16 Days Of Activation Project Videos And Bios
Intro Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgId0vO8Bh0
Meet YANAR MOHAMMED. Yanar is the co-founder and President of the Organization of Womenâs Freedom in Iraq (OWFI). Since it’s inception in 2003, the organization has campaigned for women’s political, civic and human rights in Iraq. One of it’s operations is running secret women’s shelters in Baghdad. These safehouses provideÂ accommodationÂ and support to women who have been forced to flee dangerous living situations, including domestic abuse and honor killings.
Yanar is one of the foremost activists for womenâs rights in Iraq. Her work, like many other human rights activists in the country, has been undertaken at great personal risk. Yanarâs courageous work merited her the Gruber Foundationâs Womenâs Rights Prize in 2008. She is the editor of the newspaper Al-Mousawat (âEqualityâ).
Watch Yanar talk about her work with the OWFI.
Meet SUZANNE JAMBO. Suzanne is a human rights and civil society activist from southern Sudan. Her work with indigenous NGOs in southern Sudan has focused on the improvement of organizational structures and capacity building. She has also been involved with several Sudanese womenâs organizations in their efforts to integrate women-friendly provisions into international, regional and local human rights programs.
Suzanne is the founder of the New Sudanese Indigenous Network, an umbrella body organization which works with 20 local Sudanese NGOs to address issues like women’s rights, post-conflict strategies, human rights, and participatory governance. Her motivations are clear.Â “Being from South Sudan, I am a direct victim of the war. I have seen a lot of suffering, particularly among women. I hate to see women being victimized. I really hate to see that. But itâs a reality and itâs happening,” states Suzanne.
Suzanne worked as a negotiator for the IGAD-facilitated peace process from 1998 until 2005, when the Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement was ratified. She currently works as the Secretary for Foreign Relations for the Sudan peopleâs Liberation Movement (SPLM). She has worked with Amnesty International, the UN World Food Programme and the UN Childrenâs Fund. Suzanne is the author of the book âOvercoming Gender Conflict and Bias: The Case of New Sudanese Womenâ.
Meet ROBI DAMELIN. Robi is a member of The Parentsâ Circle, a peace group that brings together bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families who have each lost a family member to the conflict. The group aims to cultivate reconciliation, forgiveness, but most of all, peace. They serve as a reminder that the cost of the occupation runs high for both Israelis and Palestinian. The Parents’ Circle has one overarching goal: to push for the development of a reconciliation framework, based on their belief that such a framework must be in place for when political treaties are ratified.
Robi knows all too well the devastation caused by the occupation â her son David, an Israeli soldier, was shot by a sniper in March of 2002. She turned her personal tragedy into an opportunity to foster peace through her work with The Parentsâ Circle. The group has been able to bring healing to hundreds of Palestinian and Israeli families by uniting them in their time of loss.
Watch a video of Robi explaining her work with the Parents’ Circle.
Meet MAY OO MATRAW. May-Oo is a former refugee from Burma and a member of the Karen ethnic nationality.Â She was a participant in the International Tribunal for Crimes Against Women of Burma, an event co-hosted by the Nobel Women’s Initiative and the Women’s League of Burma in March of 2010.
May Oo fled Toungoo, her hometown in Burma, in 1988 after the military coup and came with her family to one of the refugee camps in Thailand, near the Burma-Thai border.Â She graduated from highschool in a school run by the Karen Revolution in one of Burma’s liberated areas.Â With her experience in war-zones, struggling to survive the aggression of the Burmese military regime and the malaria mosquitoes along the Burma-Thai border, May-Oo developed a keen interest in the fundamental affairs of her country and the peopleâs health, education, and peace.
May-Oo co-founded the Going Home Where We Belong Program in 2007 with the hope to gather Karen/Karenni refugees who have been educated outside of Burma. May Oo organizes activities for the group’s members to share their experiences of education with those who still remaining in the conflict zone back home in Burma.Â She designs and teaches courses in local governance, public policy making, democracy, and human rights to the leaders of the Karen National Union at the brigade and district levels.Â Most recently, she has published a photography-documentary book entitled Stories of Resilience and Hope: Reflecting on War, Ethnicity, and Liberation Struggle in Burma (Blurb Publishing 2009).
Meet NAYEREH TOHIDI. Nayereh is a human rights activist and scholar from Iran. She is a professor and the chair of the Department for Gender Studies and Women’s Studies at California State University. Her areas of specialization and research include religion (Islam), the sociology of gender, and ethnicity and democracy in post-Soviet Central Eurasia and in the Middle East. She is the editor and author of an extensive body of publications about feminism and democracy, women’s rights, and Islam. Nayereh is a visiting scholar at Universities of Minnesota, Iowa, Southern California, California Los Angeles and Harvard University.
Nayereh has served as a consultant for gender and development, as well as women and civil society projects with the United Nations, including work for UNICEF, ILO and UNDP. She has been involved in both the “Stop Stoning Forever Campaign” and the “One Million Signatures Campaign” for women’s rights in Iran.
Watch Nayereh talk about her work.
Meet VIOLETA KRASNIC. Violeta works at the Global Fund for Women as the Director of the Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States (ECIS).
Prior to the Global Fund, Violeta worked for WITNESS, an international rights organization which uses video as a tool for human rights advocacy. She has produced videos that have been screened at the US Congress, the State Department, the United Nations, the Council of Europe and at advocacy events worldwide.
For seven years, beginning in the early 1990s, she worked as a gender violence counselor in the former Yugoslavia. There, she organized outreach and humanitarian support services for women violence survivors, refugees, and ethnic minorities. She also organized campaigns to strengthen civil movements in protest of nationalism and war while in Yugoslavia. Violeta has worked with the Women in Black, the Autonomous Womenâs Center, and the SOS Hotline for Women and Children Victims of Violence.
Watch Violeta talk about her vision for resource mobilization for women’s organizations in the Europe/CIS region.
Meet SHARON DOLEV. SharonÂ is a Greenpeace Mediterranean Disarmament campaigner and activist. “Our message today is loud and clear,” states Sharon. “There is no place for nuclear weapons in the Middle East, which is prone to conflict to begin with. There is an immediate need for finding a way of regional discussion and agreement between the countries in the Middle-East.â
Sharon is the head of the Regional Peace Movement, which was created to support the Arab Peace Initiative. She has been a campaign organizer and activist for many years, and has worked with numerous peace, environmental and human rights organizations in Israel.
Visit http://www.nobelwomensinitiative.org/blogs/16days/post/day-7-spotlighting-sharon-dolevÂ to listen to Sharon talk about disarmament in Israel.
Meet THIN THIN AUNG. Thin Thin is a presidium board member of the Women’s League of Burma (WLB), an umbrella collective comprised of 13 democracy, women’s and human rights organizations. She is highly involved in the WLB’s International Criminal Court project, which advocates for an official Commission of Inquiry into the widespread human rights abuses perpetrated by the ruling military junta.
Thin Thin co-founded the Women’s Rights and Welfare Association of Burma to assist women refugees and their children in their new lives abroad. In 2010 Thin Thin helped co-coordinate the International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women of Burma, an event hosted by the Women’s League of Burma in tandem with the Nobel Womenâs Initiative. Despite living in exile in India for the past 20 years, she has continued to work to bring justice, accountability and democracy to her fellow Burmese citizens.
Watch Thin Thin talk about her work with the Women’s League of Burma.
Meet MA PU SEIN. She was a participant in the 2010 International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women in Burma, an event co-hosted by the Womenâs League of Burma and the Nobel Womenâs Initiative. Ma Pu Sein was featured in “This Is My Witness”, a film about the Tribunal produced by the Nobel Women’s Initiative.
Her harrowing testimony at the Tribunal recounted her experiences laboring on roads in Burma, where she was forced to endure backbreaking work under the viciously watchful eye of the junta. Worked mercilessly hard during the day, nightfall brought no refuge from the juntaâs wrath: the women laborers were terrorized nightly the soldiers, who raped and killed at will. After four years of laboring on roads, Ma Pu Sein was able to escape the country but was forced to leave her children behind. She has since been reunited with her two daughters, but the whereabouts of her son remain unknown. Ma Pu Seinâs story is a searing example of an all-too-common tale in Burma.
Watch a clip of Ma Pu Sein from the Nobel Women’s Initiative film, “This Is My Witness”.
Meet LONA JAMES ELIA. She is a Southern Sudanese activist and member of the Sudanese Women’s Empowerment for Peace (SuWEP) organization. In 1998 Lona became one of the first women to participate in peace talks between the government of Southern Sudan and the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM). She has organized numerous campaigns to raise awareness about women’s political participation, representation and childhood education.
Lona is currently working towards her PhD at the University of Ahfad for Women in Khartoum. She is writing her dissertation on women’s political participation and representation in Southern Sudan. She is also the author of the book, “My Story of a Southern Sudan Woman”.
Lona was the recipient of the 2003 Ambassador for Peace Award, given to her by the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace in recognition of her participation in peace negotiations, as well as her commitment to working across religious and tribal lines.
Day 11: Read an interview with Gilda Rivera.
Meet GILDA RIVERA. Gilda is a psychologist and the founder of the Women Rights Center in Honduras. Her past work experience has included public politics and gender studies. She has been a member of the Feministas en Resistencia (FER) since the Honduran coup dâetat on June 28, 2009.
Her work with the Womenâs Rights Centre focuses on the specific challenges that the post-coup dâetat political and cultural milieu poses for Honduran women. Gilda states that it is the âviolence in and militarization of Honduran society [which] creates an environment that fosters all types of violations of women’s human rights.â Gilda was a participant in the Nobel Womenâs Initiative 2010 International Gender Justice Dialogue event.
Meet MARIA SOLIS GARCIA. Maria is a feminist law professor and womenâs rights advocate from Guatemala. Maria is the founder of La Cuerda, an organization which fosters political partnerships with other social movements, researches in tandem with the ICC, and produces the only regular feminist publication in Guatemala. Maria has done extensive advocacy work with the ICC. She has written about sexual harassment, economic and social human rights, the ICC, labor laws, gender and health. Maria was Guatemalaâs only delegate to the Womenâs Caucus for Gender Justice and has since continued to participate in activities of this group, now known as Womenâs Initiatives for Gender Justice.
Watch Maria talk about her work with La Cuerda.
Meet NAEIMA AGABNA AWAD EL SAID. Naeima is an civil society and human rights activist from Khartoum, Sudan. She has been a member of the Sudanese Women’s Empowerment for Peace (SuWEP) organization since 1997, and serves as a peace-building and conflict resolution trainer. Naeima is the General Secretary for the Women Empowerment for Peace and Development Network (WEPD), an organization that works to facilitate the the inclusion of Sudanese women in local, regional and international peace processes.
Naeima has had extensive leadership training with the United Nations Population Fund Agency (UNPFA) and is a member of the UNPFA leadership forum. She received an award from the Dongla University of North Sudan in 2007 for her work in leadership training. Most recently, Naeima has been working in voter education in preparation for the upcoming January referendum.
Meet THAWRA STAITI. Thawra is a volunteer with Freedom Theatre in Jenin, in the West Bank of Palestine. Freedom Theatre aims to provide empowerment and healing to children and youth of the Jenin Refugee Camp whose displacement is a result of the occupation. It offers them a respite from the unstable and often violent circumstances of life as a refugee under the occupation.
Freedom Theatre allows for the children and youth to express themselves in a safe space, giving them a forum in which they can freely share their experiences and develop confidence. The project provides Jenin youth with the kind of normal, carefree childhood experience that the conditions imposed by the occupation so often deny them.
Watch Tharwa talk about her work with Freedom Theatre and their cultural exchange program.
Meet SHIRIN BATSHON-KHOURY. Shirin is a Palestinian activist who works for the Kayan Feminist Organization in Israel. The organization aims to empower Arab women in Israel and protect their rights.
The founders of Kayan felt that Arab women living in Israel experience a kind of “double-discrimination”. The Kayan Feminist Association combats thisÂ discriminationÂ with grassroots work and capacity-building to foster economic, legal and social equality for the Arab-Israeli women.
Shirin is the coordinator of Kayan’s Legal Department. She is a graduate of the Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University and has been practicing law since 2002.
Watch Shirin talk about her work with the Kayan Feminist Organization.
Meet InÃ©s FernÃ¡ndez Ortega and Valentina Rosendo CantÃº.
They are indigenous women of the Me’phaa nation from the state of Guerrero, Mexico. In 2002, members of the militia raped and tortured InÃ©s and Valentina, who were 25 and 17 at the time. Since then the two women have courageously struggled to attain justice for the crimes committed against themâall while facing hostility from their own government.
In August 2010, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that the Mexican government has violated the human rights of both InÃ©s and Valentina and denied them access to justice. Both of the womenâas well as their families and their supporters at the Organization of the Me’phaa Indigenous Nationâhave been the subject of recurring threats and harassment.
This case is an example of the common and flagrant abuse of indigenous women’s rights in Mexico.
The Nobel Women’s Initiative stands in solidarity with InÃ©s and Valentina. We call on the Mexican government to comply with the rulings of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and to ensure that InÃ©s and Valentina are consulted in the implementation of the sentences. The Nobel Women’s Initiative congratulates both women on their courage, conviction and persistence in their pursuit of justice.
InÃ©s and Valentina are leading the way in the fight for indigenous women’s rights in Mexico.