Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

4 January:Women's Human Rights Mechanisms

The goal of this workshop was to describe the way women's human rights mechanisms were utilized in a local conflict situation to provide an example for how to utilize these mechanisms in other situations.

First, let me say I truly appreciate the work of the WILPF India Section for the people of Kandhamal, Orissa. They provided an extremely thorough presentation of their work. First, we learned about the history of the state of Orissa, including some of the reasons ethnic violence erupted, through a PowerPoint presentation. (I'm hopeful that the presentation will be available in the near future on the web.)

Then, WILPF India President Dr. Ila Pathak, WILPF India Vice President Dr. Pushpa Motiyani and WILPF International President Annelise Ebbe described their experiences touring camps where internally displaced people are living.

The complete report of this work on behalf of the women attacked in Kandhamal, Orissa is available on the WILPF international website. (pdf) It provides background information, reports from three IDP camps, recommended legal actions, and conclusions. Here's the key take-away: citizens must hold their government accountable for living up to the international treaties they sign. WILPF has systemically pointed out how India is not living up to its commitments for protecting civilians during times of violence, nor does the country have a good process for integrating women into the conflict resolution process.

Unfortunately, no discussion occurred on how to replicate this example nor on how the international WILPF community could utilize the report in support future work of the WILPF India in support of the women of Kandhamal. I am hopeful that we will begin these discussions via email and conference call.


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