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IWA Statement on the commemoration of November 25 International Day for the Elimination of Violence

News Release Reference:

Liza Maza, Chairperson Marie Boti, Secretary General

On the commemoration of November 25 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

In commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25, the International Women’s Alliance (IWA) issues a statement condemning Israel’s attack on Gaza that resulted in the loss of lives and different forms of violence against women and children. IWA also calls on the Israeli government to stop its continued occupation of the Palestinian territory and to respect the human rights and the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people.

IWA also announced that on this day, it will sign up and join the One Billion Rising Campaign, a V-Day global campaign to end violence against women. IWA is supporting the campaign to raise awareness on and put a stop to all forms of violence against women including those brought about by imperialist aggression. Statement of the International Women’s Alliance


On November 25,women’s rights defenders the world over will commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, designated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999.

It was on this day in 1960 that the three Mirabal sisters in the Dominican Republic were brutally assassinated under the orders of Rafael Trujilo. Known as the Inolvedables Mariposas (Unforgettable Butterflies) the Mirabal sisters were political dissidents who stood in opposition to the Trujillo dictatorship. Their contribution to the peoples’ struggle for freedom and justice continues to inspire freedom fighters today.

This day is all the more relevant as our sisters in Gaza have reeled under the brutal air strikes, military attacks and other acts of state terror launched by Israel targeting civilian areas and social institutions. The mothers, sisters, and daughters of Gaza are constantly subjected to punishment because they stand with their people in asserting their right to exist as Palestinians, with the same fundamental rights as all people.

We of the International Women’s Alliance condemn this unfettered onslaught by the Israeli state and its arsenal. We call on Israel to put a stop on its plans of ground invasion and its continued occupation of the Palestinian territory. We equally condemn the United States, Canada and other governments for supporting the Israeli military campaign inflicted on the people of Gaza. The destruction of homes, schools, hospitals, and other social institutions under the guise of counter-insurgency and anti-terrorism is unacceptable, and can only result in the intensification of violence against the Palestinian civilian population, particularly the women and children.

Acts of imperialist war and aggression are unfortunately not limited to Gaza. In the context of the global economic crisis of capitalism and imperialism, the major powers are competing for resources and wealth and wreaking war and destruction on the peoples of the world to get it. Areas rich in natural resources are kept in perpetual states of instability because of development aggression and militarization. Wars of aggression are often launched under the guise of promoting democracy, good governance and even women’s rights. Meanwhile local sovereignty is utterly trampled on while the aggressors plunder, pillage, and help themselves to natural resources and set up compliant regimes to defend their interests.

Large-scale mining and development aggression by transnational corporations displace thousands of women, children and men. Destruction of their land, livelihood and environmental degradation and pollution are widespread.

Women are on the ground, in indigenous communities, in remote rural areas, being pushed out by bulldozers, poisoned by mine tailings and criminalized or shot when they try to resist. As defenders of the land, women are often on the front lines of the resistance. Women’s organizations in our network have staged courageous opposition to large-scale foreign mining from Ecuador to Guatemala, Mexico to the Philippines. In indigenous communities in Canada, they are on the barricades in Barrier Lake, in Akwasasne and in Northern Quebec trying to stop the takeover of their land and resources. They face criminalization, harassment, prison and even death.

Women’s organizations repeatedly make the connection that where there is large-scale mining there is militarization and where there is militarization there is a rise in gender-based violence against women from assault and rape to murder.

As wars and development aggression ravage our world, rape as a tool of war and imperialist expansion is used as a tactic of submission against women who resist. There exists a direct relationship between sexual gender-based violence, racism, and colonialism in which sexual assault becomes a tool of domination and displacement that we continue to see in communities facing occupation, communities fighting to defend their ancestral domains, and in communities that possess untapped natural resources.

Extrajudicial killing (EJK) is one of the most profound methods of silencing resistance or opposition. Despite international criticisms, governments and their armed forces along with paramilitary troops and the police commit EJKs in the Palestinian territories and in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Guatemala, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the Philippines, and in countries of Latin America and Africa.

The Philippines ranks at the top of the list of countries in Asia with the most number of EJK victims, which includes 156 women since 2001. In Pakistan, approximately 140 political activists, journalists and students had been killed in 2010 alone. Indigenous women of Guatemala and Mexico are also victims of EJK and enforced disappearance.

Our indigenous sisters of the globe are subjected to various state instituted forms of oppression and violence as they fight to decolonize their communities and defend their rightful lands. In Canada, Australia, and the United States indigenous women are disproportionately incarcerated. Aboriginal peoples make up just four per cent of the Canadian population, yet First Nations, Inuit and Metis women account for 32.6 per cent of the inmates in the federal prison system.

Many say that the dispossession and incarceration of aboriginal people is a continuation of the genocidal policies practiced by the colonial states.

Independent investigation and awareness campaigning from women’s groups in Canada, have revealed that up to 3,000 aboriginal women have gone missing or been murdered since 1980. The deaths and disappearances of these women have been ignored, gone unpunished, and can thus be deemed an outright feminicide. We at IWA support the Campaign for Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, which has been organizing marches and vigils across Canada since 2005:

As imperialist globalization advances, forcing millions to migrate in search of livelihood, the rights of migrants as workers are systematically denied. Governments of countries of the Global North are tightening their borders, persecuting, imprisoning and detaining so-called irregular migrants and refugees. Women in particular who are fleeing violence are often not recognized as legitimate refugees. Policies of refugee deterrence have a devastating impact on women and their children causing undue human suffering for those looking for a safe haven from persecution. Instead of support and assistance, we are seeing the criminalization of those seeking asylum.

Meanwhile, as the economic crisis continues and intensifies, putting pressure on families, the incidence of domestic violence against women and children is on the rise.

IWA will be joining the upcoming V-day and the 1-Billion Rising Campaign, to draw attention to the fact that “1 in 3 women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime” and as further stated on the V-day website, “One billion women violated is an atrocity. One billion women dancing is a revolution”.

Therefore, on February 14, 2013 we call on our member groups to join in a global strike to demand an end to violence against women. Together we will demonstrate what a 1-billion collective looks like as we “strike, dance, rise!”.

On November 25, the International Women’s Alliance (IWA) joins the women of the world in commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. IWA calls on its member organizations, networks, alliances, and individuals to mobilize women to participate in protest actions against all forms of violence against women and conduct awareness-raising activities to commemorate this important date.

Stop the attacks against the Palestinian people! Stop violence against women! Unite to resist imperialist aggression! Fight for rights, freedom and justice! Long live international solidarity!

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