GNRD and MFPD marked International Women’s Day 2014

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Global Network for Rights & Development (GNRD) in association with Maarij Foundation for Peace & Development (MFPD) hosted a conference on women in situations of armed conflict at Palais des Nations in Geneva. The conference explored international women’s human rights issues in general and in conflict areas in particular. The event also touched upon the applicable international and regional legal framework.

IWD2014Speakers included Dr. Pierre Sob – Acting Chief of Women’s Rights and Gender section, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Neil Buhne – Director of UNDP’s BCPR Liaison Office in Geneva, Dr. Attyat Mustafa, Director of the Unit under the supervision of the Ministry of Gender for combating violence against women and children in Sudan, Ms. Melissa Rancourt – Founder of Greenlight for girls, an International NGO and Ms. Evgenia Kondrakhina – GNRD Chief Executive Manager.

The wide range of participants included members of the Geneva political scene, UN representatives, NGO representatives, women human right defenders, academics and other interested parties.

Speaking on behalf of GNRD, Ms. Kondrakhina welcomed the distinguished guests and explained the role that GNRD is undertaking to put an end to violence against women and to increase women civil and political participation. She declared that “women human rights defenders must play a crucial role in bringing gender perspective and human dimension into the conflict resolution processes”.

Dr. Sob stressed that accountability for crimes against women at times of conflict and instability must be pursued through gender-sensitive transitional justice processes which address perpetrators’ impunity and promote women’s access to justice; adequately recognize and consider women and girls’ experience in efforts to uncover the truth; and promote the design and delivery of gender-sensitive and comprehensive reparation programmes.

Highlighting the satiation of women’s rights in Sudan, Dr. Mustafa stated women have the right to a peaceful existence and the right to participate in the promotion and maintenance of peace; for the increased representation of women through appropriate measures including: peace education, disseminating the culture of peace; appointing women in the structures and processes of conflict prevention, management and resolution at local, national, regional and international levels.

Mr. Neil Buhne highlighted the continued support of UNDP/BCPR to women’s access to justice, especially survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. He stressed that any serious shift towards sustainable development requires gender equality. Mr. Buhne also gave examples of UNDP projects on post-conflict recovery for population, and especially women.

Ms. Rancourt stressed on the need to work together to help inspire and build confidence in girls so they don’t feel like they are a burden, to give them believe that they deserve to be educated and to be treated the same as anyone in society. She recommended the creation of an education programme to teach the importance of equal rights, to instil confidence and the importance of role models and to inspire children around the world that anything is possible.

The conference opened discussion and questions with participants and concluded by outlining the speakers’ recommendations for the elimination of violence against women.

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