Category Archives: Justice

#womensrights #safeabortion #srhr Sierra Leone Safe Abortion Bill: SIGN-ON Online Letter to Petition Parliament

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Join and support our sisters in Sierra Leone at this critical time by Signing-On this Online Petition.

The parliament of Sierra Leone passed the Safe Abortion Bill sometime in December 2015 and it was forwarded to the President for signature but he declined to sign it.

Arise and stand in solidarity for women’s human rights by signing this online petition, aimed at appealing to members of parliament to maintain their recent positive and progressive vote in favour of the Safe Abortion Bill and to quickly pass the bill into law.

Deadline for the Sign-on on the online petition: 31st January 2016

13th January, 2016

To:     Hon. Sheku Badara Basiru Dumbuya, Speaker
Hon. Chernor M. Bah, Deputy Speaker
Hon  Ibrahim Bundu, Majority Leader
Hon. Leonard S. Fofanah, Deputy Majority Leader
Hon. Bernadette Lahai, Minority Leader
Hon. AnsumanaJaiaKaikai, Deputy Minority Leader
Hon. Claude D.M Kamanda, Chief Whip
Hon. Sidie Tunis, Minority Chief Whip
Hon. Hannah B. Songowa, Deputy Chief Whip
Hon. Jusufu B. Mansaray, Deputy Minority Whip
Hon. Ibrahim S.Sesay, Clerk of Parliament

We write today to commend the Parliament of Sierra Leone for its recent vote in favour of the Safe Abortion Bill and urge quick passage of the bill into law. This landmark bill allows us to envision the elimination of unsafe abortion in Sierra Leone and the many deaths and injuries it causes. With the passage of the Safe Abortion Act 2015, Sierra Leone will join with other African nations as leaders taking the most direct and effective action possible to reduce maternal mortality and affirm women’s human rights.

We in Africa should be ashamed that our women continue to die of unsafe abortion when safe abortion is such a clear and attainable solution. Yet almost all 47,000 women who die every year from unsafe abortion are in developing countries, with African women at the highest risk. Without access to safe and legal abortion, women become desperate and procure clandestine procedures in unsafe settings. The epidemic of unsafe abortion has left women injured or disabled. It has resulted in families being broken by the loss of the mother.

We applaud the Parliament of Sierra Leone for saying definitively through the Safe Abortion Bill that it cannot sit by while women die needlessly from unsafe abortion.Though opposed by a few loud voices, members of Parliament have had the courage to stand firm in protecting the people of Sierra Leone from harm. We urge you to sign the bill into law and begin saving lives now.

With the passage of this legislation, the Parliament will also be affirming its commitment to the Protocol to the Africa Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (2003), commonly known as the Maputo Protocol. Article 3 of the protocol affirms women’s rights to dignity, life, integrity and security of person and Article 14 protects the reproductive rights of women including the right to safe abortion. Sierra Leone ratified the Maputo Protocol this past summer, and this law ensures that Sierra Leone will meet and lead in its commitments to African nations and peoples.

Again, we celebrate and congratulate the Parliament for its strong and clear steps to protect women’s health and dignity.  Sierra Leone stands as a champion within Africa for women’s health and rights and a model for numerous other countries that are unwilling to take this bold and important step for what is good and right.

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Petition prepared by:-

Ipas Africa Alliance: Contact: Lucy Lugalia: guthriee@ipas.org

SOAWR – Solidarity for African Women’s Rights Coalition

FEMNET – African Women’s Development and Communication Network: Contact: Dinah Musindarwezo: director@femnet.or.ke and Hellen Malinga Apila: advocacy@femnet.or.ke

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16 Days Campaigners CALL for an End to Gender-based Violence and Violations of the Right to Education

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On November 25, 2015, the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) will launch the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign. Along with over 5,478 organizations and other participants from 187 countries and territories, CWGL is calling for an end to gender-based violence and accountability on the part of policymakers and community members to end violence, discrimination, and inequality.

The 16 Days Campaign is a powerful platform to educate the public and governments about gender-based violence, human rights, and the intersections of political, economic, and social realities.

CWGL is sharing resources, coordinating with global participants on their actions and hosting a social media mobilization with a Twitter “teach-in.” To participate, contact the global coordinator at 16days@cwgl.rutgers.edu and follow @16DaysCampaign. Use the #16Days and #GBVteachin hashtags to join the discussion.

READ full Press Release

For more information, visit http://16dayscwgl.rutgers.edu.

#African Lives Matter

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It’s 8.57 pm on April 15th and I’m seated at the Vienna Cafe at the #UNHQ waiting patiently to hear the results of the negotiations for the day. For the past three days, I have been attending the 48th Session of the Commission on Population and Development. This year’s theme is ‘Integrating population issues into sustainable development, including in the post – 2015 development agenda.’ My days have been plagued with discussions on key terms and language such as ‘harnessing the demographic dividend’, ‘the right to development’, ‘sovereignty’, ‘multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination’ and ‘putting people at the centre of development.’ While seated here, a colleague @bmunyati, approaches me to review his post, ‘Xenophobia Must Fall! “How can we be silent when our people are being killed? ” I tell him to give me ten minutes as I quickly go through Twitter and news articles on the incidences of Xenophobia currently taking place in South Africa.

At #CPD48, while we argue against the instrumentalization of women and the youth, the need to respect sexual and reproductive rights as human rights that are indivisible and inalienable, another battle is taking place on my beautiful continent Africa. This time, the battle has shifted from an ideological debate to a rallying call for leaders to put an end to Xenophobia, an end to the senseless killings. The attacks against the immigrants from Somalia, DRC, Mozambique, Nigeria and Malawi and recently Pakistan and Bangladesh is an attempt to ‘rectify the wrongs’ in a situation where the immigrants are taking jobs and opportunities away from Black South Africans. A quick review of the literature highlighted that similar attacks took place in 2008 where over 60 people were left dead and hundreds more were displaced. The attacks were rumored to have begun when the Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini was quoted saying the foreigners should pack their bags and leave. He claims that his words were taken out of context but reports have recorded the attackers saying, ‘The King has spoken.’

I am tempted to say we have a crisis of leadership in Africa… From all corners of the continent infact. We recently marked one year since over 200 girls were kidnapped in Chibok, Nigeria and they are yet to all get back home safe. Two weeks ago, 148 students in Kenya were killed while studying at Garissa University. Since then, the Kenyan government is working on building a wall that divides Somalia and Kenya and plans to send refugees back to Somalia.

In North Africa, North Africa, women’s human rights defenders are jailed and killed for advocating for non-discrimination and an end to violence…and now this. How much more can we take before deciding to rise up in large numbers? How long will we continue to sit in silence and watch OUR AFRICA crumble. It begs the question, is Africa truly rising? The African Union, Department of Political Affairs says, “Xenophobia erodes AU’s shared values on human and people’s rights and principles of continental unity, integration and Pan-Africanism”. Where then are our leaders? What are they doing to safeguard Mwalimu Nyerere’s vision of a United Africa? @TamukaKagoro77 says that, “Afrophobia and Xenophobia are maladies that infect the literate but ignorant among us. I tend to agree. So as others boycott South African products such as DSTV, I choose not to be silent. I choose to call on other Africans to stand in solidarity with the majority of Black South Africans who see xenophobia as injustice and not abandon them in their time of need.

While we continue negotiating on the importance of integrating population issues into the next development framework, we must put people at the centre of development discourse free from discrimination. Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and People’s rights states, “Every individual shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms recognised and guaranteed in the present Charter without distinction of any kind such as race, ethnic group, colour, sex, language, religion, political or any other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or any status.”

We must put an end to this prejudice and hatred. Xenophobia must stop!

By Yvette Kathurima, Head of Advocacy at FEMNET and can be reached on twitter @wamburay

2015 INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ZERO TOLERANCE FOR FGM

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THEME: “Mobilization and Involvement of Health Personnel to Accelerate Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting”.

On 6th February we stand in solidarity together with the people around the world who are observing this annual International Zero Tolerance Day to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting. This day fosters awareness of the harmful effects of female genital mutilation/cutting and renews the call for communities to abandon this inhumane practice.

FGM/C refers to a procedure involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia. It is a practice that occurs across cultures and religions, although in fact no religion mandates the procedure. The practice is often performed and often using such instruments as broken glass, tin lids, scissors, unsterilized razors or surgical blades. According to World Health Organization, as many as 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide currently live with the consequences of this dangerous practice.

Everyone must act jointly to abandon the practice, so that girls and their families who opt out do not become social outcasts. Communities working together to abandon FGM/C can ensure stronger, healthier futures for girls, young women, and their families. We all have an obligation to work together for the equality, well-being, and prosperity.

How to engage tomorrow: Use the hashtags #EndFGM #Zerotoleranceday #TogetherforZero add your voice to call for the abandonment of this harmful traditional practice.

Call to Action to End Violence Against Women & Girls

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A Call to Action to End Violence Against Women & Girls_Page_01

This Call to Action holds a common human rights agenda, uniting our visions & clarifying our demands. With it, we can be many voices speaking loudly and consistently backed by evidence and experience in ways that convince, inspire and challenge others outside our movements to use their power.

This call to action is a strategic demand for change.

Together, we call for greater action and an explicit commitment to the elimination of violence against women.

COMMIT TO ACTION!

Join the hundreds of other individuals and organizations working toward ending violence against women.

Join here:

http://www.lancet.com/series/violence-against-women-and-girls

6 Month Solidarity Vigil for Chibok Schoolgirls – to be held on 13th Oct 2014

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6 Month Solidarity Vigil for Chibok Schoolgirls – to be held on 13th Oct 2014

In recognition of the International Day of the Girl Child, join us in vigil for the 200+ Chibok Schoolgirls of Nigeria as we mark 6 months since their kidnapping by Boko Haram. Our partners in Nigeria have called on us to help them ensure that the call to #BringBackOurGirls is still loud and clear – join civil society, expert guest speakers and creatives in holding governments to account, especially Nigeria in its obligation to the Chibok girls and others living under threat of similar circumstances each day.

We are in the midst of a global civil rights struggle for girls’ rights. Please join us as we renew our call to #BringBackOurGirls, and honor the theme of this year’s International Day of the Girl Child — ending the cycle of violence. Come learn more about how you can help protect and celebrate the girl child in your communities!

Please Join Us!
When: October 13, 2014; 6-8pm
Where: PAWA 254 Rooftop, Nairobi

http://pawa254.org/

http://equalitynow.org

http://femnet.co

http://www.soawr.org