6 June 2000 The Role of Men and Boys in Ending Gender Based -
7 June 2000 Dialogue between NGOs and Governments for a Gender
8 June 2000 Mainstreaming a Gender Perspective in
Panel on the Role of Men and Boys in Ending Gender Based - Based
Violence(6 June 2000)
Panelists came from a broad spectrum of backgrounds and experiences and included: a
youth activist (Kenya), a human rights lawyer (Pakistan), a legal practitioner from a
non-profit legal aid organization (Namibia); a grassroots organizer (Canada), Executive
Director of UNIFEM, and head of a national machinery (New Zealand). The Chair, Mr. Richard
Jolly, began his opening remarks by describing the panel as "revolutionary" to
the extent that the subject of gender-based violence was almost unheard of barely ten
years ago. Moreover, it was now not viewed as simply a narrow case of individual men
committing violence against individual women but rather as a broader social issue that
required equally broad responses and actions to end gender-based violence.
Mr. Thiogo, member of the Youth Caucus and Kenyan delegation shared his unique insights on
gender-based violence from the perspective of youth. He referred to: the double jeopardy
faced by young women and girls firstly as girls (gender dimension) and, secondly, as youth
- a social category still lacking integration,; the traditional role of men and boys as
protectors of their communities rather than their present role as perpetrators of
violence; and, finally, the need to involve youth as partners in the present and not just
the future. Mr. Ziadddin, a human rights lawyer highlighted the serious barrier presented
to women's rights in Pakistan by entrenched legal and law enforcement systems.
Mr. Tjombe, from Namibia underscored the implications of a new bill on rape about to be
ratified and the significance of this law for gender-based violence particularly rape. He
also related the experiences of the Legal Assistance Center and its activities that have
led to the creation of a movement of men against violence against women in cities, towns
and villages. Mr. Kaufman presented the experiences of the "White Ribbon"
Campaign, a men's movement that started in Canada and grew to a worldwide movement,
including linking up with the movement in Namibia. He also offered interesting
observations on the complex and contrasting cause of men's violence based principally on
two factors, namely (a) men's power based on entitlements and social permission given to
individual acts of violence against women; and (b) men's fear, if not, pain arising out of
feelings of inadequacy and insecurity and the use of violence to overcome these.
Ms. Heyzer from UNIFEM highlighted the results of the "Zero Tolerance of Violence,
International Campaign and the innovative strategies associated with it such as reaching
out to schools, the justice system and law enforcement institutions as well as partnership
with the media. She underscored the important role of the women's movement in first giving
visibility to gender-based violence as a human rights issue. Ms. Lawrence from New Zealand
presented the effectiveness of costing gender-based violence as a means of promoting
adequate policy responses. She pointed to the experiences of the New Zealand Government
and an NGO, the Women's Refuge in using the findings of such studies to increase
government allocations to family violence.
Panel on Dialogue between NGOs and Governments for
a Gender Sensitive Citizenship(7 June, 2000)
Panelists included representatives from the five regions of the UN regional
commissions with experience in both the government and non-government contexts. They
included Western Asia (ESCWA), Europe (ECE), Africa (ECA), Latin America and the Caribbean
(ECLAC), and Asia-Pacific (ESCAP). Ms. Christine Kapalata, Chairperson of the Bureau of
the Prep Com in her welcoming statement referred to the commonalties emerging from the
regional preparatory processes and the unique position of the commissions in providing a
region-wide forum for assessing the situation of gender equality, exchanging experiences,
developing strategies to address constraints and interface between government and civil
society. The Chair, Ms. Danuta Hubner, newly appointed as the Executive Director of the
ECE acknowledged the important work of the gender focal points in the commissions in their
everlasting efforts towards achieving gender mainstreaming and bringing life to the panel.
She stressed that partnership between NGOs and governments rested on not only changing
behavior but also on establishing new organizational models, transparency and ownership of
both problems and solutions.
Dr. Laura Balbo (Italy) observed that Europe was in transition and had to evolve
towards a new identity and institutions under a united Europe. She also reminded the
audience that this new Europe has multi-cultural and multi-ethnic dimensions that need to
be taken into account. She underscored the role of women's NGOs in analyzing the changing
context and agenda setting to ensure visibility and action on emerging issues such as
trafficking of women. HRH Princess Basma Bint Talal of Jordan described global trends -
economic recession, the end of the cold war and the worldwide movement towards
democratization- as enhancing the emergence of people's participation and their right to
development. In Western Asia, the role of NGOs has shifted from passive service providers
to advocates of change, causing some degree of tension. Nonetheless, the dialogue between
NGOs and governments has evolved, as exemplified by the role of the Jordanian National
Commission for Women in initiating legal reform, transforming violence against women into
a public debate issue; mainstreaming of gender issues into national development plans; and
finally promoting an equal reporting role for NGOs on the implementation of CEDAW.
Ms. Winne Byanyima, a parliamentarian from Uganda, declared that women were no longer
mere "subjects of the state" but were asserting their rights and engaging the
state. She pointed to the barriers faced by African women including illiteracy, the burden
of domestic work, lack of human rights and education and being born to "zero
wealth" due to gender biased inheritance laws. She stressed that the concept of
citizenship should be a global transcending of national boundaries and credited women with
deepening the concept of democracy, perhaps more than men since they do not see right to
vote as an end in itself. She shared examples of social change and empowerment in Rwanda
and Uganda related to womens land rights.
Ms.Supatra Masdit, from Thailand pointed to NGOs catalytic role and other
movements in creating gender sensitive citizenship in the Asia-Pacific region. Ms Supatra
referred to the Philippines NGO Beijing Scored Board and the Thai Women Watch as an
innovative strategy to mobilize support for implementation of the Platform of Action and
ensure links between public institutions and civil society groups.
Ms. Gina Vargas, from Peru focused on the "paradoxes" related to
gender-sensitive citizenship indicating that, while space for democracy was expanding,
socio-economic rights were shrinking due to globalization. She stressed that rights are
increasingly isolated from a democratic context and that affirmative action quotas for
women in Parliament are less meaningful at a time when the power of parliaments is being
Panel on Mainstreaming a Gender Perspective in
Peacekeeping Operations(8 June, 2000)
Panelists came from diverse backgrounds and experiences in peacekeeping operations and
peace related issues. They included: H.E. Dr. Speciosa Kazibwe, Vice President of Uganda
and President of the African Women Committee on Peace and Development (AWCPD); Hon.
Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Minister for Women's Affairs and Child Welfare (Namibia); Ms.
Elizabeth Rehn, Former USG and SRSF for Bosnia and Herzegovina; General Indar Jit Rikhye,
former UN military adviser; Ms. Judith Stiehm, Senior Consultant (UN DPKO); and Ms.
Patricia Flor, former Chair of the CSW and Vice Chair CSW acting as the PrepCom for
Beijing + 5.
Before introducing the panelists Ms. Angela King, Special Adviser to
the Secretary General on Gender Issues, underlined the importance of the theme, noting
that it had been the focus of several other panels during the special session. She also
underscored the timeliness of the issue as reflected in the Ad Hoc Committees
discussions on emerging initiatives. Ms King emphasized the high priority placed on the
theme by the Security Council and the Secretary General, noting the efforts made towards
(a) achieving a 50% gender balance in all peacekeeping operations; (b) proactive
mainstreaming of gender concerns in related polices, programmes and power structures.
Based on her own peacekeeping experiences, she observed that a critical mass of women in
peacekeeping forces had a mobilizing impact on local women as they represent positive role
models. Referring to the DPKO study that provided the substantive basis for the panel, Ms
King stressed its valuable contribution in terms of providing empirical evidence of local
and international womens contribution to the success of UN peacekeeping operations.
From the outset Dr. Kazibwe pointed out that, like the majority of her
African sisters, she knew little about the exact nature of peacekeeping operations. She
viewed it as a new frontier for women activists in the region since this has been male
dominated. Recognizing this serious deficit in knowledge about conflict situations, the
AWCPD aims to educate about and promote understanding of the causes of conflict in Africa
and the world. She observed that, while the peace torch was carried from Africa to Beijing
in 1995, this symbolism needed to be matched with the reality of women's entry into
executive branches and local government where decision-making occurs. Institutionalization
of women's participation in peacekeeping and conflict resolution remains the biggest
challenge given the recent acknowledgment of their critical role even by regional
political organizations such as the OAU. In conclusion, she stressed the need for
investment in mechanisms such as the AWCPD to support womens role in peace building
and to create a vision for "Pan African Womanism".
Ms. Flor then introduced the Honorable Ndaitwah who noted that
peacekeeping operations in Namibia are viewed as successful since they effectively
resulted in peace. Beyond this fact, she was not clear about other elements that made
Namibia a success story and would have liked further analysis. Nonetheless, she was sure
about one essential ingredient for lasting peace, namely peoples will for peace. She
referred to the Windhoek Declaration on "Mainstreaming A Gender Perspective in
Multidimensional Peace Support Operations."
Ms. Rehn expressed dismay at womens similar suffering in European
wars in the past as well as the present, quoting, in particular, the Balkan region. Peace
Accords, such as Dayton, may have ended war but did not craft peace and marginalised women
and children's concerns. She proposed that a target is set to ensure that at least 10% of
total forces in national and international peacekeeping operations are women.
General Rikyhe described essential components of peacekeeping as
preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and peacekeeping. He stressed that while women
recruitment indicated an upward trend, the UN could not extend such efforts to the
national level without being seen as interfering. He pointed to strategic opportunities
for promoting women in peacekeeping through high level assignment, presenting male and
female candidates and special training programmes.
Ms. Stiehm presented the main findings of the DPKO study, identifying
key areas for action- overcoming inertia due to force of habit, the will to implement
gender sensitive policies and to sustain these through institutionalization.