Current World YWCA News
The 26th session of the UN Human Rights Council opened this week Tuesday 10 June, 2014 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. During her opening statement Ms. Navanethem Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Right, noted the continued gender based discrimination and violence suffered by women and girls all over the world. Ms. Pillay also drew attention to the creation of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), some 20 years ago.
In a weeklong dynamic and challenging leadership training in Myanmar, young women and women of the YWCA are heading home with bold and transformative approaches to intergenerational leadership. From the 2-8 June, Yangon in Myanmar was home from women of the YWCAs of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Solomon Islands, Thailand, India and Nepal. During the week, many friends were made, and so were plans on how to change the world for women and young women.
Today marks the opening of the 26th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC26) it will take place from the 10 -27 June, 2014 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.
At the invitation of UN Women, Tiffany Rodrigez from the YWCA of Queens, New York, participated in Beijing +20:What? An Interactive Dialogue with Young People about Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in the Post 2015 Context. As part of the UN ECOSOC Youth Forum and activities planned around highlighting the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, eight young women representatives from girl-focused civil society organisations, came together for a conversation with the Executive Director of UN Women, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka. Each young woman highlighted a key area of action and gave her own perspective on the challenges that continue to hold women, young women and girls back from full equality.
Song, dance and poetry featured highly on day one of Her Future: Intergenerational Approaches to Bold and Transformative Leadership in Yangon, Myanmar. The training is hosted by the World YWCA and the YWCA of Myanmar in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs Australia (DFAT) formerly known as AusAid. The training is part of a larger World YWCA programme supported by DFAT across the Asia and Pacific regions which aims to mobilise young women’s leadership and advocacy within their local communities.
World YWCA General Secretary Named Goodwill Ambassador of the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa
In an effort to provide a bright future for millions of young women and girls, the African Union has launched the first-ever Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa on May 29, 2014 in Addis Ababa. The two-year campaign is organised in partnership with UNICEF and UNFPA, and it brings together a large range of partners including the Ford Foundation, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Save the Children, Plan International, Africa Child Policy Forum (ACPF) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID). Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, World YWCA General Secretary, was named AU Goodwill Ambassador by the Commissioner for Social Development during the Ministerial Meeting.
During the Asia-Pacific War which took place from the early 1930s to 1945, Japan forcefully mobilized girls and young women for sex slavery in battlefields and areas where soldiers were stationed, thus violating their human rights. After the war, survivors were either slaughtered or abandoned far from their native countries, unable to return. Japan concealed and distorted its own war crimes and did not provide reparations for the few survivors who were able to return to their home countries. The survivors were forced to silently endure their sufferings for more than 50 years.
In Asia and the Pacific, where more than half the world’s young people live and where, in the Pacific, 56% of the population are under the age of 24, young people are important stakeholders in the development of societies. Young people can become a powerful force in economic, social and cultural development and bring positive change in their communities. To achieve this young people need to be empowered to know and claim their rights to health, education and decent work. The current demographic trends also create space for constructive intergenerational dialogue where women and men of all ages can share knowledge and life skills with each other. A gender perspective is also critical given the widespread discrimination women and girls face in the region due to the simple fact they were born female.
The YWCA of Rwanda was established in 1995 in response to the rising concern for the many widows and children left in the wake of the genocide. It has been a member of the World YWCA since 1999, and its mission is to develop the leadership and collective power of women and girls in Rwanda to achieve high quality education, health and socio-economic conditions for themselves, their families, and their communities.