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Francy L. Jaramillo Piedrahita is a human rights defender with over a decade of experience working on women’s rights, LGBTQ issues and peacebuilding in Colombia. She has been leading the localization of the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325 and the peace agreement between the Government and the FARC in Cauca, Colombia.
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This interview features Demecia Yat, one of 15 women survivors of conflict-related sexual violence in Guatemala. From 2011 – 2016, they fought for justice at a national high court. The groundbreaking case resulted in the conviction of two former military officers of crimes against humanity and granted 18 reparation measures to the women survivors and their communities.
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In this new intergenerational series for Generation Equality campaign, young people take the lead to shape the conversations. Marigona Shabiu, 26-year-old, a human rights activist from Kosovo is talking with Igballe Rogova, 58 years, whose women’s rights activism spans three decades.
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UN Women welcomes the conviction of Bosco Ntaganda by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on 8 July 2019 for crimes committed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2002 and 2003. The former rebel leader was found guilty on 13 counts of war crimes and 5 counts of crimes against humanity, including rape, sexual slavery, displacement of civilians, and enlisting and conscripting child soldiers under the age of 15 and using them to participate actively in hostilities.
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Drita Hajdari is a prosecutor for the Special Prosecution Office of Kosovo, where she investigates and prosecutes war crimes. Today, police investigators and special prosecutors, like Ms. Hajdari, are working on an increasing number of cases, with a victim-centred approach. UN Women, through the Gender-Sensitive Transitional Justice project, funded by the European Union, has facilitated mentoring support from international criminal law experts to prosecutors and investigators in Kosovo.
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On the sidelines of the UN Security Council open debate on sexual violence in conflict, experts came together to discuss what it takes to achieve justice for conflict-related sexual and gender-based crimes, through investigation and documentation.
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UN Women spoke with Jean Arnault, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia, about gender parity within the Mission and its priorities over the next year. The Verification Mission in Colombia has made impressive strides towards gender parity; 58 per cent of its professional level field staff are women and 65 per cent of field office teams are led by women. The Final Peace Agreement between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) was signed in 2016, ending more than 50 years of conflict. Contrary to most peace negotiations in history, women had a significant influence in the peace process in Colombia. The resulting peace agreement addresses core issues that impact women, such as women’s representation in decision-making bodies, access to land restitution or justice and reparations for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence.
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During the 36-year-long Guatemalan civil war, indigenous women were systematically raped and enslaved by the military in a small community near the Sepur Zarco outpost. What happened to them then was not unique, but what happened next, changed history. From 2011 – 2016, 15 women survivors fought for justice at the highest court of Guatemala. The groundbreaking case resulted in the conviction of two former military officers of crimes against humanity and granted 18 reparation measures to the women survivors and their community. The abuelas of Sepur Zarco, as the women are respectfully referred to, are now waiting to experience justice. Justice, for them, includes education for the children of their community, access to land, a health-care clinic and such measures that will end the abject poverty their community has endured across generations. Justice must be lived.
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Aurélie Roche-Mair is the Director of the International Bar Association (IBA) Hague Office, where she manages the International Criminal Justice Programme. As a member of the Justice Rapid Response-UN Women Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Justice Experts Roster, Ms. Roche-Mair served as the Gender Adviser to the judges during the trial of the former President of Chad, Hissène Habré, in 2016. Habré was convicted of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including rape and sexual slavery. The ground-breaking case marked the first African Union-backed trial of a former Head of State.
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On 25 October, women leaders and experts gathered at the UN Headquarters to discuss issues of masculinities, violence against women, and women’s participation in peace and justice in transitional societies. With 2 billion people across 35 countries and territories affected by fragility, conflict and violence, women’s active participation and leadership in preventing conflict and sustaining peace is critical.
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In the lead-up to UN Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security, experts discuss what it takes to document and investigate conflict-related sexual and gender-based crimes and pathways to justice for the crimes committed in Iraq and Syria.
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Sepur Zarco was the first case of conflict-related sexual violence challenged under Guatemala’s penal code. It was also the first time that a national court anywhere in the world had ruled on charges of sexual slavery during an armed conflict—a crime under international law. In its path-breaking judgment, the Guatemalan court noted that sexual violence against indigenous Maya Q’eqchi’ women was part of a deliberate strategy by the Guatemalan Army.
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After almost two decades of silence and stigma, Kosovo women survivors of sexual violence during the armed conflict of 1998 – 1999 will soon get legal recognition and reparations, including financial assistance.
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Today, at an event in New York, UN Women Deputy Executive Director Yannick Glemarec joined María Emma Mejía, Permanent Representative of Colombia to the United Nations; Margarita Cabello, President of Colombia’s Supreme Court of Justice and other dignitaries to discuss Colombia’s progress and challenges in the pursuit of peace and gender equality.
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In a statement welcoming the historic conviction for crimes including rape and sexual slavery by the former President of Chad, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said UN Women stands in solidarity with the survivors of his crimes. She signals that “UN Women is committed to ensuring that this global momentum for accountability continues to grow, until there is an unstoppable force for justice which makes these crimes a relic of the past.”
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UN Women welcomes the landmark conviction of Jean-Pierre Bemba by the International Criminal Court on 21 March 2016, for his failure to prevent and punish the rape, murder and pillage committed by his troops in the Central African Republic in 2002 and 2003.
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Kosovo begins implementation of the law that gives legal recognition to civilian survivors of the armed conflict and allows them to claim survivor benefits.
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On 26 February, a Guatemalan court convicted two former military officers of crimes against humanity against 11 indigenous Q’eqchi’ women who were subjected to sexual violence, sexual and domestic slavery, the forced disappearance of their husbands, as well as the murder and cruel treatment of a woman and her two small daughters. The historic verdict is being hailed by human rights experts as a major victory in accountability for conflict-related sexual violence.
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This statement is attributable to Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, and Zainab Hawa Bangura, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.
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The United Nations Security Council willconduct an all-day Open Debate in commemoration of resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. The historic review comes at a moment when the world is grappling with rising violent extremism that places the subordination of women at the centre of the ideology and war tactics, and violence and conflict are costing the planet over USD 14 trillion. In direct contrast, striking new research shows that peace endures when women can participate meaningfully in peace talks, and States are more resilient in the face of conflict and extremism when gender equality is prioritized.