April Funding Opportunities—Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence Against Women and Girls

Opportunities opening this month—through the South African National Research Foundation,  the Global Women’s Institute, the Sexual Violence Research Initiative, the Netherlands Accountability Fund, and the Women Deliver’s 4th Global Conference—are listed at the link below and may be of interest to researchers and activists promoting the rights of women and girls. See: http://www.endvawnow.org/en/events

ANZAC Day

Many important developments await being written into my blog—issues I will look forward to commenting on when I return to work on May 7th. I must comment, even though on leave, that I was able to enjoy moving ANZAC day events in Queensland and reflect deeply on what it means to be Australian. May we all do our bit to grow and share the ANZAC spirit over the forthcoming year.

From April 14th through April 16th I will be attending the 2016 5th South East Asian Symposium

For more information on the symposium see:

http://projectsoutheastasia.com/

I will be focussing on attending the South East Asia Strategic Forum on Women, Business, and Economic Growth in South East Asia—which tackles gender equality. For more information on the strategic forum component of the Symposium see:

Southeast Asia Strategic Forum

The UK Parliament’s Select Committee on Sexual Violence in Conflict today released the report: “Sexual Violence in Conflict: A War Crime”

The long awaited report, attached below, is a welcome contribution in the area of gender violence and conflict. It details: UK policy and legislation; human rights and prevention initiatives; the women’s participation agenda; tools for responding to victims and survivors; accountability and justice issues. In addition, the issue of UN peace keeper perpetration of sexual violence is tackled—followed by an outline of the UK government’s approach to the problem.

There is a wealth of empirical evidence annexed including an account of the Committee’s visits to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. An independent evidence volume is available to download from the Committee’s website. This is an important work for practitioners to cross reference against—augmenting international policy stacks and reporting in this area.

Sexual Violence in Conflict—A War Crime

A papal message to the April 7 UN conference discussing modern slavery and human trafficking

Organized by the Santa Marta Group, an alliance of international police chiefs and bishops from around the world working together with civil society in a process to eradicate human trafficking and modern day slavery, the conference received the following message from his Holiness (sent to Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Holy See’s permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York):

“I extend greetings to you and to all those gathered to discuss the grave issue of modern slavery and human trafficking, which continues to be a scourge throughout the world today. I am grateful to you and the members of the “Santa Marta Group” for your efforts in organizing this conference, and to the Member States and various governmental, civic and religious organizations committed to combatting this crime against humanity. As you reflect on the multifaceted issues which contribute to modern slavery and human trafficking. I encourage you to strengthen the bonds of cooperation and communication which are essential to ending the suffering of the many men, women and children who today are enslaved and sold as if they were a mere commodity. In this way, solutions and preventative measures can be promoted which will allow this evil to be addressed at every level of society. In your discussions, I hope also that you will keep before you the dignity of every person, and recognize in all your endeavours a true service to the poorest and most marginalized of society, who too often are forgotten and have no voice. In assuring you and all present of the steadfast commitment of the Catholic Church to fight against this crime and to care for all its victims, I offer the promise of my prayers that Almighty God may bless and guide your efforts.

With gratitude for your valued assistance, I am  yours sincerely in Christ

Franciscus PP.”

Should there be a centralised EU asylum system? Non-binding EU resolution calls for overhaul of the Dublin rules

Drafted by Roberta Metsola (EPP, MT) and Kashetu Kyenge (S&D, IT) an EU resolution acknowledging the failure of the system under intensifying pressure, and calling for a radical overhaul of the so called Dublin rules has been approved: 459 votes for and 206 against with 52 abstentions.

Ms Metsola commented that “There is no quick fix for migration, no magic silver bullet. We do not need more emergency solutions, we need a sustainable approach for the future”; Ms Kyenge added that “Migration should not be combatted, it should be managed”.

The EU reported that of the 106,000 asylum seekers in need of reassignment from Italy and Greece to other EU countries only a minimal number have passed through the process.