A Farewell and Friday Roundup

This being Friday, seems like the way to wrap up this week's series on ending rape in conflict is with a good old-fashioned link round-up. Before we get into the clicking, a huge thanks to E.J. Graff and the Prospect for hosting me this week, and to all of you for reading.

For the first of two rounds of links, and to give you a sense of the movement that's already underway, let's focus on recent actions happening in the four focus countries of the campaign:

Congo

In the Eastern Congo city of Bukavu, about 150 local people and nearly 50 Congolese community groups gathered to hear survivor testimony and debate the best strategies for action. This new coalition is now quite energized to keep working together. I'm told a lot of video was recorded at the event, so stay tuned.

And in the DRC capital Kinshasa, a delegation of local grassroots activists met with the president of parliament to discuss the role of government in preventing rape and protecting the population, leading to a pledge from the government to give legal support to the women's cases.

Burma

While the oppressive military regime makes it near-impossible to have public events in Burma itself, 22 international groups advocating for human rights and peace in Burma recently issued a call to action against the Burmese military's ongoing use of rape as a weapon. 

Kenya

Just yesterday, 22 female MPs held a press conference to speak out about gender-based violence in their country and to collectively pledge to take action to stop it. 

Colombia

The League of Displaced Women and their founder, Patricia Guerrero, convened a coalition spanning ten Colombian organizations and more than three generations of women to kick off the international campaign. The League continues to advocate at the grassroots level in Colombia for local women and displaced communities. Their work has brought them under threat from paramiliatry units, and many of the women involved with the League and their families have been raped or murdered because of their community action.

Elsewhere

Plenty of other stuff happening around the world, including this event after my own media-advocacy heart in Khartoum, Sudan, where local advocacy groups organized a forum for young journalists and media professionals to encourage them to publish more information about gender violence.

Dive Deeper

Want to learn more about the possibilities of stopping rape in conflict? This second round of links are some good places to start exploring:

This cool tech project uses satellite imagery to track the conflict in Sudan, enabling the press, policymakers, peacekeepers, and humanitarian aid to respond more nimbly. It's not a proven strategy yet, but it points to the possibilities for new technology to help those on the ground to intervene more quickly and effectively. 

This story about a village in Colombia literally built (as in, they made their own bricks) by and for women fleeing rape and the murder of their families is a perfect example of what's possible when imagination, courage and hard work are combined. Bonus feel-good element for those of us in the U.S.: our Congress gave them the startup funds.

Watch this discussion between Doris Buss, associate professor of law at Carleton University, Charlotte Isaksson senior gender adviser of the Swedish Armed Forces, Wangu Kanja  a survivor-activist from Kenya, and Nobel Peace laureates Jody WIlliams, Shirin Ebadi, and Mairead Maguire. The event was recorded in Ottawa the day after last year's international conference on ending sexual violence in conflict concluded.

The survivor testimony at Women Under Siege is harrowing but so moving and crucial. Once you're on that site, be sure to also read their wide-ranging blog full of excellent writers.

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