UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women – Call for Submissions

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The Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Ms. Dubravka Šimonović took up function as Special Rapporteur on 1 August 2015 and intends to, inter alia, focus on the legal and policy frameworks of her mandate and the international human rights mechanisms to discuss the gap in incorporating and implementing the international and regional standards related to violence against women.
The Special Rapporteur considers that the discussion on the adequacy of the international legal framework on violence against women initiated by the former mandate holder should continue and she wishes to secure views from different stakeholders, including States, National Human Rights Institutions, Non-governmental organizations, as well as members of academia.
She has launched a consultation on the gap of transposing and implementing international and regional standards on violence against women.
Taking into consideration the important role that different stakeholders play in reinforcing universal human rights standards, she would be very interested to receive input and views on the following questions:
1.    Do you consider that there is a need for a separate legally binding treaty on violence against women with its separate monitoring body?
2.    Do you consider that there is an incorporation gap of the international or regional human rights norms and standards?
3.    Do you believe that there is a lack of implementation of the international and regional legislation into the domestic law?
4.    Do you think that there is a fragmentation of policies and legislation to address gender-based violence?
5.    Could you also provide your views on measures needed to address this normative and implementation gap and to accelerate prevention and elimination of violence against women?
European Women’s Lobby is planning to send a EWL Contribution and, as it is an important consultation, we would like to ask to send your input and views on the questions asked by the UN Special Rapporteur. EWL preliminary comments/clarifications are the following ones:
Q1:  The EWL does not have a specific position on this issue specific point yet, so it will be very interesting to have your views on this. It can be interesting to highlight the positive aspects of the Istanbul Convention but also what it is missing.
Q2: By incorporation gap, we understand if international or regional human rights norms and standards have been signed/ratified. We would appreciate very much if you can give examples of international/regional standards have not been signed/ratified or if there have been major reservations.
Q3:  By lack of implementation of the international understand into the domestic law we understand gaps in the transposition of the international/regional legislation into the domestic law. Again, it will be great if you can give examples of gaps in transposition into legislation and also gaps in implementation.
Q4:  We will push for the use of the term “violence against women” in all the contribution. EWL will argue that there is fragmentation of policies and legislation and different levels of protection of women in Europe.
Q5:  Your ideas will be very welcomed, and it would be good to link this reply to the reply given to the first question.
Please, send your contributions to boarduwe@gmail.com and rosales@womenlobby.org. 
We would be very grateful to receive your replies by the 20th of September, so that it will be enough  time to compile all the replies into the EWL Contribution.
We will send you back the final EWL Contribution by the 28th of September so that you can use it as well if you want to send your own contributions on behalf of your organisations. The final deadline for the UN to receive the contributions is the 1st of October.
Thank you very much in advance,
many regards from the Board,
Roxana Elena Petrescu
Secretary General









International Solidarity with Academics in Turkey

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Thanks to Suomen Akateemisten Naisten Liitto, SANL Finland we’ve received this call for international solidarity written by Chad Kautzer, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Lehigh University. You can read the article in full here: http://blog.apaonline.org/2016/08/04/seven-ways-you-can-support-academics-in-turkey/

Please read this and support academics in Turkey.

1. Investigate whether your institution can temporarily host or hire an academic currently at risk in Turkey. Some institutions do this directly and some work with third-party organizations, such as Scholars at Risk. Your institution can also become a member of the Scholars at Risk Network, supporting their work through annual membership dues.

2. Review any academic or financial relations between your institution and academic institutions in Turkey. These might include joint research projects, grants, or faculty and student exchanges. Such relations can be used as leverage to pressure institutions in Turkey to respect academic freedom.

3. Use the resources of your institution and the public platforms available to you to disseminate knowledge about the plight of academics in Turkey. This could involve, for example, organizing talks, exhibitions, and press conferences, or producing films and publications.

4. Organize and participate in political actions and lobbying campaigns directed at Turkish officials and/or officials in your own government. This might be a protest at the Turkish Embassy, making phone calls, or something more creative. Academics for Peace, for example, has a campaign to send letters to university rectors in Turkey, asking them to reinstate academics fired for political reasons. It is particularly important to lobby officials in the United States and European Union member states, given their deep ties to the Turkish government.

5. Connect with others (both individuals and organizations) who care about this issue, so you can stay informed and motivated. Scholars at Risk, Amnesty International, and the Middle East Studies Association, to name just a few, have email alerts. Like Facebook pages that disseminate news about academics in Turkey and information about actions to support them, such as those of Research Institute on Turkey (RIT) and International Solidarity with Academics in Turkey (ISAT), which I recently created. ISAT also has an email list you can subscribe to by emailing academicsus@gmail.com.

6. Ask your college, university, professional organization, or union to publish a statement supporting academics in Turkey and send it to officials in Turkey and in your own government. Here is a letter from the Middle East Studies Association that was endorsed by over 40 professional organizations. You can also create petitions and open letters for others to sign, as with thisopen letter to U.S. officials and this international petitionaddressed to Turkish officials.

7. Sign the petitions and open letters. Although this is the easiest action to take, it is still important. These petitions and letters can: (a) communicate the depth and breadth of support to media outlets and government officials, (b) encourage academics in Turkey, and (c) serve as organizing tools to build political networks that facilitate future actions.



Summer School on Human Rights

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cec_kek_human_rights_A1_final.pdf-Adobe-Acrobat-Reader-DC-23052016-132649-214x300The Conference of European Churches, in partnership with the Theological School of Aristotle University, organized the 3rd Annual Summer School on Human Rights “Stand up for Women’s and Children’s Rights!” from 31 May to 4 June in Thessaloníki.

More than 90 people, from different countries and representing a number of denominations, participated in the opening of the Summer School.   Dr Anne Negre, gender equality expert from the Conference of INGOs at the Council of Europe was one of the main speakers invited. Here you can read her entire intervention on Women’s rights and Gender Equality seen by CoE

Other main speakers: Dr Fulata Mbano-Moyo, World Council of Churches programme executive for Women in Church and Society and Rev. Dr Patrick Schnabel, a European legal advisor for the EKD (Evangelical Church in Germany), representatives from NATO, European universities and many CEC Member Churches and Organisations in Partnership.

Among issues related to women’s rights participants discussed human and organ trafficking, sexual exploitation, working conditions and pay, an equal level of education and progress in the work place, arranged marriages and female genital mutilation. The situation of women and children was highlighted and discussed from legal, theological, and practical angles. In many cases, women and children are discriminated or denied their fundamental rights, such as the right to food, shelter, education, access to health care, participation in society and so on.  In some European countries one of three women are victim or a potential victim of different forms of violence, including sexual violence and harassment. Children often face various types of violence and abuse on a daily basis, including bullying in schools. With regard to refugee women and children, the situation is direr still.

Participants agreed that a common response is needed by states, societies, churches and other religious organizations, as human dignity does not have gender or age. The summer school facilitated the exchange about best practices on how to promote gender equality and the rights of the child in church and society.

Summer School participants learned about international, European, and national legal frameworks on the protection of the rights children and women. The United Nation’s Convention on the Right of the Child (CRC) and monitoring systems related to it are especially important for child-centred responses and safeguarding their best interests.

Close analysis of biblical passages and traditional teachings of the churches helped shape discussions. There was a call for a self-critical theology that takes children as a starting point and gives them a voice.

There were several study trips, including to the Centre for Roma Minors, to the premises to the NGO NAOMI, and to the refugee relocation center Diavata. The students who attended the summer school had also possibility to pass the exam from this subject and receive credit for their studies.

Source: www.ceceurope.org

Tallinn Conference

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The Gender Equality Commission of the Council of Europe and the Estonian Authorities this country chairs actually the CoE, have organized in Tallinn a conference at the end of June: “Are we there yet? Assessing progress, inspiring action: the Council of Europe Gender Equality, Strategy 2014-2017“.

Anne Negre with Elena Centemero, Chair Committee Equality, Parliamentary Assembly CoE & Fanny Bennediti , Representative of France at Gender Committe CoE

Anne Negre was invited as Gender Expert of the Conference of INGOs and observer of the Gender Equality Commission:

” My view was that the main point is implementation. I asked the INGOs of the Conference and they have the same advice. So my intervention was on this way.”

The programme was interesting, you can find it here: Programme Tallinn .

You can have further informations about the event here:  http://www.coe.int/en/web/genderequality/tallinn-conference .

Side event COE Women and Religion

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21 and 22 June 2016, Council of Europe. With the group of work on religions of the Commission of human rights of the Conference of INGOs, we organized an event on the subject ” ARE RELIGIONS A PLACE OF EMANCIPATION FOR WOMEN? PROGRESS AND SETBACKS” Anne Negre the Gender Expert of The INGO Conference of the Council of Europe organized the event together with lots of other groups. It was a big success.

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The European Convention on Human Rights or the Lisbon Treaty for member States of the European Union respect religions or spiritual movements. National laws also protect freedom of conscience and worship for nationals of States countries of the Council of Europe while ensuring equality between women and men. We question the fate of this equality among places of worship.

We have sent a questionnaire and we received around 1000 answers. Specialists are working on it, but we can say that if equality between women and men, was really respected, with no discrimination, people could accept to practise again.

The event
A very important number of people was there from the different pilars of the Council of Europe. The panelists were at the highest level and each representative of religions affirmed that there was no obstacle from theology. Elena Centemero, Italian Parliamentarian, Chairperson of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe opened the debates, and, Gulsun Bilgehan, Turkish parliamentarian, Former Chairperson of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination, Chairperson of the Media and Information Society sub‑committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, closed them.
22 june 2016, at the same place, Council of Europe, it was the time for discussions, and a lot of speakers and participants came back. It was productive and show a real interest for these questions.

We have registered the debates of the 2 days,. Anybody who will be able to assist preparing the notes into a proper paper: please contact Anne via Boarduwe@gmail.com!


Gender Equality Glossary COE

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During its fifth meeting, which took place in Strasbourg on 2-5 April 2014, the Gender Equality Commission (GEC) discussed the preparation of a Gender Equality Glossary based on the definitions and terms of Council of Europe instruments and standards. During the sixth meeting of the GEC (19-21 November 2014), the Secretariat presented a Concept Note (GEC (2014)7) including an overview of existing glossaries. In the discussion that followed, GEC members instructed the Secretariat to prepare a more detailed document including relevant definitions from Council of Europe instruments and standards, providing sources and explanations for discussion at the GEC meeting in November 2015.

This document, prepared by the Secretariat, is the result of these discussions.

Concepts included in the Council of Europe Gender Equality Glossary

With regard to the concepts which are included in this document, GEC members agreed in November 2014 not to create any new definitions, but to use as much as possible the definitions included in Council of Europe standards.

The major sources for this Glossary are the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (CETS No. 210, hereinafter “the Istanbul Convention”) and the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers Recommendation CM/Rec (2007) 17 on gender equality standards and mechanisms and its Explanatory Memorandum (CM (2007)153 add), as well as some earlier sources.

Given the evolution of debates and policy-making in the area of equality between women and men since the adoption of a number of these standards, more recent approaches are not reflected in this Glossary, notably with regard to gender equality policies from the perspective of men.

GEC members also decided to limit the Glossary to the current areas of work of the Council of Europe as per the five strategic objectives of the Council of Europe Gender Equality Strategy 2014-20171.

In addition, given the fact that the important work of the Council of Europe in relation to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues is dealt with by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance and by the Unit for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity2 in the Council of Europe Secretariat, relevant concepts related to these issues are not included in this Glossary.Council of Europe Gender Equality Glossary December 2015_en[1][1]

Report UWE Annual General Meeting Winchester

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The next day after Brexit, we met in England’s ancient capital for an inspiring conference about encouraging women into leadership roles

“What an enjoyable conference!” someone commented on facebook. To be sure, everybody had a great time! Even now resounds in my mind the rendition of the song over 70 people sung in chorus at the end of the Gala Dinner:

Winchester Cathedral                                                       We’ve come from Europe

Your church of renown                                                      To meet all our friends.

You stood and you wa-tched                                            We’re earnestly talking

As we came to town…                                                        Until the day ends.”

Thank you all for being a part of it,  this couldn’t have been possible without you.  Special thanks and congratulations to our host: Sue Ouvry and the organizing team from The Winchester LA,  for contributing to the success of the conference and their generous support.

Because “a picture is worth a thousand words”, I invite you to watch this short movie I made, some moments to remember, a pictures gallery also,  enjoy!

As usual, the last day we had Annual General Meeting, we were delighted with the presence of Germany and the Netherlands, although they resigned from GWI.  A new Treasurer was elected.  The key point of our meeting was the discussion about how to adapt the constitution and spontaneously an interactive dialogue was initiated on how can UWE stays a regional group of GWI and still keeps its seat in the INGO conference representing European women graduated?.  We kept calm… and voted an emergency clause, please see here the Minutes AGM 2016 . Click on the links to see the reports, invitation to next UWE Conference in Graz, Austria and other documents presented.

In the end, feel free to fill this evaluation form and express your feelings, we really need your feedback to help us improve organizing the next conference. Thank you!


For the board,

many regards,

Roxana Elena Petrescu
Secretary General