Capacity building of Women in Black Armenia

10527810_672601162815844_3411574499899355967_n (640x427)In August “Society Without Violence” NGO launched “Woman in Black” capacity building in Dilijan, Armenia. The aim of the trainings was to empower young members of Woman in Black to actively participate in peace making processes, to learn and use non-violent and non-aggressive forms of actions. WIB Armenia is a part of world-wide network of women committed to peace with justice and actively opposed to war, militarism and other forms of violence.The training covered interesting topics starting from stress management and self-care to practical skills on how to implement peaceful demonstrations and other forms of peaceful protest. Some of the participants themselves were responsible for some session of the training.They were introduced with the topics of feminism and its history, gender equality, gender based stereotypes, differences between sex and gender, etc. During the training the participants learnt about WIB ideology, goals, values and objectives, about Women in Black movement in Armenia, etc.

They learnt non-violent communication tools, networking skills, project management skills. The participants worked as a group on “Women of Black in Armenia” movement’s strategic planing, values, goals and objectives.

Beside the learning sessions, the participants had a chance to get to know each other better through warming up parties and movie screening evening. The participants watched a movie “Iron jawed Angels”. They were very touched by the movie that follows political suffragists leaders Paul and Burns as they use peaceful and effective nonviolent strategies, tactics, and dialogues to revolutionize the American feminist movement to grant women the right to vote. After the movie they felt very empowered and inspired by the struggle of women for their political rights.
The participants were quite enthusiastic about the training. We hope that they will put the knowledge and skills obtained during the training into practice during their peace building activities they will be engaged in and will contribute to global peace making processes.
The participants spent a great time and got new friends, new acquaintances, new knowledge, new skills, capabilities and unforgettable memories. Pictures of the event can be found here.

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2nd European Women in Black Conference

 1in nkar2nd European Women in Black Conference took place On May 1 to May 3, 2014, in Leuven, Belgium. Women in Black is a world-wide network of women committed to peace and justice and actively opposed to injustice, war, militarism and other forms of violence. This movement first started in Israel in 1988, where women in black stood silently in the streets of Jerusalem to protest against war with Palestine. WiB movement in Armenia started in 2011, when “Society without Violence” NGO organized an event against domestic violence.

As a part of this big network, two members of “SWV” participated in this conference which united WiB activists from different European countries. During the meeting, people from every country shared their experience and made plans of actions for the future.

During the first day, participants talked about the issues their countries are facing. Even though every country had an issue that was unique for their region, nonetheless there was one issue that was common for the whole WiB movement. Lack of young people is a concern that this movement faces nowadays. Most of the people were above 40 years. On one hand, it’s very beneficial to have people who are so experienced and who can share their knowledge and wisdom. On the other hand, however, the action needs younger people to get involved, in order to continue fighting for justice.

During the conference many issues were discussed and actions were planned through workshops which included workshop on NATO, Solidarity and Peace – using differences to move on, Palestina – Israël and BDS, Non-violent communication, Feminist activism against nuclear weapons and Militarism in Europe, etc. Since we had so little time and so many workshops we unfortunately couldn’t attend them all. One of the most urging topics was NATO, its growing influence in Europe and militarization strategies.

2rd nkarDuring the last day there was a round-table discussion in small groups where we talked about 3 main issues and came up with actions that we need to take. The issues were the following:

  1. Integration of younger people
  2. End of militarization
  3. Protection of women rights

The conference gave us energy to continue fighting for justice in our country. It was a rewarding experience to meet all the people and hear their stories. We gained a deeper knowledge about this movement and made new connections with more experienced members of WiB community. Most importantly, we gained hope that we are not alone in our fight

I want to thank the organizer for this opportunity. We are going to continue our journey and inspire others around us.

 

Nare Ghapantsyan

WIB Armenia group member

 

 

 

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WIB of Armenia: a way to new achievements and opportunities

“Society Without Violence” NGO presented Women in Black Armenia movement, its development history, enrollment opportunities and upcoming events for  young girls and women interested in peacebuilding and conflict resolution during the seminar in  YSU Center for Gender and Leadership Studies .

«Հասարակություն Առանց Բռնության» հասարակական կազմակերպությունը խաղաղաշինության ու հակամարտությունների լուծման գործընթացում կանանց ունեցած դերով հետաքրքրված երիտասարդ, ակտիվ աղջիկներին ու կանանց ներկայացրեց համաշխարհային Women in Black («Սևազգեստ Կանայք») շարժումը, դրա ձևավորման պատմությունը Հայաստանում և առաջիկայում վերջինիս շրջանակներում իրականացվելիք միջոցառումների շարքը ԵՊՀ Գենդերային Ուսուցման և Առաջնորդության կենտրոնում կայացած սեմինարի ընթացքւոմ: :

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Պաշտոնական հայտարարություն Քեսաբում հարձակումների վերաբերյալ

wib logoՄենք` Հայաստանի Սևազգեստ Կանայք շարժման ներկայացուցիչներս, կոչված լինելով պայքարելու ռազմականության և պատերազմի դեմ և ձգտելով միջազգային հարատև խաղաղության, մեր ձայնն ենք բարձրացնում Սիրիայում վերջերս կայացող իրադարձությունների առնչությամբ:

Համաձայն տարբեր աղբյուրների՝ 2014թ. –ի մարտի 21-ի վաղ առավոտյան Ալ Քաիդայի կից իսլամական ջիհադիսները Թուրքիայի սահմանից մտել են Սիրիական տարածք և հարձակվել  քրիստոնեական Քեսաբ գյուղի վրա:

Հաշվի առնելով դաժան ահաբեկչական հարձակումները՝ մենք խստիվ դատապարտում ենք ապստամբ խմբերի նմանատիպ գործողությունները Քեսաբի խաղաղ բնակիչների նկատմամբ, որտեղ ապրում են բազմաթիվ հայեր, ինչպես նաև այլ ազգային փոքրամասնություններ: Մենք մեր մտահոգությունն ենք հայտնում նաև Քեսաբի տեղահանված բնակիչների հանդեպ, որոնք ժամանակավորապես տեղափոխվել են Լաթաքիայի  շրջակայք:

Մեր գերակա մտահոգությունն առաջացնող մեկ այլ խնդիր կա: Տեղեկատվությունը, որը թուրքական զինվորները ներգրավված են եղել Քեսաբի հարձակումների մեջ, հայերի շրջանում  առաջացրել է  ատելության ու զայրույթի լայն ալիք: Կողմնակալ ու չհիմնավորված տեղեկատվության տարածումը ԶԼՄ-ների միջոցով առավել վատթարացրեց առանց այդ էլ լարված  իրավիՃակը երկու ժողովուրդների միջև: [1].

Հաշվի առնելով վերոնշյալը՝ Հայաստանի Սևազգեստ Կանանց խումբը կոչ է անում՝

  • Իրականացնել պատշաճ պրոֆեսիոնալ լրագրողական հետաքննություն և ներկայացնել Քեսաբի դեպքերի անկողմնակալ մեկնաբանություն:
  • Դադարեցնել անվստահելի և սխալ տեղեկատվության տարածումը մամուլի և մասնավորապես սոցիալական մեդիայի միջոցով:
  • Ձեռնարկել համապատասխան քայլեր ահռելի թափ ստացող ատելության քարոզը և անհանդուրժողականության մթնոլորտը  դադարեցնելու համար, որն առաջանում է ապատեղեկատվության տարածման արդյունքում:

Մեծ ջանքեր են ներդրվել Հայաստանի և Թուրքիայի քաղաքացիների միջև խաղաղության հաստատման ուղղությամբ: Հետևաբար, մենք իրավունք չունենք չհարգել այն, ինչի համար պայքարել ենք տարիներ շարունակ:

Մենք կոչ ենք անում կառավարություններին պահպանել խաղաղությունը Սիրիայում և դադարեցնել խաղաղ բկաչության վրա ահաբեկչական հարձակումները: Հարկ է հարգել մարդու իրավունքների միջազգային իրավունքը, միջազգային մարդասիրական իրավունքը և այլ իրավական պարտականությունները, որոնք բխում են դրանց նորմերից և դրույթներից: Այլևս ոչ մի զոհ չպետք է լինի, ուստի և մենք պահանջում ենք, որ միջազգային հանցագործություն իրականացնողները պատժվեն արդարադատության ողջ խստությամբ:

Բռնությունը, ահաբեկչական հարձակումները և մարդու իրավունքների միջազգային իրավունքի ու միջազգային մարդասիրական իրավունքի խախտումները պետք է անմիջապես դադարեցվեն, բոլոր պետությունները և գործող անձիք պետք է այս ուղությամբ ցուցաբերեն քաղաքական կամք:

 

Սևազգեստ կանայք, Հայաստան

Ապրիլ 2, 2014


[1] Երկու ազգերի միջև թշնամանքը սկզբնավորվել է 1915թ.  հայերի ցեղասպանությունից հետո, որը Թուրքիան դեռ պաշտոնապես չի ճանաչել:

Posted in: Women Peacebuilders by WIB, Armenian Initiative 1 Comment

Official statement regarding attacks in Kessab

wib logoWe, Women in Black, Armenia, called to fight against militarism and war, to strive for international long-lasting peace, raise our voice on the recent events happening in Syria.

 According to different sources, in the early morning of March 21, 2014 Al Qaeda linked Islamic jihadis entered Syrian territory from the Turkish border and attacked Christian town named Kessab.

 Taking into account the brutal terrorist attacks, we strongly condemn such actions by rebel groups upon peaceful civilians of Kessab consisting of many Armenians as well as other minorities. We are also extremely concerned with the number of displaced Kessab residents who now reside temporarily in nearby Latakia.

Besides, there is another issue that raises a huge concern. The information that Turkish soldiers were involved in the intervention to Kessab generated a huge wave of hatred and anger among Armenian population. Number of biased and untrusted information widely disseminated in mass media, made the situation even worse and tense[1].

 Considering the above, Women in Black, Armenia group urges to:

  • Make appropriate, professional, in-depth journalistic investigation and give unbiased media coverage on Kessab’s case
  • Stop the circulation of untrusted and false information in mass media, especially through social media
  • Take appropriate measures to stop the increasing hate speech and intolerant atmosphere as a result of untrusted data spread.

There have been immense efforts put in place for reconciliation and peace building between Armenian and Turkish civilians. Consequently, we do not have a right to fail to respect what we were fighting for over so many years.

 We urge the respecting governments to maintain peace in Syria and stop terroristic attacks on civilian populations. It is time to respect international human rights law, international humanitarian law and all legal obligations resulting from their norms and provisions. We do not need any more victims and claim that the perpetrators of international crimes are brought to justice and punished accordingly.

 The violence, terrorist attacks and breaches of international human rights law and international humanitarian law should be stopped immediately; all states and actors are obliged to manifest political will in this regard.

Women in Black of Armenia

April 2, 2014

 


[1] The hostility among two nations dates back to 1915 Armenian Genocide which is not yet officially recognized by Turkey.

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Women’s side of Kosovo Conflict

KosovoConflicts have always been a major part of a human’s life: they do interfere with our inner self on personal level, they appear to be there in interpersonal relations, they do have something to do in national and international level. Yes, conflicts are everywhere, but what is more important to mention is the human ability to overcome all sorts of conflicts and give way to peace.

This year the first week of spring was a real revival for me. I had the honour to present Society without Violence NGO in astudy visit to Kosovo entitled “Transitional justice and Dealing with the Past” with the participation of representatives from Georgia, Azerbaijan, Abkhazia and Nagorno Karabakh and with the support of Kvinna till Kvinna.

The 5 days’ study trip gave the participants from countries which have frozen conflicts between them a chance to see a conflict which has so much in common with theirs when it comes to pain and suffering of those who face the conflict.  This was a step inside to the soul of women in Kosovo who undertook so many sufferings during the conflict and still do face hatred and indifference, and who are able to struggle and to fight for justice even in that conditions.

The participants met different women organizations working on transitional justice and dealing with the past. The representative from organizations presented the work of their organization and explained the above-mentioned concept on the example of their organization’s work.

Days were full of travelling to different regions of Kosovo and meeting representatives of different women organizations working to promote peace and to help women who suffered during the war and are still suffering because their voice are not heard and the truth is not spoken out.

It was really very inspiring to see Serbian women facing so many difficulties just for being there in Kosovo to help Kosovo women in their fight for justice. Nothing could be more touching than a Mother who had lost her 4 sons and husband in the war with no glue on where their bodies are. A mother who made her home a museum for making her voice heard and to act as a triumph over all sorts of conflicts and injustice in the world.

Besides the truly emotional aspects of the trip, there was a lot of practical information on tools and tactics of working with the past and on the concept of transitional justice. We met women activists who shared their experiences, gave practical tools on using different aspects of art in conflict reconciliation.

March 8 protest with hundreds of women in front of Kosovo’s government building, asking for a pro-active approach in talks with Belgrade, and justice for all the women and girls raped during the conflict was the top of all the activities during the week. We, women from different countries, stood there in solidarity with other women for justice and peace.

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WIB Action for the Family “Solve a Conflict, Save the Family”

BLog 1“Women in Black of Armenia” has made a tradition to hold a vigil on December 3 every year, emphasizing   different   problems that women face in   Armenia. The theme for the vigil differs every year depending on the situation of women in   the country. This time women in black of Armenia decided to address the problem of conflict within the family.  The choice fall on this taking into the consideration the fact that women in Armenia are not secure enough in their families as we don’t have a “Law on domestic Violence”. It would be an asset in frames of the fight for the adoption of the “Law on Domestic Violence” in Armenia.

Conflict exists everywhere, including our families. It can lead to a tragedy in family or, how surprising it may sound, can lead to warmer relationship. The secret is the way the family handles the conflict.  Having this in mind Women in Black of Armenia organized a public event entitled “Solve a conflict, save the family” in the frames of 16 days of Activism against Gender Based Violence. During the event we highlighted the importance of conflict resolution as a prerequisite for a strong family. During the event the passers-by could learn about some real cases of domestic violence, the importance of Domestic Violence Law and effective techniques of eliminating violence and solving family conflicts.

blogThe action itself comprised of several couples each of which was in certain state of relationship as in peace, in conflict or in constant fights. Due to the performance it was possible to see things that promote mutual understanding in families or vice verse, thins that could cause conflict. The choice you made defined your future family. This is what the performance showed!

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WiB Armenia Strategy Plan

WIB Armenia Strategy Plan

wib logo 

Vision

The vision of Women in Black of Armenia is to have a society where the rule of law and human rights are prevailed, where conflicts are settled down in peaceful ways, women are actively engaged in state and social procedures and where there is no place for violence.

Mission 

The mission of Women in Black of Armenia is to spread peace ideology, to teach young women and direct them to the democratic values in Armenia, involve women in civic and institutional initiatives as well as in peace building procedures of all levels.

Values

•        Participatory equality

•        Non-violent struggle

•        Antimilitarism

•        Democracy

•        Devotion

 Aims

  • To strengthen the Women in Black Armenia group with involving more new members from Yerevan and from regions of Armenia, as well as form permanent working imitative groups in regions.
  • To conduct a survey to reveal the problems that challenge women of Armenia to take an active part in peace building and decision making processes, to use the survey result for making a possible list of activities aimed at improving the situation.

 Action Plan for 2014 – 2015

Activity planned Timeline
  • To activate the Women in Black Armenia involving more new members from Yerevan and different regions of Armenia.

January 2014-July 2014

  • To study the reasons that deprive the Armenian women of getting involved in peace building processes and decision making

March 2014-August 2014

  • To carry out researches on women involvement level, to find out the reasons for the low level of women involvement and provide suggestions for solutions.

 

March 2014-January 2015

  • To form an active working initiative  groups in every region

 

January 2015- February 2015

  • Based on the results of the survey and on the package of suggestions provided to carry out at least 5 events/measures to solve the problems.

 

March 2015-November 2015

  • To publish a year book  on the basis of the gained information

 

November 2015-December 2015

  • To organize round tables  on the activities implemented in frames of Women in Black Armenia movement  in  the end of the first and of  the second years

End of 2014

and

End of 2015

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WIB Open Letter Regarding Peace Negotiations in Colombia

OPEN LETTERWe, Women in Black, meeting at the 16th International Gathering of Women in Black against War, which took place in Montevideo 19 – 24 August, with delegations attending from Argentina, Armenia, Belgium, Chile, Congo, India, Israel, Italy, Guatemala, Great Britain, Palestine, Serbia, Spain, United States and Uruguay, wish to express our desire that in Colombia agreements for peace be achieved through the negotiations that are now taking place in Havana with one of the insurgent groups, FARC-EP; we hope that negotiations with the ELN will begin, seeking an outcome that will be less painful for a country that has been living through an armed conflict for half a century.

Our Encuentro (Gathering), attended by approximately 120 women, has been declared of national interest by the government of Uruguay and the Mayor of Montevideo declared Montevideo a “City of Peace” during the unfolding of our International Gathering.

The International Network of Women in Black against War (WnB) is an international network of women who are anti-military, feminist, and pacifists, and who advocate for a world where there are no wars or violence of any sort. The organization was begun in 1988 through an initiative of Israeli Jewish women, who came together to accomplish actions against the war that was being carried out by their government against the people of Palestine, choosing to dress in black – the color of mourning –, to remain silent with placards and posters in the shape of a hand that would speak for them. WnB denounce the shared responsibility of developed countries in all kinds of wars.

The Ruta Pacifica de las Mujeres de Colombia is a member of the Women in Black and shares the struggle against war and the use of the bodies of women as booty of war in the framework of the armed conflict, and used as an instrument to humiliate, as a expression of scorn and disrespect and of power in dealing with the communities and especially the bodies of women. We have always given importance to the fact that respect for the rights of women who have been victims of violence should be included in the peace negotiations, taking into account the right to truth, justice, reparation and no repetition of atrocities, as declared in the international principles on the rights of victims of war and armed conflict.

We are activist women who promote and highlight the fundamental role of women against militarism, which in Colombia has spread the length and breadth of the country, impacting significantly the lives of women.

We are convinced that the use of war as an instrument to resolve conflicts is destructive for society, for the civil population and its communities and especially for women, because poverty and violence grow exponentially and life is characterized by fear, mourning and lack of liberty.

We ask that the government of Colombia and the FARC guerillas listen to our call to re-establish peace in the country and immediately begin work to make effective the rights of all, both men and women, to dignity and to life and that the demands of the women be included in the agreements reached.

For this reason, the organizations of women that have made an effort to achieve peace want to be parties to the negotiations, and we commit to utilize all our capabilities and accompaniment of the Network of Women in Black of the world to aid in building peace.

You can count on the Women in Black working for the goal to end the armed conflict in Colombia. For us, the heroes are those who surrender their weapons. In fact, we do not believe that the world needs heroes, rather the confluence of wisdom, interests and the capacity to create new visions, new agreements for the permanence and conservation of peace and of the planet, which today is in danger because of the patriarchy, capitalism, neo-liberalism, consumerism and the immense inequalities.

Montevideo, Uruguay, 24 August 2012

Posted in: Women Peacebuilders by WIB, Armenian Initiative Comments Off on WIB Open Letter Regarding Peace Negotiations in Colombia

X VI International Women in Black Meeting Resolution

Web 01Delegates from Argentina, Armenia, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Guatemala, India, Israel, Italy, Palestine, Serbia, Spain, UK, Uruguay, USA

We are an international movement of feminist activists in a world confronting different situations of oppression: armed conflicts, wars taking place in the world made by our state´s armies.

We reject the so called ´humanitarian´ and ´preventative´ wars, the violence in post conflict situations that continues war in different ways, the continuation in power of dictators and murderers – staying in power through legal tricks – and the immunity of soldiers and war criminals.

The social wars generated by neo-liberal capitalism affect everyone, especially poor people. All these kinds of violence are generated by patriarchy, which is fed and supported by wars, violence and injustice and has never given up war-like solutions. In all these situations there is structural and systematic violence against women. Social control is assured by control over women´s bodies. We reject the continuum of violence against women – in the home, at work, on the streets.

Our feminist and anti-militarist movement works in a nonviolent way and makes the following proposals:

1.      To start a global campaign in the last week of October for the abolition of immunity for members of UN ´Peace Missions´ (´blue helmets´). It has been proved that they are involved in sexual crimes against civilians´ in many war zones: Congo, Bosnia, Haiti, Guatemala and other countries.

2.      To abolish the impunity of war criminals involved in military interventions, ´humanitarian´ wars, dictatorships and social wars against poor people and prevent these criminals coming back to power. That´s why we demand the legal system acts against impunity, and why we work and will continue working with a feminist approach, including courts of women, truth, justice and reparation commissions etc. We propose to establish the start of this action against impunity on 24th May 2014, International Day for Peace and Disarmament.

3.      To keep vigils on May 15th each year to remember the Palestinian Naqba in 1948

We declare our support for Palestinian women prisoners and for boycott, divestment and sanctions against the Israeli war economy. We want to ban the weapons trade, especially in conflict areas.

We also declare our support for the Colombian peace process, following the proposals made by Women for Peace coalitions integrated in Ruta Pacifica, and have sent a letter agreed at the meeting to the peace negotiations in Havana.

We make our own the sentence for genocide dictated against the dictator Efraín Rios Montt in the city of Guatemala. This is the first time a dictator is judged and sentenced as genocide in a national court. This was a huge achievement for the women, always demanding and fighting for Justice, Truth and Reconciliation.

We support the processes of recovering historical memories of women who were victims of crimes during wars, dictatorships and genocide.

We reaffirm autonomy and freedom of choice over our own bodies, in terms of sexual and reproductive rights. We will continue to support the peace initiatives organized by the different WiB groups and partners according to their socio-economic context, respecting the autonomy of each group in the network.

Montevideo, 24th August 2013

Posted in: Women Peacebuilders by WIB, Armenian Initiative 1 Comment