No to Violence Against Women

Violence against women is finally being recognized as the major international issue that it is. At the United Nations’ Conference on Human Rights (held in Vienna this summer), the hard work of feminist organisers paid off. The final Declaration of the conference stated that violence against women—in both public and in private—is a human rights abuse. The Declaration also recommended that the UN appoint a Special Rapporteur on violence against women. (You can read excerpts from WRI ‘s statement to the Conference against violence against women in the following pages). Women are now lobbying for the UN to fulfil its commitment to eliminate violence against women, and to report on its efforts to do so at the UN’s international conference on women in Beijing, China, in September 1995 (a petition about this is enclosed).

The violence of war rapes throughout former Yugoslavia has also received much attention. While the danger is that this attention may be short-lived and sensationalized (and so victimize the survivors once again), it is a recognition of the devastation rape creates, and of the inextricable links between rape and war. You can read more about how women are resisting the violence in former Yugoslavia in the report from the WRI Women’s meeting in Verona, and in a report about the visit of Stasa Zajovic (who many of you met at the WRI Women’s Conference in Bangkok) with anti-militarist groups in the State of Spain (translated by MiX).

You can also read in the following pages how women in Cambodia are leading the struggle for democracy and peace in their country. All of this creates the hope that the undeclared war against women—the violence that takes place in our homes, on our streets, at work, every day and in every country—will be made visible. This year, on November 25, groups around the world are again participating in the third annual International Day Against Violence Against Women. WRI members will also be commemorating this day with the “Name It” campaign—a campaign aimed at breaking the silence, and naming the violences that women in our different communities suffer and resist. You can contact the secretariat in London for more information about “Name It”.

On another note, Caroline Pinkney-Baird left her position as staff member at the WRI office in London at the end of April. We thank her for all her hard work, both on the WRI Women’s Conference and on other WRI projects, and wish her well.

Have you published a report about the Bangkok Conference? Or seen a report in your newspaper? Please send all articles about the 4th WRI Women’s Conference to: S. Anderson, van der Woudestraat 23, NL-1815 VT Alkmaar, the Netherlands

Shelley Anderson