The Palestine seeking recognition as a state September 2011

Posted On thUTCp30UTC09bUTCFri, 30 Sep 2011 22:11:05 +0000 25,2007

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CNN – video and the quotation from the newsletter of the European Greens

The European Parliament today adopted a resolution on Palestine in the context of the current bid for UN recognition of the Palestinian state. The Greens welcomed the strong majority in favour of the resolution, which represents a clear message on how the EU should orient itself to supporting Palestine. After the vote, Greens/EFA co-president Dany Cohn-Bendit said:
“The EU should stand clearly behind Palestine and the support of a large majority of the European Parliament for the resolution adopted today sends a clear message to this end.
“Instead of idly standing by and waiting for this deadlock in the peace talks to be broken, the EU should proactively support the initiative by Palestine and try and force Israel to constructively reengage in negotiations. Today’s resolution points the right direction in this regard. The current divisions within the EU are undermining our ability to help get the peace process back on track. The EU should speak with a common voice and the previous Council statement on the Middle East provides a good basis for this. The Greens believe the EU should end its ambiguous stance and recognise the existence of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders.
“The illegal settlements, and the Israeli government’s support for this odious practice, are an obvious barrier to progressing the peace talks. The EU must both call for a complete stop of all settlement activities and unequivocally condemn the new settlements that are still being announced. MEPs have today clearly stated this and called for the EU to immediately restart the talks based on the proposals of the Quartet. Cynically kowtowing to the Israeli government will do nothing for peace in the Middle East.”

Mama of Africa – Prof Wangari Maathai, Peace Prize Winner 2004 – RIP

Posted On thUTCp30UTC09bUTCFri, 30 Sep 2011 21:52:50 +0000 25,2007

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The death of Prof Wangari Maathai on 25 September 2011 came unexpectedly and has shocked and saddened very many people all over the world. She contributed so much to the world through the Green Belt Movement, through her work promoting women’s rights, and through her tireless campaigns for peace and the environment, especially in Africa.
Prof Maathai was a courageous and committed woman, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.
Prof Maathai was imprisoned several times for her outspoken advocacy but never deterred from campaigning.
She was an inspirational public speaker and always an imposing figure in magnificent colourful African dress.
Around the world she will be sadly missed as inspiration to many people promoting sustainable development, peace and democracy.
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Wangari Muta Maathai was born in Nyeri, Kenya (Africa) in 1940. The first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree. Wangari Maathai obtained a degree in Biological Sciences from Mount St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kansas (1964). She subsequently earned a Master of Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh (1966). She pursued doctoral studies in Germany and the University of Nairobi, obtaining a Ph.D. (1971) from the University of Nairobi where she also taught veterinary anatomy. She became chair of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy and an associate professor in 1976 and 1977 respectively. In both cases, she was the first woman to attain those positions in the region. Wangari Maathai was active in the National Council of Women of Kenya in 1976-87 and was its chairman in 1981-87. It was while she served in the National Council of Women that she introduced the idea of planting trees with the people in 1976 and continued to develop it into a broad-based, grassroots organization whose main focus is the planting of trees with women groups in order to conserve the environment and improve their quality of life. However, through the Green Belt Movement she has assisted women in planting more than 20 million trees on their farms and on schools and church compounds.

In 1986, the Movement established a Pan African Green Belt Network and has exposed over 40 individuals from other African countries to the approach. Some of these individuals have established similar tree planting initiatives in their own countries or they use some of the Green Belt Movement methods to improve their efforts. So far some countries have successfully launched such initiatives in Africa (Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Lesotho, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, etc). In September 1998, she launched a campaign of the Jubilee 2000 Coalition. She has embarked on new challenges, playing a leading global role as a co-chair of the Jubilee 2000 Africa Campaign, which seeks cancellation of the unpayable backlog debts of the poor countries in Africa by the year 2000. Her campaign against land grabbing and rapacious allocation of forests land has caught the limelight in the recent past.

Wangari Maathai is internationally recognized for her persistent struggle for democracy, human rights and environmental conservation. She has addressed the UN on several occasions and spoke on behalf of women at special sessions of the General Assembly for the five-year review of the earth summit. She served on the commission for Global Governance and Commission on the Future. She and the Green Belt Movement have received numerous awards, most notably The 2004 Nobel Peace Prize. Others include The Sophie Prize (2004), The Petra Kelly Prize for Environment (2004), The Conservation Scientist Award (2004), J. Sterling Morton Award (2004), WANGO Environment Award (2003), Outstanding Vision and Commitment Award (2002), Excellence Award from the Kenyan Community Abroad (2001), Golden Ark Award (1994), Juliet Hollister Award (2001), Jane Adams Leadership Award (1993), Edinburgh Medal (1993), The Hunger Project’s Africa Prize for Leadership (1991), Goldman Environmental Prize (1991), the Woman of the World (1989), Windstar Award for the Environment (1988), Better World Society Award (1986), Right Livelihood Award (1984) and the Woman of the Year Award (1983). Professor Maathai was also listed on UNEP’s Global 500 Hall of Fame and named one of the 100 heroines of the world. In June 1997, Wangari was elected by Earth Times as one of 100 persons in the world who have made a difference in the environmental arena. Professor Maathai has also received honorary doctoral degrees from several institutions around the world: William’s College, MA, USA (1990), Hobart & William Smith Colleges (1994), University of Norway (1997) and Yale University (2004).

The Green Belt Movement and Professor Wangari Maathai are featured in several publications including The Green Belt Movement: Sharing the Approach (by Professor Wangari Maathai, 2002), Speak Truth to Power (Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, 2000), Women Pioneers for the Environment (Mary Joy Breton, 1998), Hopes Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet (Frances Moore Lappé and Anna Lappé, 2002), Una Sola Terra: Donna I Medi Ambient Despres de Rio (Brice Lalonde et al., 1998), Land Ist Leben (Bedrohte Volker, 1993).

Professor Maathai serves on the boards of several organizations including the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament, The Jane Goodall Institute, Women and Environment Development Organization (WEDO), World Learning for International Development, Green Cross International, Environment Liaison Center International, the WorldWIDE Network of Women in Environmental Work and National Council of Women of Kenya.

In December 2002, Professor Maathai was elected to parliament with an overwhelming 98% of the vote. She was subsequently appointed by the president, as Assistant Minister for Environment, Natural Resources and Wildlife in Kenya’s ninth parliament.

From Les Prix Nobel. The Nobel Prizes 2004, Editor Tore Frängsmyr, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 2005

Women for Peace – International Movement

Posted On thUTCp30UTC09bUTCWed, 14 Sep 2011 22:05:21 +0000 25,2007

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War is waged between two or more states but contemporary conflicts are at least as destructive and horrible as a so called “regular” war. It is women and children and the elderly who increasingly suffer the most. In contemporary conflicts, as much as 90 percent of casualties are among civilians, most of whom are women and children. Women in war-torn societies may face devastating forms of sexual violence, which are sometimes deployed systematically to achieve military or political objectives. Women are the first to be affected by infrastructure breakdown, as they struggle to keep families together and care for the wounded. And women may also be forced to turn to sexual exploitation in order to survive and support their families.

Even after conflict has ended, the impacts of sexual violence persist, including unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections and stigmatization. Widespread sexual violence itself may continue or even increase in the aftermath of conflict, as a consequence of insecurity and impunity. Coupled with discrimination and inequitable laws, sexual violence can prevent women from accessing education, becoming financially independent and from participating in governance and peacebuilding.

Moreover, women continue to be poorly represented in formal peace processes, although they contribute in many informal ways to conflict resolution. In recent peace negotiations, for which such information is available, women have represented fewer than 8 percent of participants and fewer than 3 percent of signatories, and no woman has ever been appointed chief or lead mediator in UN-sponsored peace talks. Such exclusion invariably leads to a failure to adequately address women’s concerns, such as sexual and gender-based violence, women’s rights and post-conflict accountability.

United Nations Resolutions
However, the UN Security Council now recognizes that women’s exclusion from peace processes contravenes their rights, and that including women and gender perspectives in decision-making can strengthen prospects for sustainable peace. This recognition was formalized in October 2000 with the unanimous adoption of resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. The landmark resolution specifically addresses the situation of women in armed conflict and calls for their participation at all levels of decision-making on conflict resolution and peacebuilding.

Since the agenda was set with the core principles of resolution 1325, four supporting resolutions have been adopted by the Security Council — 1820, 1888, 1889 and 1960. The five resolutions focus on three key goals:

•Strengthening women’s participation in decision-making— Resolution 1325 (2000) calls for strengthening women’s agency as peacemakers and peacebuilders, including their participation in conflict prevention and peace processes, early recovery, governance and in peace operations. Resolution 1889 (2009) complements 1325 by calling for the establishment of global indicators to measure progress on its implementation.
•Ending sexual violence and impunity — Resolution 1820 (2008) calls for an end to widespread conflict-related sexual violence and for accountability in order to end impunity. Resolution 1888 (2009) focuses on strengthening leadership, expertise and other institutional capacities within the United Nations and in member states to help put an end to conflict-related sexual violence.
•Provide an accountability system — Resolution 1960 mandates the Secretary-General to list those parties credibly suspected of committing or being responsible for patterns of sexual violence in situations on the Council’s agenda. Relevant sanctions committees will be briefed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, and may take action against listed parties. SCR 1960 also calls for the establishment of monitoring, analysis, and reporting arrangements specific to conflict-related sexual violence.
Together, these resolutions provide a powerful framework and mandate for implementing and measuring change in the lives of women in conflict-affected countries. A number of other thematic resolutions, policies and legal instruments also overlap and complement this agenda.

UN Women’s Approach
Since the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1325, UN Women’s work on peace and security issues has been driven by its goals. UN Women supports projects that focus on increasing women’s participation in decision-making, promoting the use of gender perspectives in policy development, strengthening the protection of women affected by conflict, countering conflict-related sexual violence, amplifying calls for accountability and advancing the status of women in post-conflict settings.

UN Women programming focuses on four key thematic areas:

•Peacebuilding
•Security & Justice
•Sexual & Gender-Based Violence
•Post-Conflict & Humanitarian Planning

Source: UniFem – UN Fund for Women

Social Forum now in Northern Finland

Posted On thUTCp30UTC09bUTCWed, 14 Sep 2011 21:57:25 +0000 25,2007

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