By GIANINA SCHWANECKE, DER SPIEGEL (Expository)
Debate has shifted to focus on the role Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) play in working against and reporting on violence against women.
Making a claim about the importance of NGOs, Amnesty International explained the impact of their ‘’mechanism to report on actual instances of violence; when we are on the ground, women are much more likely to report abuses’’.
Currently the delegation from the Human Rights Watch supports one initiative that works to address violence against women through “Law, Empowerment, Services, and Security,” or “LESS.”
The Human Rights Watch praised the way in which member states rallied around such a universal social issue. They explained that it’s not about military might, but rather about what works best.
The LESS initiative focus on security issues was a key factor in the NGO’s decision in supporting the paper. Healthcare workers and refugees are regularly targeted — in 2015, Aid Work Security reported 287 attacks on aid workers. Yesterday’s reports of UN peacekeeping abuses are a somber reminder of the women’s vulnerability in conflict zones.
While Human Rights Watch is largely responsible for detailed analysis about abuses, they also praised the tangible actions described in the paper, including the recovery kits for victims of violence or sexual assault.
Amidst multilateral negotiations, the Human Rights Watch also called for NGOs to work together. The bloc, led by France, the United States, Israel and Iran has seen new and unexpected international partnerships formed. However, they have yet to win approval from another key NGO player, Amnesty International.
Some remain concerned that national pride and countries’ desire to spearhead change for women’s rights might hinder today’s efforts. In particular, larger member states dominate platforms of change, while smaller countries are left to navigate the divide.
NGOs have important relationships which allow them to engage with communities without alienating them from local cultural traditions. These entrenched connections afford NGOs greater insight into particular issues and the cultural values which drive them. NGOs are thus an important influencer and will likely be a key determinant in which resolution ultimately succeeds.
Support for NGOs was echoed by number of countries. China reiterated their views on NGOs as “culturally sensitive, relative and aware.”
China also drew attention to NGOs’ ability to fill institutional and governmental gaps. Nigeria again highlighted the need to include men in discussions about gender inequality and creating initiatives which seek to change societal attitudes. Breaking down the way in which we talk about gendered violence, Nigeria explained it is not only important to talk about the women afflicted by such instances, but rather the men who perpetrate violence.
The European Union also called for education initiatives to teach young children “that violence against women is not acceptable’’.
Current dialogue about violence against women continues to treat the matter as an issue in developing countries or regions affected by crises. Though the proposed resolutions offer solutions which may be implemented universally, little has actually been said about domestic violence.