One in five women in the world will at some time be subjected to rape or a rape attempt. At least one in three women have at some time been hit, forced to have sex or subjected to maltreatment. Today, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, these burning issues will be observed but is the starting shot for a 16-day long global campaign against gender violence.
On October 15 a presidential election took place in Azerbaijan. The turnout was low and few young people voted. The opposition chose to boycott the election. The YUVA organisation strives to engage more young people in society but choosing to be active is risky for many young women.
Today Carl Bildt will meet Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Nalbandian. The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation has supported women’s organisations in Armenia and Azerbaijan since 2004. While the international community waits for the conflict to blow over with the help of football diplomacy, women’s organisations are taking things into their own hands.
The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation collaborates with women’s organisations in Iraq and has asked some of them how they think the election of Barack Obama will affect their situation and how Obama should act when he takes over the presidency. They speak of the presence of troops, the necessity of a secular system and the need to put pressure on the Iraqi government to put an end to the fragmenting of the country.
A Call for Action ahead of the Geneva talks starting tomorrow: On 15 October high representatives from the UN, EU and OSCE will meet in Geneva to discuss the security situation in South Caucasus. At a meeting in Istanbul we, representatives from over twenty organisations throughout South Caucasus who reach out to hundreds of thousands of people in the region, agreed on key measures to ensure security in the region. We urge the leaders to listen to us.
As in the current Georgian crisis, good relations between countries must, in all conflict resolution, be based on solving conflicting views on security, borders and natural resources through talks and negotiations. Conflict resolution must be built around dialogue and respect for the views of the other party.
The UN General Assembly is evaluating its counter terrorism strategy. When it was adopted in 2006 it was seen as a great political breakthrough that would return the initiative from the USA to the UN. Focus would be on addressing the causes of terrorism rather than on repressive measures.
Today sees the opening of our exhibition Pushing the Limits, on activism, power and gender-equality, at the Gothenburg Museum of World Culture. Activists from Abkhazia, Georgia, Israel and Palestine talk of how the conflicts impact their daily lives and what is required for change. On the www.pushingthelimits.se blog, activists from the Balkans, Middle East and South Caucasus give their perspectives; experiences that seldom form a part of media reporting from conflict regions.
The Palestinian Centre for Peace and Democracy works for women to play an active role in society, as decision-makers and negotiators. We work tangibly with the UN Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security,” explains Hilda Issa, Head of Secretariat at the centre.
The difficulty for Israelis and Palestinians to meet contributes to worsening the conflict between them. The peace initiatives by groups from both sides are seldom noticed because the powers that gain from the conflict are much stronger. For the third time, the Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation has arranged a meeting between Israeli and Palestinian organisations in Jordan. A meeting that resulted in several new partnerships for peace.