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Women's WG

WRI Women's Working Group and the Beijing Conference

A core group meeting of the WRI Women's Working Group was held in London on March 24. Several important issues were on the agenda: how to improve communication and keep in touch with women interested in the working group; the process for accepting new core group members; an evaluation of the Days of Action (25 November and 8 March); the women's presentation at the next Triennial in Brazil; and finally, the Women's Working Group's attitude towards the upcoming United Nation's 4th World Conference on Women (WCW), which is to be held in September 1995. The choice of Beijing, China, as the venue for this international event carries strong political implications, given the Chinese government's blatant violations of human rights. Should the WRI women's group accept to participate? The UN World Conference on Women —subtitled "Action for Equality, Development, and Peace"— aims to review and appraising the progress made since the Nairobi conference marking the end of the UN Decade of Women in 1985. Several thousands people are expected to take part in the event.

Men for Gender Awareness

It is more than a decade now since a small group of Thai women began to systematically raise gender questions. They had to struggle against all kinds of difficulties. First they had to clarify for themselves what the reality of the situation was between men and women and what kind of relationship they wanted between them, both universally and in the Thai context. Next, they had to decide what they should do to address related problems.

New Human Rights Group for Women in Croatia

B.a.B.e. (Be active, Be emancipated) is a human rights centre for women, located in Zagreb and initiated by the Zagreb Women's Lobby. Our mission is to enhance understanding and foster the spirit and principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in ways that are culturally relevant and integral to women's lives in Croatia.

WRI Women on the Move

Stopping Violence in India

Many readers who attended the WRI Women’s Conference in Bangkok last year will remember Hansa Mazgaonkar of Bombay, India. Hansa was part of a group of experienced Gandhians who went to Surat, in Gujurat state, after communal rioting there killed 200 people and left thousands homeless in January. She worked to ease tensions and to investigate abuses that occurred during the rioting. One such abuse was the gang rape of several Muslim women. The rape was pre-planned, as it was videotaped.

The Concubine at Gibea

by Chaya Shalom

[Editor’s note: the concubine at Gibea refers to Judges 19 in the Bible. A traveller, staying overnight In Glbea, offers his concubine to a mob In order to prevent being assaulted himself. The concubine Is raped all night by the mob. The traveller cuts her dead body Into 12 pieces and sends them to his tribesmen, thus provoking a war against the Gibeans.)

I have something horrible to tell you, Hania: the concubine from Gibea came to my door dismembered, eyes gouged out.

I thought I’d go crazy.

Before You Take a Bite

Death in Bangladesh

A 30-year-old woman named Noorjahan was stoned to death in the village of Chatakchaara, Bangladesh in January. Noorjahan’s first husband had disappeared and her father had married her to another villager, against the wishes of the village religious leader, who wanted to marry her himself. He declared her second marriage invalid. The death sentence was decided on by the local village council.

Resources

Let the Good Times Roll: Prostitution and the US Military in Asia by Saundra Pollock Sturdevant and Brenda Stoltzfus (The New Press, New York, USA; 1993, 343 pages, US $24.95 paperback) is a collection of six essays (by Cynthia Enloe and Walden Bello, among others), plus interviews with five Korean, Okinawan and Filipina prostitutes, which examine the links between militarization and the oppression of women. The authors point out that unless ‘sexual imperialism’ is dealt with, no change of power will mean real autonomy for women in the region.

No to Violence Against Women

Violence against women is finally being recognized as the major international issue that it is. At the United Nations’ Conference on Human Rights (held in Vienna this summer), the hard work of feminist organisers paid off. The final Declaration of the conference stated that violence against women—in both public and in private—is a human rights abuse. The Declaration also recommended that the UN appoint a Special Rapporteur on violence against women. (You can read excerpts from WRI ‘s statement to the Conference against violence against women in the following pages).

WRI Women Meet in Verona

by Maggie Helwig

The WRI Women’s Working Group met in Verona, Italy, in July, for the first time since the intense—and exhausting—experience of the Women Overcoming Violence conference in Bangkok.

"Institutionalised inequality of power": A WRI Statement Against Violence Against Women

The War Resisters’ International statement issued for the UN World Conference on Human Rights dealt with the Issues of refusing military conscription, the need to extend the right to asylum, and the issue of violence against women. Excerpts from the statement concerning this last issue are quoted here.

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