Inside Israel’s campaign to deport tens of thousands of African migrants

 

African migrants from Eritrea and elsewhere could face indefinite detention if they choose to stay.

EL AVIV, Israel — Father Tesfayohanns Tesfamariam has always prayed his way through the darkest days. Growing up in Eritrea — a small East African country run by one of the world’s most brutal dictatorships — he prayed to God to find freedom.

When he fled Eritrea, as tens of thousands of others have to escape the slavery-like military conscription there, he prayed for God’s protection. When he was then trapped by human traffickers and tortured by smugglers in Libya and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula — the physical and psychological wounds from which are still raw today — he prayed for the strength to survive.

When the priest made it across the border into Israel in 2010, he prayed that he would finally be safe.

And Tesfamariam, 44, was relatively safe, for eight years. Many people don’t know it, but Israel — home to the world’s largest Jewish community — also houses an estimated 40,000 African refugees who started arriving in the country en masse in the mid-2000s to escape war, economic hardship, and persecution.

In the southern part of Tel Aviv, Israel’s vibrant commercial capital, African food stands are a common sight. The streets echo with many languages, including Tigrinya, which many people speak in Eritrea, and Arabic, which is spoken in Sudan.

But all of that may soon change because of Israel’s new, and deeply controversial, push to rid the country of its African asylum seekers. Israel says they are economic migrants that the Jewish state can’t and shouldn’t have to care for; critics say Israel’s moves violate international law by denying legitimate asylum claims and deporting people to countries where they’ll be unsafe again.

This month, Israel started issuing deportation orders that present a bleak choice: take $3,500 and leave — or face imprisonment. The issue has divided Israelis as well as the larger Jewish community; some argue that Israel’s identity as a refuge for persecuted Jews should extend to non-Jewish asylum seekers as well.

The problem for Tesfamariam is that a majority of Israelis seem to support the government push to deport the Africans. Sixty-six percent of Jewish Israelis (and half of Israeli Arabs, who make up 20 percent of Israel’s population) favor the deportation plans, according to a late January poll by the Israel Democracy Institute.

It’s part of a worldwide wave of anti-immigrant fervor that is playing out in dozens of countries ranging from smaller places like Hungary to larger powers like the US.

The stakes extend well beyond Tesfamariam and his community of Eritrean refugees. If Israel continues to deport Africans, it will be another sign of how the Jewish state is solidifying a more right-wing nationalist identity and an increasingly closed conception of who belongs and deserves rights.

But if asylum seekers and activist groups in Israel succeed in blocking the effort, it could rejuvenate the more liberal parts of Israel’s civil society that have struggled to build broad enough coalitions for nationwide change. In the meantime, Tesfamariam — and tens of thousands of Africans — are waiting and watching to see which way the country goes.

“They have no idea what is waiting for them on the other side,” he said in a hushed voice.

A country created to take in persecuted Jews is struggling with how to take in persecuted Africans

In Europe last year, about 90 percent of the tens of thousands of Eritreans who applied for asylum were allowed in. In Israel, just 10 Eritreans and one Sudanese person have received asylum since 2009.

That reflects how Israel — a country built to be a refuge for Jews fleeing persecution — is struggling to develop its own policies toward non-Jews seeking asylum amid fears of losing its Jewish majority.

Instead, the country’s law classifies the mainly Eritreans and Sudanese who have crossed over from Egypt in recent years as “infiltrators” — a term first used in the 1950s to refer to Palestinians who would infiltrate from the then-Jordanian-controlled West Bank to attack Israel.

This wave of Africans have been trying to make their way into Israel since about 2006, and by 2012, roughly 60,000 Africans had succeeded. That influx largely ended around 2013, when Israel completed construction of a wall along its southern border with Egypt.

But the wall didn’t fix the question of what to do with the Africans who were already there. So Israel developed different policies along the way, making life harder and harder for those who stayed in an effort to coerce them into leaving, according to Human Rights Watch.

“These [methods] include indefinite detention, obstacles to accessing Israel’s asylum system, the rejection of 99.9 percent of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum claims, ambiguous policies on being allowed to work, and severely restricted access to healthcare,” a 2014 HRW report found.

Over the years, new laws have meant more paperwork and rules that people have to follow to avoid being deported. In 2013, Israel built Holot, an open-air detention center in the south for men; those who didn’t report when summoned could be imprisoned or deported. (In 2015, Israel’s supreme court ruled that African refugees and migrants could only be held there for 12 months.)

Last year, Israel enacted new legislation adding an extra tax on the salaries of asylum seekers, most of whom were already working menial and low-paying jobs. (Asylum seekers aren’t technically supposed to work, but the government allows it in some circumstances.) The law made it more expensive for employers to hire asylum seekers and created a new fund where 20 percent of each person’s monthly salary is set aside — to be accessed only once they’ve left Israel.

This last part is crucial: The government is using money to pressure people to leave — a process that human rights groups say violates international law because they’re being sent to countries that can’t ensure their safety.

A few years ago, Israel started offering asylum seekers $5,000 and a plane ticket to undisclosed countries in Africa, widely known to be Rwanda and Uganda. The Israeli government denies that it is deporting anyone against their will and insists that Rwanda and Uganda, with which Israel has warming ties, are safe.

But Africans who have taken the money and left Israel, and human rights groups that have monitored what happens next, warn that the reality is quite different. Once in Rwanda or Uganda, the asylum seekers have had their money and paperwork stolen and have often become ensnared in human trafficking.

In one particularly brutal case, at least three Eritreans who left Israel and then tried their luck on the migrant trail to Europe were beheaded by ISIS in Libya in 2015; relatives recognized their faces from pictures and videos ISIS posted online.

About 20,000 Africans have left Israel in recent years, according to the Israeli government.

In February, Israel began issuing deportation orders to some people renewing their visas, giving them 60 days to take the money and leave or be imprisoned. The government says that for now it is only deporting single men who had open asylum applications as of the start of 2018.

But African refugees of all nationalities, including the estimated 6,000 children who have been born in Israel, are scared for their future.

Israel is the latest country to adopt harshly anti-immigrant policies

The debate over what to do about Israel’s asylum seekers has divided the country and Jewish communities in America and raised larger questions about Israel’s identity and Jewish values.

On one side is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — Israel’s veteran kingpin currently battling several corruption cases — who has blamed Africans for crime in Israel and stirred up his voter base by using racially charged language and promising to deport the asylum seekers. He’s backed by members of his far-right ruling coalition, including culture and sports minister Miri Regev, who has likened the Africans to “a cancer.”

This summer, Netanyahu toured the southern part of Tel Aviv, where the government initially sent Africans to live, and promised its Israeli residents that the government would “give back” the area. Some of southern Tel Aviv’s Jewish residents, many of whose families were immigrants to Israel only decades ago, have been organizing against the growing African community in the neighborhood. (Men who have served time in Holot are legally banned from living in Tel Aviv, though many do anyway, as it’s easier to find work there.)

Israeli politicians may not see much to gain in today’s coalitions by speaking out against the deportations. But a determined sector of Israelis in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv is organizing against it by drawing on the Jewish people’s own history of repression and the Holocaust that preceded Israel’s creation.

Rabbis both in Israel and abroad have signed petitions opposing the plan and pledging to hide Africans in their homes to prevent their deportation — citing Anne Frank’s story as precedent. Pilots from Israel’s national airline, El Al, have called for a boycott of flights with deportees (a gesture activists lauded, though they then pointed out that El Al isn’t actually chartering those flights). On February 24, an estimated 20,000 Israelis joined Eritreans for a solidarity march through southern Tel Aviv.

At a protest in Jerusalem in February, one of the organizers, 18-year-old Omer Leven, told me he’d been moved to stand up against the deportations because “we have to do something about it.” As in similar events, Israelis at the rally chanted in defense of human and refugee rights and accused the government of racism.

Some of the slogans, like “human rights for all” or “racist government, don’t deport the refugees” were reminiscent of chants at protests against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories — an issue that’s all but taboo to talk about in mainstream Israel circles today.

Leven, who wants to be a combat soldier during his mandatory military service, said he sees the two issues as very different. “We decided that what we are doing here has nothing to do with politics,” he said. “It’s about basic human rights.”

African refugees are fighting to preserve their new lives in Israel

African refugees in Israel have been living for years with talk of deportations. Humor sometimes helps people cope with those fears: Some Eritreans now joke when making plans with friends that they should hang out “before they deport us.”

Others are buckling under the pressure. Israel has never been an easy place for single Eritrean men, who, after surviving the perilous trek to Israel, have struggled to get by with low-paying work and without social and familial ties.

Fed up and without hope, some have taken the money to leave, and others say they’d rather leave than face jail. Earlier this month, hundreds of African asylum seekers in Holot started a hunger strike after seven men there were transferred to the nearby Saharonim Prison for refusing to be deported.

But now a new generation of Eritrean activists across Israel is working to organize coalitions against the deportations, educate community members about their rights and what awaits them, and make sure people’s paperwork is up to date.

One of those activists is 29-year-old Teklit Michael, who was once one of the fastest runners in Eritrea until he fled to avoid military and religious persecution. Today he’s constantly fielding interview requests amid his full-time job as a coordinator at a center for embattled Eritreans.

“The people deported to Rwanda and Uganda have no protection,” Michael told me. “They could face torture and slavery.”

Tesfamariam, the priest, understands why many in the community are now angry and scared after years trying to rebuild their lives amid all the uncertainty in Israel.

“Nobody hears their cries,” he said.

Tesfamariam works at a nondescript Eritrean church in Tel Aviv without drawing a salary; he moonlights as a plumber to earn enough money to pay his rent. He told me that he’s willing to go to jail rather than leave the country, but he worries about what will happen to others who choose to take the money to leave Israel.

In Libya, his torturers targeted him for being a Christian; he’s worried that the Eritreans in his community, too, will face further danger if they fall back into the hands of human traffickers.

In the meantime, he’s keeping the faith that God will provide. His source of strength is his church, known for its opposition to the Eritrean government. A decade ago, the Eritrean government arrested the head of the Eritrean Orthodox Church, put him under house arrest, and targeted church members who didn’t accept his replacement. Tesfamariam and Michael were among those who never did. Now they can worship freely here, in exile in southern Tel Aviv. It’s all that Tesfamariam has to depend on after everything that’s passed.

“This church serves the people who have become victims,” said Tesfamariam, taking a break from early morning Saturday prayer to speak to me. “We have to stand with our people. We have to stand with the victims.”

 

Miriam Berger is a freelance journalist with a focus on people and politics in the Middle East. She is currently based in Jerusalem.

 

By            :               Miriam Berger

Date         :               March 6, 2018

Source     :               VOX

https://www.vox.com/world/2018/3/6/17059744/israel-deport-african-migrants-asylum

Posted in Gender and Human Rights, Latest Post | Leave a comment

‘Unequal Realities’ Hold Back Rural Women, Says UN On Eve of Women’s Confab

 

In the run up to International Women’s Day on March 8, the United Nations is renewing its call for concrete actions to address the plight of rural women who make up over a quarter of the world population yet are being left behind in every measure of development.

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is: “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives”. This will also be the focus of the 62nd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from March 12 to 23.

This year’s International Women’s Day comes on the heels of an unprecedented global movement for women’s rights, equality and justice. This has taken the form of global marches and campaigns, including #MeToo and #TimesUp in the U.S. and their counterparts in other countries, on issues ranging from sexual harassment and femicide to equal pay and women’s political representation

UN Women Executive Director and Under-Secretary-General Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka applauded a new era for women displaying “a remarkable gathering of strength, speaking with one voice, calling for opportunity and accountability, drawing momentum from grassroots networks and coalitions that stretch right up to government leadership.”

But rural women, “face unequal day-to-day realities because of entrenched socio-cultural norms and practices. There is an urgent need to step up efforts with concrete actions (to) fulfil the commitments made to rural women in Africa,” noted the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA).

“Rural women account for a substantial proportion of the agricultural labour force,” affirmed a research and documentation centre in Nigeria. “Yet they lack access to agricultural inputs and finance, they have less than 14 percent land holding rights, while culture, tradition and discriminatory laws deny women equal access to government programs at national and state levels.”

In Nigeria, over 90 percent of land is held and controlled by men while women as wives or daughters in many communities have little control over such lands, added Mimido Akchapa of Women Rights to Education (WREP) of Benue, Nigeria.

“They continue to suffer in silence due to discrimination on the basis of gender and not because they have less strength or intelligence to perform rural activities in the agricultural value chain,” the Benue women’s group said. “This has negative implications for basic food production and the eradication of poverty.”

UN Secretary General António Guterres said in a message ahead of the International Women’s Day: “Let me be clear: this is not a favour to women. Gender equality is a human rights issue, but it is also in all our interests: men and boys, women and girls.”

He added: “There is ample evidence that investing in women is the most effective way to lift communities, companies, and even countries. Women’s participation makes peace agreements stronger, societies more resilient and economies more vigorous.”

At this crucial moment for women’s rights, he said, it is time for men to stand with women, listen to them and learn from them. “Transparency and accountability are essential if women are to reach their full potential and lift all of us, in our communities, societies and economies.”

 

By            :               Lisa Vives (Global Information Network)

Source     :               https://www.indepthnews.net/index.php/sustainability/gender-equality/1719-unequal-realities-hold-back-rural-women-says-un-on-eve-of-women-s-confab

Posted in Gender and Human Rights, Latest Post | Leave a comment

U.S. Gun Violence Draws Scorn in China as a Human Rights Issue

 

HONG KONG — A newspaper controlled by the Communist Party of China criticized the United States for its high level of gun violence, calling it hypocritical that a country that condemns others over human rights violations is failing to stem such slaughter at home.

The opinion column in The Global Times, which is run by the Communist Party’s People’s Daily Group, said that after a gunman killed 17 people last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., the United States should look to China, which has strict controls on guns.

“It’s inhumane for the U.S., which boasts about its human rights record, to turn a blind eye to gun violence, snub increasing calls for gun control and risk more innocent lives,” the piece said.

The column on guns appeared Friday in the English-language edition of the newspaper, but not in the Chinese print version. While The Global Times is controlled by the Communist Party, it is not an authoritative voice, meaning its pugnacious opinion pieces don’t necessarily reflect the views of the Chinese government in the way a commentary in The People’s Daily would.

Still, the view that guns are a human rights issue in the United States is regularly stated by official sources in China. China’s annual report on human rights in the United States, which it issues in response to the State Department’s reports on China’s human rights situation, usually mentions gun violence.

“In 2016, the U.S. government exercised no effective control over guns, law enforcement departments abused their power, and crimes were not effectively contained,” said the most recent report on human rights in the United States from China’s State Council Information Office. “As a result, civil rights, especially the right to life, were seriously threatened and people’s personal rights were continuously infringed upon.”

The Global Times regularly covers gun violence in the United States, publishing a commentary after the deadly shootings at a church in Texas in November and a lengthy analysis after the Orlando, Fla., nightclub killings in 2016.

“Gun ownership in China is strictly regulated, which helps reduce gun-related crimes and deaths,” the latest commentary said. “The U.S. should learn from China and genuinely protect human rights.”

While China has tight controls on firearms and gun crimes are rare, shootings with illegal firearms do sometimes happen. Knives are the most common weapon used in attacks, leaving unarmed people better able to defend themselves. On Feb. 11 a man with a knife attacked shoppers at a Beijing mall, killing one person and injuring 12 others. Some shoppers and one security guard were seen fending of the assailant with stools and chairs.

Terrorist attacks on civilians have sometimes been carried out in China by groups armed with knives, including an attack on a train station in Kunming that killed 31 people in 2014.

The killings at Stoneman Douglas High School occurred just as China prepared to celebrate the Lunar New Year, and as a result weren’t widely covered or discussed by the Chinese news media. Some Chinese outlets, including the overseas edition of The People’s Daily, did make note of the death of Peter Wang, a Chinese-American student who was credited with holding open a door to help students flee as the attacker fired.

Mr. Wang, 15, was born in Brooklyn and spent some of his childhood in China, friends and family told The Miami Herald. He was a Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadet who dreamed of one day attending the United States Military Academy at West Point. The academy issued him a ceremonial letter of acceptance, saying his actions showed commitment to “duty, honor and country.”

 

 

By            :               Austin Ramzy

Date         :               February 23, 2018

Source     :               The New York Times

Posted in Gender and Human Rights, Latest Post | Leave a comment

How Removal of Immigrant Fathers Harms the Sexual Health and Wellbeing of their daughters

 

By        :           Kate Coleman-Minahan, University of Colorado College of Nursing, Goleen Samari, University of California San Francisco

U.S.-born Mariela, now 31, described her Mexican immigrant father as “an awesome dad.” But he was deported when she was 11 years old, just beginning her adolescent years. After her mother remarried, Mariela described her new stepfather as strict. “He wouldn’t let us talk to our dad so it was hard because at that point, I was already like 12 or 13. And obviously my dad to me was everything.” She continued, “My mom and my stepdad were kind of strict with me. I think that’s one of the reasons that I kind of got married early was not just because, obviously because I love my husband, but I also wanted to get out of the house.” By age 14, Mariela was sneaking out and had sex for the first time. She married at 15 and was pregnant by 17.

Our research explores the quality of father-daughter relationships among Mexican-origin immigrant families and examines how relationships between fathers and daughters influence early sexual initiation. We analyzed data about 398 Mexican-origin young women in the 1994-2008 National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, and from face-to-face interviews with 21 Mexican-origin women recruited by immigrant-serving organizations. Families are multigenerational and immigration policies that keep families intact can improve the health of both children and parents. Social policies that keep families together and economic policies that give families access to safe and productive employment have direct implications for children and adolescents. The exploitation of immigrants and policies that cause family separation undermine the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents.

Father-Daughter Relationships among Mexican Immigrants

Daughters who participated in our interviews usually described relationships with their fathers in positive terms – and a number of participants referred to themselves as “daddy’s little girl.” Fathers were described as sacrificing for the family by working hard for long hours. They were said to be engaged in their daughters’ education, providing love and affection. Like relationships in all families regardless of ethnicity and immigration status, these relationships included moments of frustration and disappointment. Yet, with their own words, daughters refuted stereotypes that paint Mexican immigrant fathers as sexist and emotionally unavailable.

The minority of daughters who reported emotionally distant or hostile relationships frequently described fathers who worked long grueling hours and faced economic exploitation at their jobs. “Survival parenting” may be more profound among immigrant families who lack resources such as housing subsidies and food stamps, and work in jobs where they deal with wage theft, mandatory and unpaid overtime, and exposure to occupational hazards. Such working conditions drain time and energy that immigrant parents might otherwise spend with their children.

Family Separations Increase the Risk of Early Sexual Initiation

Although the U.S. teen birth rate has been decreasing, Latina adolescents have the highest birth rates in the country. Early sexual initiation increases the risk of teen pregnancies and births, and adolescents in low-income families and those who are separated from a parent are at higher risk for early sexual initiation. Regardless of family income, race, or ethnicity, all adolescents need supportive family environments to support their growth and sexual health decision-making.

Notably, our study finds that positive relationships between fathers and daughters are associated with a later age of the daughter’s sexual initiation. Characteristics of good father-daughter relationships – sacrificing for the family, encouraging academic success, and providing emotional support – may help adolescents delay sex. We also find that separating fathers from daughters increases the risk of early sexual initiation. Prior studies have documented that supportive fathers can protect against risky sexual behavior, even when fathers do not live with their children. But these studies only include U.S.-born families and do not consider the extra strain for fathers and daughters who are separated by national borders. Close relationships are difficult to maintain when children cannot regularly see their parent.

Deportations of supportive fathers without criminal records are on the rise. Will this lead to more risky sexual behavior and sexually transmitted infections and teen births? One of our participants was born in Mexico, migrated to the U.S. when she was three, and is now a U.S. citizen with a degree in political science. When asked what she thought of the high Latina teen birth rate she replied, “…more than anything else, I think it starts with the family. And for those girls who don’t have that… usually the males get deported before the females, the dads get deported. So what’s going to happen with these girls? Is that going to make… [adolescent births] triple?”

Improving Father-Daughter Relationships and Adolescent Health

Immigration reforms such as the DREAM Act that promote family reunification can improve adolescent health, including reducing risky sexual behaviors in three ways:

Protecting parents from deportation means that families stay intact – and fewer separations of parents from their children means lower risks to the health and wellbeing of children and adolescents.

Fewer families will live in fear if there are legislated protections for undocumented parents and children. Fear of deportation has negative health consequences for children and adolescents, because fear increases anxiety and depression and may lead to poor school performance.

Immigration reform that allows and promotes legal employment can prevent workplace exploitation, including wage theft or exposure to occupational hazards. Healthy parents with more time at home can better parent their children.

Strong families are valued by Americans regardless of political party. Immigration reform that protects families – not just children – is crucial to the wellbeing of young people and parents. In turn, strong families reinforce America’s social fabric and boost the economy for everyone.

 

Read more in Kate Coleman-Minahan and Goleen Samari, “‘He Supported Me 100%’: Mexican-Immigrant Fathers, Daughters, and Adolescent Sexual Health” Ethnicity & Health 23 (2018).

 

Source: http://www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org/brief/how-removal-immigrant-fathers-harms-sexual-health-and-wellbeing-their-daughters

Posted in Gender and Human Rights, Latest Post | Leave a comment

How the global women’s movement shaped the UN international development agenda

 

Amid conservative backlash against women’s rights, how did feminist advocates ensure that the sustainable development goals focused on gender equality?

Women’s rights are under attack around the globe, with progress threatened in many countries. Yet feminist organisations continue to fight back, mobilising and forming new alliances. At this challenging moment, much can be learned from the success of the global women’s movement which profoundly influenced the United Nations’ current international development agenda.

Agreed in 2015 by 193 governments, this agenda guides global development policies, programs, and financing until 2030. Its 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) and 169 targets focus on challenges including poverty, climate change, world peace, and gender equality. Unlike the previous millennium development goals, women’s rights underpin much of this agenda.

Amid conservative backlash against women’s rights, how did feminist advocates ensure that the SDGs focused on gender equality and other issues critically important to women? What strategies did the women’s movement use to influence this agenda?

Last year, the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) published a study – “Power Lessons: Women’s Advocacy and the 2030 Agenda” – on precisely these questions. Along with a related, short film, it documents and reflects on the years of analysis, coordination, alliance-building, and engagement with policy-makers that went into shaping the agreement.

UN negotiations have challenging, fast-paced dynamics and are often New York-based, limiting the participation of small and local women’s rights groups particularly in the Global South. This is one of the challenges that the Women’s Major Group (WMG) – a coalition of more than 600 women’s organisations and networks from around the world – sought to tackle.

The group, which is the focus of IWHC’s study, restructured its leadership to include regional representation, and raised money for women from the Global South to travel to attend the SDG talks. Online organising enabled virtual participation. One WMG member said: “It became easy because people felt included and valued for their contributions.”

The WMG also brought together activists and organisations working across different issues and representing diverse peoples. They embraced others’ concerns, learning from each others’ areas of expertise. One participant said: “This is the story of the beauty of engaging more and more organisations and seeing what the added value is and how different people of different networks work.”

More than three years before the 2030 agenda was finalised, women’s groups held regional and global strategy meetings to start linking issues, prioritising demands, and developing clear, unified positions.

“The women’s movement pulled something off which a lot of people would have thought wasn’t possible, which was to actually develop one single common platform of women’s rights,” said another participant. “It covered every single issue that we knew was in play. That was extremely hard to do.”

The WMG also skillfully mapped allies in government and UN agencies, and developed technical language for negotiators to use in talks. “We talked to every government that was present in these negotiations to say, ‘This is what we want, and this is why it’s so important,’” said one member.

Lessons we can draw from this experience include: the significance of building transparent and inclusive structures and processes; organising early; prioritising demands; developing clear, unified positions; identifying champions; building relationships; and putting persistent pressure on decision-makers.

Of course, the women’s movement also faced a number of challenges. The IWHC study for instance identified fierce opposition on sexual and reproductive rights, as well as resistance to progressive demands related to global financial structures and systems.

Women’s groups had to balance bold demands with political pragmatism – working within the boundaries of what governments might realistically accept, while still pushing the agenda as far as possible. Despite continual fundraising, limited budgets were an ongoing constraint.

Women described solidarity and advocacy on the SDGs as an example of what can happen when feminist organisations come together to use a political opportunity to fight for rights and social justice. The impact they had shows the power and necessity of strong women’s rights movements.

The 2030 agenda is not perfect. But gender equality is woven throughout its goals and targets.

Amid volatile geopolitics and narrowing space for civil society, feminist advocates will need to sustain the intersectional approach they took to influence the SDGs. Inevitably, governments will “cherry pick” the most politically expedient goals and targets to focus on.

Some states are already backtracking on critical issues, such as sexual and reproductive health and rights, property rights, and challenges to the economic status quo globally and nationally.

At the same time, some governments are taking action and reallocating funds, showing political will to implement the SDGs. Feminists should take advantage of such opportunities and push to ensure that the goals are realised.

They must continue to work together, champion each other’s issues, and monitor SDG implementation at the local level. In the words of one advocate: “We’ve built our solidarity in ways that others haven’t… we should recognise that, and figure out how to sustain that power.”

 

 

By            :               Michelle Truong and Susan Wood

Date         :               March 6, 2018

Source     :               Open Democracy

https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/michelle-truong-susan-wood/global-womens-movement-un-development-agenda

Posted in Gender and Human Rights, Latest Post | Leave a comment
  • Youtube Channel