This issue of the WRI Women’s Working Group Newsletter continues our focus on Latin America, in preparation for the War Resisters’ International (WRI) Triennial. We are very happy that many experienced activists have agreed to be resource women for this year’s Triennial, which will be held December 10-17, in São Leopoldo, Brazil.
Violence against women in Haiti has increased since the 1991 coup, when the military took power. This violence includes the violence of poverty, which has forced many women into prostitution. There are reports of girls as young as 9 years old being kidnapped and sold to Dominican-run prostitution rings. Rape is also on the increase, with many of the rapes being committed by the Haitian military and the Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti (FRAPH). A victim who has been twice gang-raped said, “The crime is that those who should be protecting us don’t.
Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world. Under the military government (1964-1985), Brazil also accumulated the largest foreign debt in the world—US $121 billion. A constitutional process began in 1986, culminating in a new Constitution in 1988. Fernando Collor de Mello was elected President in 1990, the first directly-elected president since 1960.
Colectivo Feminista Sexualidade Saude (CFSS) is a feminist health action group, that provides training for women and professionals. They encourage self-help and offer information and health care around contraception, abortion, pregnancy, childbirth and women’s mental health. Coordenadoria Especial da Mulher/São Paulo (CEM) is a municipal government agency that is looking at institutionalizcd violence around women’s and children’s mortality, and organizing actions against such violence.
(Editor’s note—the following article was written before the scheduled October 3 eviction. On October 3, many prominent people, including Members of Parliament, showed up and the authorities postponed the eviction.)
‘I want to avert the end through work. Through work by healthy men. Thanks to that the ghetto exists… The Germans wouldn’t keep a ghetto for women and children for very long: they won’t give them food for one extra day.”
—Jacob Gens, leader of the Jewish ghetto in Vilna
Integrities is the newsletter of a US-based nonprofit group called IF. IF works to empower women in both the South and North through its CAPACITAR program, which helps support soup kitchens and human rights groups in South America and the Families of the Disappeared in Honduras. The following are some of the projects the women of IF help to support.
In addition to producing regular radio shows and writing workshops for women, the Women’s Resource Center in Namibia publishes the 28-page magazine Sister Namibia (in English, Afrikaans and local languages) six times a year. Begun in 1989, the collective is committed to the elimination of sexism, racism, homophobia and other issues that oppress and divide women.