Sanam Naraghi Anderlini cached version 16/10/2018 15:13:33 en Sanam Naraghi Anderlini <div class="field field-au-term"> <div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Sanam Naraghi Anderlini </div> </div> </div> <p>Sanam Naraghi Anderlini is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the International &nbsp;Civil Society Action Network (ICAN), spearheading the spearheading the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL)</p> Sanam Naraghi Anderlini Mon, 30 Jan 2017 09:48:25 +0000 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini 108439 at Trump's slap in the face of Lady Liberty <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Will women be turned away from the UN Commission on the Status of Women, to be held in March, in New York? The world's global institutions must fight the 'Muslim Ban', starting with the United Nations.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><strong>&nbsp;<span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Crowds protest Trump's Muslim travel ban across US airports. Image: Miami Herald/TNS/ABACA ABACA/PA Images</span></span></span></strong></p> <p>On November 9th&nbsp;as the dust settled and we took in the Republican victory in the US elections, I hugged my daughter and told her, “WE will be ok. WE will be safe.” I reminded her that as a child I had lived through the Iranian revolution, where we had seen our lives upended.&nbsp; I insisted that those events – travel bans, arrests, families separated, assets frozen - would not take place in America, regardless of the rhetoric against Muslims or citizens of Muslim majority countries. &nbsp;In conversations with friends and family, who were anxious, we deployed dark humor but we did not overdo it.&nbsp; Rightly so, our sympathy lay with the undocumented women, men and children, who’d be at the mercy of the new sheriff in town.&nbsp; Compared to them, we were and are the lucky ones.&nbsp; Or so I thought. </p> <p>At 4.30 pm on January 26, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order that effectively bans the citizens of seven countries from visiting the United States.&nbsp; Iranians, Iraqis, Libyans, Syrians, Yemenis, Somalis and Sudanese who wish to travel to the US, regardless of whether they are refugees fleeing war and terror, students bringing their brilliance and talent to US universities, tourists wishing to spend their hard earned cash in the US, or parents, lovers, siblings and children hoping to visit their US based relatives, are barred.&nbsp; As they arrived at airports in the US, chaos ensued. People were arrested, interrogated, had their social media sites checked and some were deported. &nbsp;An Iraqi interpreter for the US army was cuffed for 17 hours.&nbsp; Elderly women in wheelchairs and young children were in the mix along with doctors and scientists. The US officials and Trump supporters claimed this is done for national security, but politics of the extreme right is driving this agenda. </p> <p>The initial statement was broad enough that it also dragged Green Card holders, i.e. legal permanent residents of the US into its draconian net. Even nationals of those seven countries, with other citizenship could be barred. &nbsp;For a while the silence of the UK government and others was simply deafening. Then Prime Minister Trudeau – Captain Canada – came out strongly supporting his dual citizens. Angela Merkel followed and Boris Johnson finally stated that the vast majority of UK citizens who were nationals of these seven countries were also exempt. But as of Sunday night, the US Department of Homeland Security has stated, while Green card holders would have right of entry they could be subject to ‘case-by-case’ determination.&nbsp;&nbsp; </p> <p>The outcry against this EO has been loud, proud, spontaneous and so very humane spilling out in airports across the country. The weekend’s heroes were the lawyers and judges who came out in droves and fought heroically for seemingly small but life-changing victories. They proved that the separation of powers and rule of law that are the foundations of democracy, do work.&nbsp; Judges across the country chastised the government for lacking legal grounds for barring entry to visa holders and legal residents.&nbsp; But they are small victories, as hundreds of people remain in detention. </p> <p>These events touch many of us directly as we have childhood memories of flight from revolution, war or dictatorship to new lives in the United States and Europe.&nbsp; The memory of upheaval and the fear of uncertainty may be burrowed deep in our psyches but it is never erased. Yet on election night when the Republican victory was announced, none of us imagined that those fears could be inflamed again here in the United States, where we live as legal residents or citizens.&nbsp; I did not imagine the possibility of ever again leaving my home for a 10-day trip and not being able to return for seven years, as happened when I was an 11 year old in Tehran.&nbsp; Yet these past few days that thought has crossed my mind.&nbsp; It is so unimaginable to consider packing up my home, that I dose it with humor, wondering who would water my plants and whether my children – who luckily are US citizens – would remember to take Myrtle our turtle back to their father’s home. &nbsp;</p> <p>The very thought of banning people from the United States is an anathema to the very essence and identity of this country.&nbsp; The beauty, exceptionalism and greatness of America compared to other countries, has always been its willingness to embrace and celebrate diversity and pluralism. European countries have democracy and liberty. They also have better education, infrastructure and health care.&nbsp; But they falter in their ability to fully embrace the multiculturalism that is the new norm of our world.&nbsp; America was formed and thrived on that very idea.&nbsp; If this is destroyed, than what is great about America?</p><p>Coming from a president with a history of abuse against women, it is difficult not to see it as a punch in the face for Lady Liberty. </p> <p>When America catches the flu, the world catches pneumonia – as many of my colleagues say. So it was no surprise that this EO implicates so many others – not least the beleaguered but still relevant United Nations.&nbsp; If the visa ban is issued, than the state officials and citizens of these seven countries cannot attend UN meetings in New York.&nbsp; </p> <p>Given that the first to protest profoundly against the age of Trump were America’s women, and that the annual UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is coming up in March, it is perhaps apt, that the first to also test and taste the ban will be women.&nbsp; That Yemenis, Iraqis and Syrians will be among the absentees is even more poignant. They are the invisible and unsung heroes of their countries. Through the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) which I spearhead, we know that these women are the few who dare to work for peace and equality, to provide relief and aid in the midst of war, to envision and work for the betterment of their societies in every way they can.&nbsp; They are perpetually at risk from violent armed movements and predatory governments. </p> <p>From Syria and Yemen to Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Sudan, women are at the literal frontlines of the struggle against Daesh and other extremist groups. They aren’t full of hot air and rabid rhetoric. They’re putting their own lives on the line to pull young men out of the clutches of these groups. Coming to the UN is their opportunity to inspire and show solidarity with each other, and share their expertise with the powerful states of the world.&nbsp; But herein lies the irony: &nbsp;in attempting to come to the UN – home of universal human rights &nbsp;–&nbsp;they will be barred by the extreme radicalism of one member state, that claims their exclusion is a means of preventing violent extremism.&nbsp; If Lewis Caroll were alive, he’d say the bananas are running the republic. &nbsp;</p> <p>We may be cynical about the UN, but now when so much that was built so carefully over years, is being destroyed so quickly, taking the UN for granted is a bad idea. Despite the shenanigans of many governments, the UN, in its very spirit and since its inception, has been about ‘we the people’, and rooted in the principles of the universality of human rights. &nbsp;The conferences where citizens get to meet, overcome prejudices, and convey their thoughts and solutions, are more necessary than ever in our collective history.&nbsp; The participation of women in matters of world peace and security – especially from countries affected by war and violence – is of particular and urgent importance.&nbsp; Even the crusty UN Security Council has acknowledged this, with not only the US, but also Russia and Theresa May’s UK issuing no less than eight resolutions calling for women’s full participation and representation in decision-making pertaining to war and peace.&nbsp; </p> <p>Yet the Trump administration’s EO will mean a unilateral and clearly arbitrary ban against women coming to the UN. It will be flouting the Security Council’s resolutions and thus against international law. &nbsp;Of course Mr. Trump’s coterie are also sharpening their knives against the entire United Nations infrastructure. And those who know the new President say his style of leadership is to create conflict among those around him. When he was a CEO it was among his own staff. Now he is president, it will be to pit one country against the other. </p> <p>António Guterres, the new UN Secretary-General – already much respected and with tremendous responsibility and expectation on his shoulders – has enough on his plate. But neither Guterres nor the UN General Assembly can stand in silence now that the EO is passed.&nbsp; It is an early warning sign of worse things to come, for the US and the world. </p> <p>Here in the US, individually and through our civic organizations, we continue to fight back. We understand that living in America – even as non-citizens –&nbsp;&nbsp;is about standing up for our own rights, while respecting those of others. It is advanced citizenship, like none other, with deep roots in the rule of law.&nbsp; But since January 20th, the rule of bad law is being seeded. We cannot let it take root and become normalized. &nbsp;And when the impact goes beyond the borders of the US, the world’s global institutions need to take a stand.&nbsp;</p><p>So, on behalf of ‘we the peoples’, it is time for the United Nations to also stand against the so-called Muslim Ban, and to do so, before it is too late.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/soraya-chemaly/under-trump-we-are-all-women">Under Trump, we are all women </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/meredith-tax/sound-trumpet">Sound the Trumpet </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/ch-ramsden/after-london-womens-march-what-now">After the Women&#039;s March on London: what now? </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/lisa-davis-yifat-susskind/standing-our-ground-at-un-commission-on-status-of-women-csw">Standing our ground at the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> United States </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 United States Civil society Democracy and government Understanding the rise of Trump 50.50 Women Human Rights Defenders 50.50 Women, Peace & Security Gender and the UN UN Commission on the Status of Women 50.50 People on the Move patriarchy feminism 50.50 newsletter Sanam Naraghi Anderlini Mon, 30 Jan 2017 09:43:21 +0000 Sanam Naraghi Anderlini 108438 at Hopes and fears: Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <ul><li>With the <a href="">Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict</a> taking place in London, Sanam Naraghi Anderlini questions the presence of government officials from countries with dubious track records, and says ministers should take the advice of women who are most at risk and already working at the frontlines to end all sexual violence.<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:DoNotOptimizeForBrowser ></w> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--></li></ul> </div> </div> </div> <p>On June 10th the UK’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, will preside over the opening of the first <a href="">global summit</a> on preventing sexual violence in conflict. Mr. Hague became committed to this agenda after seeing Angelina Jolie’s film <a href=""><em>The land of Blood and Honey</em></a> about the horrors of sexual violence that militias and armies perpetrated during the Bosnian conflict of the 1990s. Mr Hague and Ms Jolie joined forces to launch the <a href=" ">Prevention of Sexual Violence Initiative</a> (PSVI) in 2012, with a UN Declaration of Commitment to Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict.</p><p class="western">Over 151 countries have signed up to the commitment. This week, thousands of activists, government officials and others, mostly women, are streaming into London to contribute to this effort. Mr Hague hopes they will suggest practical actions to improve investigation and prosecution of sexual crimes in wartime, ensure better care for victims, and ultimately end sexual violence in war. </p> <p class="western">Those of us in the international civil society movements who are directly supporting women’s participation in peace and security, and women’s rights and protection, recognize the value of a senior statesman and a movie star fronting this agenda. We are nonetheless concerned that the focus is exclusively on war-related sexual crimes, and we have often said that the prevention and cessation of war itself is the best means of preventing sexual and other forms of violence. We know (and research shows) that having a civil society that is committed to peace at the ‘peace table’ is one of the most effective means of ending wars. So let us see this being put into practice in places where peace processes exist.</p> <p class="western">We know these issues are complex, and that it takes collective action to bring real change, that’s why we continue to support the effort. But there are limits. The engagement of certain countries with bad track records on addressing violence against women puts the very credibility of this campaign at risk. </p> <p class="western">Mr Hague lauded the government of Nigeria for joining his campaign. Yet the Nigerian government and army have dragged their feet in rescuing the 247 girls kidnapped by the militant group Boko Haram. While the girls remain missing, media reports are <a href=" ">linking</a> some members of the Nigerian military to Boko Haram. </p> <p class="western">Pakistan has also joined the campaign. Yet, a young pregnant woman was <a href="">stoned to death</a> recently outside a courthouse in Lahore. Her husband, it now appears, had strangled his first wife with impunity, because he wanted to marry the second wife. In another case, the police in Lahore gang raped a young woman who appeared at their police station to lodge a complaint about being gang raped. </p> <p>The US is also enthusiastically joining in, even though there were <a href="">5,061 reported cases</a> of sexual assault <a href="">within its own military </a>just last year. Even in the UK, the police are being <a href="">questioned</a> for referring fewer cases to the courts, despite increases in rape reports.</p> <p class="western">If we really want to prevent sexual violence in conflict, governments need to prove themselves by starting in their own backyards, with their own police and security forces, judiciaries and in the communities. It is an insult to the women and girls of these countries to see their political leaders applauded in London for promising to take action in the future in their capacities as international peacekeepers, while today the reality on the ground is often one of <a href="">impunity and inaction</a>. This is all the more disturbing given that it is the military, police forces and private security companies of many Western countries that train the police and military of conflict affected countries. </p> <p class="western">For years, states have made pledges, drafted protocols, and assumed that words on paper will translate into action on the ground for the protection of women and girls. The <a href="">Universal Declaration of Human Rights</a> was written more than 60 years ago, yet its promise remains unfulfilled. The <a href="">Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women</a> (CEDAW) was drafted in 1979. Although 187 countries have ratified it, discrimination, including violence against women, is rampant. <a href="">UN Security Council Resolution 1325</a> on women, peace and security was adopted unanimously in 2000 as the first Security Council resolution to address women’s rights, participation, and protection in conflict. Since then, the Council has passed six subsequent resolutions on the topic, and acknowledged that sexual violence is a threat to peace and security. But those words have not helped the women or men of the Central African Republic, or Syria, or any other conflict affected country. </p> <p class="western">Impunity and apathy, rather than action, remains the reality around the world. If Mr Hague wants to make a difference he needs to take a different tack. First, there should be standards of practice and criteria that countries must meet before they are included in this campaign. The starting point may include fewer countries, but the states that make the grade would truly deserve recognition. </p> <p class="western">Second, civil society in all countries should be a critical partner in the venture. One step would be for civil society organizations with a track record and commitment to the prevention of violence and defence of rights to agree on protocols with the security forces and the judiciary, which unfortunately are often playing a role in perpetuating the impunity problem. These protocols could lay out how these entities would prevent sexual violence, protect and assist victims, and enforce standards and accountability within their own ranks. Local organizations can play an important watchdog role to ensure that these commitments are fulfilled. They can also help determine which existing practices are effective or need improvement. From Asia to Africa and beyond, women-led civil society organizations are already doing this work. The Summit should provide a space where ministers listen and take their advice. At the very least the outcomes and protocols should be deliberated on collectively by government and civil society. </p> <p class="western">Whatever happens in London this week, I hope that we won’t be subjected to yet another back slapping summit finale where government bureaucrats proudly claim to protect and empower women, while the women who are fighting this fight on the frontlines – often at huge personal risk- remain excluded and marginalized from the protocol being drafted and decisions made on their behalf. I also hope Mr Hague has the courage of his convictions to challenge the governments of Pakistan, Nigeria and other countries that have joined the campaign, yet have done little or nothing to address the issues at hand. There is a particular callousness among those who claim to care, yet do nothing and stifle dissent. </p> <p class="western">The women who are most at risk and already working at the frontlines should have a prominent role in determining the credibility of states’ commitments and actions, and the success of this initiative. If not, Mr Hague’s summit will be little more than an extravagant PR exercise. Worse than that, he may inadvertently be harming those who are courageously working for peace, and combating violence on the ground, and slighting the very people he wants to help. </p><p class="western"><em>Read <a href="">more articles</a> addressing the issue of sexual violence </em>on openDemocracy <a href="">50.50</a></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/madeleine-rees/sexual-violence-access-to-justice-and-human-rights">Sexual violence, access to justice, and human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/jennifer-allsopp-jessica-nhkum/daring-to-speak-militarism-and-women%E2%80%99s-human-rights-in-burma">Daring to speak: militarism and women’s human rights in Burma</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/julienne-lusenge-jennifer-allsopp/we-want-peace-we%E2%80%99re-tired-of-war">&quot;We want peace. 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