Sunday, December 10, 2006

 

Women demand end to Darfur rapes

International stateswomen have made a joint call for an end to rape and sexual violence in Sudan's conflict-torn region of Darfur.

Peacekeepers must be sent to protect women there, the group said in a letter published by newspapers worldwide.

Signatories include former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and the Irish former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson.

The call comes as protests on the issue are planned in 40 countries.

The letter says rape is being used 'on a daily basis' as a weapon of war in Darfur.

The main signatories were joined by other prominent women including:

* Veteran Palestinian politician Hanan Ashrawi [1]
* Graca Machel, wife of Nelson Mandela [2]
* Edith Cresson, former French prime minister [3]
* Glenys Kinnock, a UK member of the European [4] Parliament
* Carol Bellamy, former head of the UN children's fund. [5]

Continued at "Women demand end to Darfur rapes"
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[1] Hanan Ashwari

In 1988, ABC's "Nightline" aired a three-hour discussion between four Palestinians and four Israelis. A member of the Palestinian team, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, was then a relatively unknown figure -- a Dean at a Palestinian Anglican University and a political activist. Appearing on live American television for the first time, Hanan Ashrawi was about to blast onto the political arena.

As a woman, a Christian and an articulate and eloquent speaker -- Dr. Ashrawi's appearance shattered a number of Western stereotypes about Palestinians. Educated in the West, with a doctorate in medieval literature from the University of Virginia, Dr. Ashrawi understood how to cross cultural boundaries and make Palestinian issues clear and identifiable to people outside the Middle East. ABC News describes her as a person who "masterfully conducts press conferences and interviews, controlling the topics of discussion, dodging uncomfortable issues and cutting off what she considers irrelevant questions". Back in 1988, she was one of the first Palestinian figures to transcend the media's popular "terrorist" stereotype and present the more realistic image of Palestinians as victims of oppression.
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[2] Graca Machel

BBC News Online's Josephine Hazeley profiles Graca Machel, whom she met four years ago:

The name Graca Machel of Mozambique was well known around Africa well before she married Nelson Mandela, one of the world's best known statesmen.

At ease on the international stage, she has a reputation for speaking out passionately about the causes close to her heart - the plight of women and children.

Those who have seen her in action say she does not flinch from challenging diplomats for sitting back in the comfort of their embassies while children in conflict are exploited and killed.

[3] Edith Cresson

Edith Cresson (born on 27 January 1934 as Edith Campion in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris) is a French politician. She was the first, and so far, only, woman to become French Prime Minister.

Cresson was well known for making outspoken and often controversial comments. She was very critical of "Anglo-Saxon" nations and often condemned the culture and people of the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom. She often described homosexuality as being a largely Anglo-Saxon "problem" that had little relevance in France. Her strong criticism of Japanese trade practices likewise prompted her to use harsh rhetoric that some considered borderline racist (going as far as to compare the Japanese to "ants trying to take over the world").

Cresson was appointed to the prime ministerial post by President Fran├žois Mitterrand on May 15, 1991.
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[4] Glenys Kinnock

Born in 1944, Glenys Kinnock was educated at Holyhead Comprehensive School and graduated from the University of Wales College Cardiff in education and history. She has been a teacher in secondary, primary, infant and nursery schools.

Glenys was elected to the European Parliament in 1994 and re-elected in 1999 and 2004. She now represents Wales and is a Member of the European Parliament's Development and Co-operation Committee.

She is Co-President of the African, Caribbean and Pacific / EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and Labour Party Spokesperson on International Development in the European Parliament.

Glenys is President of One World Action, the Development NGO. She is also Patron of the Drop the Debt Campaign, Vice President of Parliamentarians for Global Action, Board Member International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, Board Member World Parliamentarian Magazine and a Council Member of Voluntary Service Overseas.
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[5] Carol Bellamy

Carol Bellamy was appointed Executive Director of the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) in 1995, following consultations with the UNICEF Executive Board, and reappointed to a second five-year term in 1999.

Prior to her UNICEF appointment, Ms. Bellamy had been serving as Director of the Peace Corps since 1993. She was the first volunteer to have returned to direct the agency, which has some 6,500 volunteers in more than 90 countries. During her service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala from 1963 to 1965, Ms. Bellamy ran a school lunch programme and produced a radio show on health and nutrition in Spanish, which was broadcast in rural areas.

Prior to being named Peace Corps Director, Ms. Bellamy spent 11 years on Wall Street as a lawyer and banker.

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