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“Women and men play a multi-faceted role in peacebuilding. Violent extremism is a phenomenon that impacts everyone and men and women are equally vulnerable to being affected and recruited by extremist ideologies,” says Durr e Maknoon, Director General Outreach of National Counter Terrorism Authority, Pakistan (NACTA).
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The Philippines Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed an agreement in 2014 to end the protracted conflict in the Bangsamoro region of the southern Philippines. But while the agreement included provisions on empowering women, women and other groups including indigenous peoples, people living in conflict-affected areas and former combatants are at risk of being pushed to the margins.
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Since 2017, as part of the UN Joint Programme on Essential Services for Women and Girls, UN Women and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have been assisting Mahmood and the Pakistani police force to better address the needs of women and girls who experience violence. The programme, which ended in 2019, was implemented by the Government of Pakistan in partnership with UN Women, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), UNODC and the World Health organisation (WHO), and was funded by the Governments of Australia and Spain.
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In the past 18 months, by trapping women with their abusers, COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns have worsened the already-widespread violence against women while preventing many of them from getting help. But even those who do manage to contact the police come up against another long-standing challenge: a culture and system that treats the survivor as a big part of the problem.
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Covid-19 lockdown restrictions have not stopped Francisca Lofranco Tagalog, a community leader from Cebu City in the central Philippines, from helping women and children who experience domestic violence. “We have faced some new difficulties in our operations,” says Tagalog, 60, who leads the organization Bantay Banay (Family Watch). “But it did not stop us from doing the things we normally do for the community.”
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An initiative in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, north-western Pakistan, is teaching women, and the wider public, about their right to feel safe in public spaces, and what they can do to fight harassment and violence, including on public transport. Information stands have been set up in bus stations, containing leaflets on what constitutes harassment, and what legal resources are available for women if necessary.
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For the hundreds of families in the coastal communities of Barangay Tanza 2, the always-ready area Administrator, Irma Bantique Glomar, is the one to seek out if something needs fixing. “If something goes wrong, always ask Admin,” they like to say. And with a little help from UN Women, “Admin” has been instrumental in fixing the dilapidated wooden-plank walkways that traverse the community, connecting households and connecting the community to the main road outside.
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A little more than a year after its creation, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) is facing its latest threat to peace and security: the COVID-19 pandemic. Grievances associated with the pandemic, including inequitable access to healthcare and social support, are fueling community tensions, driving discrimination and hate speech, and reigniting violent conflict between clans and with government forces.
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Twenty-one years ago Pacita “Bing” Fortin pursued a career in social work despite her father’s reservations. “Social work is a profession,” she explains. “People think that a social worker merely hands out relief goods, but that is a misconception.
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Pamela Grace P. Español-Solano is one of nine female doctors volunteering at a COVID-19 facility in southern Philippines.
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Christian Ewert is President of amfori, a global business association for open and sustainable trade. amfori groups over 2,400 retailers, importers, brands and associations of more than 40 countries, with a combined turnover of more than 1 trillion euros. amfori recently signed the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), which UN Women and United Nations Global Compact developed to guide private companies to create gender-equal workplaces.
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Maica Teves, Executive Director of SPARK! Philippines, was primarily focused on women’s economic empowerment until she teamed up with other organizations to create a Filipino version of the #MeToo campaign to address gender-based violence. Through collaboration with SPARK!, UN Women, Empower, and the Embassy of Sweden in Manila, the #RespetoNaman (Respect Me) campaign was born.
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In Pakistan, women from marginalized social classes face multiple challenges and are often only able to work from home. Of the estimated 20 million Home-Based Workers (HBWs) in Pakistan, 12 million are women, and according to UN Women’s Status Report 2016 on Women’s Economic Participation and Empowerment in Pakistan, women account for 65 per cent of the PKR 400 billion (USD 2.8 billion) that HBWs contribute to Pakistan’s economy.
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Following decades of struggle for peace in southern Philippines, the Bangsamoro Organic Law was ratified in July 2018. The law creates a new political entity to replace the existing autonomous region, which is home to 13 ethno-linguistic groups in Mindanao. On 22 February 2019, the transitional authority took their oath of office, swearing in the new government’s Chief Minister, Cabinet and Parliament...
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Gerifel Cerillo is the coordinator of Tanggol Bayi, the Association of Women Human Rights Defenders in the Philippines. In February 2019 she attended the Regional Civil Society Strategizing Workshop in Bangkok for the 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women and Beijing + 25 Review. This year’s CSW is focused on social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure. Cerillo’s organization works mostly with the urban poor in and around...
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Tractors and dump trucks busily transporting material for a coal-fired power plant bustle amid the softly sweeping sand dunes of the sprawling Thar desert, in the province of Sindh, Pakistan. Powering her orange dump truck, Rukhsana, 37, seems unstoppable in making a mark in this male-dominated field: “Through this driving training, I gained the strength and courage to face the world. Initially, I got a lot of criticism from my...
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Launched for 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence in November 2016 through social media, UN Women Pakistan’s #BeatMe campaign gives an unconventional twist for women’s rights and their equality.   In challenging stereotypes in a country grappling to end violence against women and in public and private spaces, the #BeatMe campaign, spearheaded by a one-minute video, aims to inspire women and reaffirm that they are...
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It was a reunion for the fifty-five Bangsamoro women leaders last 26-27 October in Cotabato City - women former combatants from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) meeting with their sisters from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF); young women from the islands of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi meeting those from Maguindanao, Lanao provinces and North Cotabato; and Badjao women of Basilan meeting the Tedurays of Maguindanao....
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Filipino women, civil society, and political institutions are working hard towards achieving sustainable peace in the Bangsamoro, in the Philippines. After a complex history of conflict, colonialisation, and a long struggle for independence, the Filipino and Moro people are fighting for gender equality and peace. The Philippines, and the Moro people, suffered through colonisation by the Spanish during the 16th to 19th centuries, including in the Moro-Spanish wars. These...
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“For the first time, in so many years, I was finally able to share my own experience of armed conflict to other people, to other women; I was relieved,” said Noraida Abo, Executive Director of United Youth of the Philippines-Women (UNYPHIL-Women) during a partners’ workshop held on 28-29 September 2016, in Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental in the Philippines. Noraida is just one of the individuals, along with their respective organizations...