Peace in action: A look at women’s groups addressing armed violence

Tasneem Jamal Armed Conflicts, Defence & Human Security

The Ploughshares Monitor Spring 2012 Volume 33 Issue 1

Gun-Free Kitchen Tables, Israel
GFKT demands enforcement of an already existing Israeli law that restricts the authorization for security guards to bear arms to their worksites. The multi-organizational campaign, spurred by two incidents in 2010 in which security guards were involved in after-duty shootings, has gained momentum in the past year. Among the project’s achievements are a campaign video, 1,000 posters, a Facebook page (with over 20,000 viewings), yearly demonstrations in November, and meetings with government and security firms. GFKT is also encouraging public scrutiny of the private security industry, its dimensions and accountability, and the legality of its practices. GFTK will soon file a groundbreaking civil suit on behalf of a survivor of an attempted murder with a guard’s gun, raising serious liability issues for both the private security industry and the government.

Drafting legislation 1995-2009, Jamaica
Women Inc., a women’s organization in Jamaica, made submissions and participated in select parliamentary committees essential to the enactment of various legislation, including The Domestic Violence Act (1995) and subsequent amendments (2004) and The Sexual Offences Act (2009).

Advocacy on a Caribbean Community position on the Arms Trade Treaty
Since 2010, the Women’s Institute for Alternative Development and the Caribbean Coalition on Development and the Reduction of Armed Violence have been collaborating with Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states on a workshop series to prepare for the United Nations meetings to negotiate the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Senior policymakers and practitioners, including civil society organizations, are brought together to identify regional priorities to bring to each round of ATT negotiations at the UN. The discussions focus on what the ATT means for the region, how it will work, what CARICOM wants out of it, how it should be structured, and how implementation challenges should be handled. This series has been a very successful example of civil society–state cooperation. CARICOM members all support the ATT negotiation process.  

IANSA Women’s Network
The IANSA Women’s Network is the only international network focused on the connections between gender, women’s rights, small arms, and armed violence. Formed in 2001, it now links 126 members in 60 countries and reaches 1,170 subscribers through its bulletins. The network seeks to stop gun violence against women in the home, on the streets, and on the battlefield and to involve women fully in peacemaking, peacebuilding, and disarmament. In 2009 it launched the campaign, “Disarm Domestic Violence,” the first international campaign to protect women from gun violence in the home. In advance of upcoming negotiations on the ATT, the network is calling for the treaty to include measures to prevent gender-based violence and sexual violence against women. This would mean that, when there is widespread and systematic gender-based violence, licensing authorities will need to evaluate the risks that approving a potential arms transfer will have a negative impact on the rights of women.

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