(We welcome IntLawGrrls guest/alumna Valerie Oosterveld back for this guest post. Valerie, in turn, extends her thanks for the invitation to contribute to the blog.)
In her post a few days ago, IntLawGrrl Susana SáCouto highlighted the International Gender Justice Dialogue held last week in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. She featured the panel on “Prosecutions and Jurisprudence – What have we achieved and what remains to do done?”
Other panels at the Dialogue, which I attended, focused on “Peace Talks and Outcomes – Strategies and Challenges”, “Women’s Rights and Peace Advocates in Conflict Situations and Fragile States” and “Mandates and Opportunities for Justice and Peace”.
While some originally-scheduled speakers were not able to attend due to travel disruptions caused by the Icelandic volcano, speakers did include: Jody Williams (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Chair of the Nobel Women’s Initiative), Fatou Bensouda (International Criminal Court, by video), Joanna Sandler (UNIFEM), Monica McWilliams (Chief Human Rights Commissioner, Northern Ireland, by video), Esther María Gallego Zapata (Ruta Pacifica de las Mujeres, Colombia), Sarai Aharoni (Hebrew University, Israel), Yanar Mohammed (Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq), Thin Thin Aung (Women’s League of Burma, India), Gilda Maria Rivera Sierra (Centro de Derechos de Mujeres, Honduras), Chavi Nana (International Criminal Court), Susannah Sirkin (Physicians for Human Rights, USA), and
Kristin Kalla (International Criminal Court Trust Fund for Victims).
The Dialogue’s website contains video presentations of these speakers, including the powerful and inspiring closing presentation by Dr. Joan Chittister, co-chair of The Global Peace Initiative of Women, which you can watch here.
As the event was indeed a dialogue, the second day of the gathering focused on brainstorming around the themes of “Justice and Jurisprudence”, “Peace Talks and Implementation”, and “Communicating Gender Justice”. I served as a rapporteur for the group on Justice and Jurisprudence, which tackled key questions such as:
► “What are the judicial obstacles to the advancement of gender justice?”
► “What are some upcoming opportunities within the International Criminal Court and elsewhere for advancing gender justice?”
► “Where does the field of international criminal justice need to be in relation to gender issues in the next 3-5 years?”
The Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice also took the opportunity of the Dialogue to launch its newest publication, “In Pursuit of Peace”, which can be accessed here.
Writing from Kenya, as air travel cancellations kept her from attending, Ava A. Maina Ayiera summarized the feelings of the attendees at the Dialogue well:
'I do not know what journeys and stories of women’s rights, women’s empowerment emerge from Iceland, yet their stories, my stories will connect and mirror each other; stories of women determined to realize equality, to redress discrimination, to resist the degradation that comes with patriarchy and to seek justice.'