong Cities Network, the city is running a pilot project with a multidisciplinary team focusing on youth. The main areas of intervention are prevention, institutional cooperation, training, promotion of gender equality, facilitation of interreligious contacts and digital media communication. Furthermore, they have an online area of intervention to counter online radicalisation, and in particular online jihadist recruitment aimed at young people. In order to carry this out, they have enrolled young Muslims as online leaders to engage positively and disseminate peaceful messages.  

Islamic Radicalisation Detection Procedures (PRODERAI)394 Catalonia has its own local plan of intervention that is organised by the local police, Mossos d’Esquadra, and focuses on working with the local school system. 

Preter-IS395  The programme is a private initiative of the Camilo José Cela University, in Madrid, aiming to detect patterns of behaviour within different processes of radicalisation. It involves the cities of Madrid, Barcelona and Ceuta and Melilla due to the high incidence of cases of radicalisation in those places.  

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Saturday, August 4, 2018

Good practice initiatives to prevent radicalisation and violent extremism – focus on women

Good practice initiatives in preventing radicalisation in the UK have come in the form of supporting voluntary organisations who work at grassroots level with people who are the most vulnerable in society, for example initiatives like Inspire, WARN (Women Against Radicalisation Network), and the Henna Foundation. There are numerous such organisations that exist around the UK and many were established decades ago addressing problematic cultural issues that particularly affected women in Asian communities, like forced marriages, honour killings, and domestic violence. In 2008 the Labour Government brought together women leaders of such groups under the National Muslim Women’s Advisery Group (NMWAG). They sought the advice of these women as they knew their communities well and had credibility within them. The Labour Government at the time sponsored three main initiatives that addressed theological issues and women, one that empowered women in the form of promoting role models, and lastly one that increased civil participation.430 In general the work was received well by women in their communities but the most powerful by product of this initiative was bringing together strong, active, and credible Muslim women who were able to share best practices and support one another in their work. Even after the NMWAG was disbanded in 2011 by the coalition government many remain in contact today and they continue to work and support one another as they face similar challenges in their work. Women who head these groups are criticised as they speak openly about difficult issues within their communities. Their actions have been construed as encouraging Islamaphobia and have caused some factions within their communities to become quite defensive. Inspire and WARN both were created specifically to address the problem of radicalisation and Islamist extremism. Perhaps because of this they are more heavily criticised than some of the other older Muslim women’s organisations. However this does not deter the founders as they are highly motivated to rid their community of extremism and hate. Inspire organised a “Road Show” where they toured the UK with their message against extremism and spoke about actions women could take against radicalisation and on advice on how they could protect their children. They held workshops and talks creating awareness. They raised the difficult subjects that were generally not spoken about within many Muslim communities and really aimed to put these women into the picture, making sure they were equipped to defend themselves and their children against extremist recruiters. WARN also do similar work in the form of workshops stating on their website, “Our workshop teaches mothers to know what’s what and how to spot the signs of radicalisation. It walks them through the simple steps they need to make sure their children stay safe online.” These organisations are doing great work within their communities and there is a great possibility that the decrease in numbers of young women wanting to join ISIS/Da'esh can be attributed to some of their work within schools and communities.   

A fundamental part of good practice is to be transparent and for all those working with   individuals and communities to gain the trust of those who may be susceptible to radical views. This also includes all Government institutions, such as the Police, Education, Healthcare and Social Care. The multi-agency approach has worked exceptionally well in the UK and has successfully addressed the needs of hundreds of individuals who have been at risk of radicalisation or who have actually held radical views. This is largely to do with the afore mentioned PREVENT strategy and the UK Channel initiatives. The key to the success of Channel is information sharing and for all parties to be on the same page when addressing  each individual case. The cases that come through Channel need to be understood by all parties involved so that the best possible actions can be taken for each person. If information is not relayed effectively there is a greater chance for people to slip through the net, or escalate issues which could lead to problems. On the other hand, although multi agency approaches with regular face to face meetings are essential when dealing with cases, what has also tended to occur is a type of “professional help overload.” This is where the individual is in connection with an excessive number of agencies and professionals. In one case, an individual had around 10 people they needed to keep regular meetings with and it became quite suffocating for them. They began to resent the amount of time taken up by the meetings and did not find any of them useful to her. What was decided at the Channel Panel, in this case, was to cut back some of the services the individual felt they did not need and to keep the ones she engaged with the best. 

Training all frontline Government workers so that they understand the complexities of the issues surrounding radicalisation and can address any problems that may occur, is an essential best practice. In the UK, WRAP (Workshops to Raise Awareness of PREVENT) training is offered to all those working in front line services so that they have adequate knowledge of extremism and radicalisation. However, although WRAP training gives a good introduction, it is important for training to be ongoing and background reading needs to be kept up by individuals who work in the area. Best practice would include a means of support for individuals dealing with cases, especially those who feel unsure of how to deal with a radicalised person. There should be a helpline for professionals of some sort and an accessible and easy to understand handbook for frontline workers so they are helped to make the right decisions.  

Dealing directly with an individual’s radical views is something that needs to be dealt with in a sensitive manner, in the UK this is the role of the UK Channel Intervention Provider (IP). An IP saying the wrong thing or acting in a way that can aggravate the individual can be catastrophic. Professional IPs who have the responsibility of talking to radicalised individuals are all well trained and have in-depth understanding of radical views. They need to have the ability to counter arguments and be familiar with extremist rhetoric, in order to be most effective. Each individual referred onto Channel will have a particular drive and this will need to be addressed in a non-combative way. Anita Nayyar is an IP who uses her Psychology background to employ Freud’s “Free Association” technique where she will allow her clients to speak freely and openly on subjects using prompts to encourage speech. This allows the individual to feel comfortable and say what is on their minds leaving the IP with a clear understanding of their needs and to then specifically address them. She gave the example where one client spoke about the fact they had a very limited network of friends. The IP then arranged for them to meet people in her local area with whom she could meet on a regular basis. Offering the correct support for individuals will give the individual a sense of genuinely being helped this will then increase the chance of them remaining on the programme and engaging for as long as the IP deems fit. A large function of the IP is not only to engage in counter narratives with an individual but to support and mentor them. Often IPs are referred to as mentors and this may be a more apt definition for IPs depending on the case in hand. Under some circumstances where the individual is not radicalised but is categorised only as vulnerable to radicalisation, the IP must get to know their client and provide them with solutions to specific problems they may be having. For example, it is not uncommon for IPs to help their clients filling out CVs to find a new jobs or filling out forms for college to embark on a course. To ensure an individual feels hopeful and supported is a major part of an IPs job description as this helps to eradicate susceptibility to radicalisation.

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