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February 2016
Editor-in-Chief: Nicola Giovannini
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 Highlights

Bahrain: NPWJ and the NRPTT strongly condemn new sentence of imprisonment against opposition leader Ibrahim Sharif
 

On 24 February 2016, Bahrain’s fourth Criminal Court sentenced Ibrahim Sharif, prominent opposition leader and former Secretary-General of the left-wing secular National Democratic Action Society (Wa’ad), to one year of imprisonment on charges of “inciting hatred against the regime”.  Sharif was also accused of “incitement to overthrow the government through forceful means”, but the court dismissed the charge.
 
No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) firmly condemn the conviction to one year of imprisonment of the leading opposition figure Ibrahim Sharif. Yesterday’s sentence grounded on purely politically-motivated charges is yet another clear example of the Bahraini authorities’ unabated determination to criminalise free speech and suppress any nonviolent quest for meaningful democratic reform, rule of law and respect of human rights in the country. It also further demonstrates that the Bahraini regime’s claims of reform are purely rhetoric and part of a smokescreen strategy used to cover the real face of a routine campaign of repression to silence peaceful opposition and independent voices.
 
Sadly, the response of the international community has, so far, been weak and deaf to the plight of the Bahraini citizens. The Bahraini authorities have used this approach as a green light to persevere in their repressive and retaliatory practices rather than engage in a real and inclusive dialogue with the peaceful opposition leaders and human rights advocates. It is way past time for the international community, and the European Union (EU) in particular, to react strongly and as a matter of urgency to this latest blow to freedom of expression in Bahrain with the seriousness it warrants. Failure to do so is, in reality, siding with tyranny and repression.
 
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Syria: “Promoting accountability through UN mechanisms"
 

The conflict in Syria continues to claim staggering numbers of lives, with attacks against civilians having further intensified in recent weeks. Despite the creation of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) in the autumn of 2015 and the on-going efforts of the UN Special Envoy for Syria, the range of violations of international humanitarian law, war crimes and crimes against humanity, is widening and the number of parties involved in the conflict allegedly involved in this violation of international norms continues to grow.
 
Against this backdrop, it is crucial to bolster the resilience of Syrian civil society and democratic activists and to support their ongoing work for justice and redress. These organisations have done incredible work in documenting and advocating against widespread breaches of international law committed for the last five years in Syria, including torture, sexual and gender-based violence and illegal war tactics such as siege, starvation, barrel bombs and indiscriminate shelling of civilian neighborhoods.
 
Any future Syrian system of accountability and transitional justice should respond, in a fair, effective and independent manner, to this scale of violence and to the needs and aspirations of the population affected by it. Critically, it should also be considered as an essential component of a transition process leading towards the establishment of democracy and the rule of law in Syria. To this end, No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) organised a workshop on “Promoting Accountability through UN mechanisms with a focus on Women and Children”, which took place in Istanbul from 20 to 23 February 2016. Participants included a key group of Syrian CSOs representatives and human rights activists and international experts on the UN human rights mechanisms and accountability processes.
 
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“International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation”: NPWJ appeals to all States to enact and enforce legislation banning this human rights violation
 

On this International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation, No Peace without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) want to extend a special salute and recognition to all the outstanding individuals and organizations who battle this human rights violation and extreme form of discrimination and violence against women and girls, which three million girls worldwide are at risk of undergoing every year.
 
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) had taken a first strong stance on this issue on 20 December 2012 by adopting the Resolution 67/146, which was hailed by the Ban FGM campaign, a coalition of African and European NGOs created thanks to the initiative of No Peace Without Justice. In December 2014, the UNGA Resolution 69/150 renewed this commitment, with an increased number of sponsoring countries and strengthened language.
 
As called for by these breakthrough resolutions, NPWJ and the NRPTT have constantly stressed that the adoption and the enforcement of explicit and effective legislation, backed by sanctions, banning all forms of FGM are fundamental and crucial factors to successfully combat this form of gender-based violence, protect its victims and end impunity. On this important day when we reaffirm our commitment to stamp out FGM, we appeal to all states in which FGM is perpetrated to enact and enforce legislation to unequivocally prohibit FGM as a criminal offence as well as to provide strong and clear support for the innumerable human rights groups, women’s associations and individual advocates that fight a daily battle to ensure that the women and girls of tomorrow will be free from the threat of FGM.
 
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Alvilda Jablonko is Director for Gender and Human Rights of No Peace Without Justice

 NPWJ events

CPTAFE and NPWJ organise a national workshop on "BANFGM: towards the elimination of female genital mutilation" in Guinea
 

On the occasion of the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation, CPTAFE (Cellule de coordination sur les Pratiques Traditionnelles Affectant la Santé des Femmes et des Enfants) and No Peace Without Justice, in partnership with the Inter-African Committee for Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (IAC), and with the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, organised in Mauritania a national workshop entitled “BANFGM: towards the elimination of female genital mutilation”.
 
On the proposal of the Minister of Social Action and for the Promotion of Women and Children of the Republic of Guinea, the event as well as other commemoration activities were held in Gueckedou, where a young teenage girl named Koumba Tonguino died as a result of female genital mutilation in December 2015. This tragedy awakened consciences in the country and spurred a massive mobilisation for the elimination of the practice. In Guinea, despite the practice being outlawed, it is estimated that 97% of girls aged 15 to 49 are FGM victims.
 
In addition to aiming to consolidate the political will of Guinean authorities to implement the UNGA Resolution 69/150, thworkshop provided an opportunity to analyse and discuss national mechanisms designed to protect women and girls against FGM and to identify adequate measures to improve existing strategies addressing violations of the prohibition of FGM and strengthen the capacity of the police, gendarmerie and the judiciary in ensuring compliance with the law. Participants included representatives of relevant Ministries, local authorities of of Gueckédou, representatives of UN agencies, as well as civil society activists and women’s rights groups, traditional and religious leaders, and the general population of Gueckédou.
 
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GAMCOTRAP and NPWJ organise a national workshop to foster implementation of the law banning FGM in The Gambia
 

On the occasion of the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation, GAMCOTRAP and No Peace Without Justice, in partnership with the Inter-African Committee for Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (IAC) and the Gambian Women’s Bureau, and with the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, organised a national workshop entitled “Ban FGM: A Law Ending FGM in The Gambia”. The event, which was held in Banjul, comprised representatives of the government as well as the general population, including 80 community-based facilitators, 80 ex-circumcisers, 20 women leaders and 30 young people drawn from the seven administrative regions of the Gambia.
 
On  28 December 2015, the National Assembly of Gambia adopted the Women's Amendment Bill 2015 which bans Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and sets strict penalties for offenders. According to the bill, a person who engages in female circumcision could face up to three years in prison or a fine of 50,000 dalasi (£851). If the act results in death, a person could face life imprisonment. The adoption of the bill follows an executive pronouncement and decision by President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia to ban FGM.
 
The adoption of the bill is a concrete answer to the voices of the numerous communities which over the past eight years have publicly demonstrated their willingness to end FGM. It also reinforces the legitimacy and impact of the advocacy and awareness efforts carried out by civil society groups such as GAMCOTRAP under the tireless leadership of its president, Isatou Touray, to bring an end to this human rights violation. In the wake of the passage of the new legislation banning FGM in Gambia, this event aimed at strengthening awareness-raising and advocacy activities about its implications both among representatives of the government as well as the general population, and to ensure its effective application.
 
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 NPWJ on Radio Radicale

Have Breakfast with No Peace Without Justice
 

No Peace Without Justice and Radio Radicale, the foremost Italian nationwide all-news radio, have an ongoing partnership to provide news and information on our activities to a broad Italian audience. This partnership features an in-depth weekly program on NPWJ’s current campaigns and activities. The program is broadcast in Italian every Friday morning immediately before the main news summary.

Listen to the last episodes

 NPWJ press releases

APEGDH and NPWJ organise a national workshop on "BANFGM: towards the elimination of female genital mutilation" in Mauritania
Nouakchott, Mauritania, 8-9 February 2016

NPWJ report on the fourteenth Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court
7 February 2016

“International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation”: NPWJ appeals to all States to enact and enforce legislation banning this human rights violation
6 February 2016

GAMCOTRAP and NPWJ organise a national workshop to foster implementation of the law banning FGM in The Gambia
Banjul, Gambia, 6 February 2016

CPTAFE and NPWJ organise a national workshop on "BANFGM: towards the elimination of female genital mutilation" in Guinea
Gueckédou, Guinea 6 February 2016

Intra-Syrian Geneva talks need clarity on civil society role
Gaziantep - Brussels, 29 January 2016

Bahrain: NPWJ and NRPTT support visit of opposition leaders in Rome to call for ending repression and promoting meaningful political reform
Rome, Italy, 25-26 January 2016

 NPWJ in the news


 

"Restoring faith in U.N.’s role"
By Jamal Mamo, Orient Net, 24 February 2016

Siria: approdano a Roma le foto di torture di “Caesar”
Alessandra Baldini, ONUITALIA, 12 February 2016

Emma Bonino: «Le torture di Assad che Roma non vuole vedere»
di Lorenzo Cremonesi, nostro inviato a Gaziantep, Corriere della Sera, 11 February 2016

AAS-Iraq receives a delegation from the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization and No Peace Without Justice
Assyrian Aid Iraq, 10 February 2016

Emma Bonino in collegamento con Ballarò dalla città turca Gaziantep vicina al confine con la Siria
RAI 3, 9 February 2016

Gambia: Gamcotrap to Observe International Zero Tolerance to FGM Day
The Point (Banjul) / All Africa, 2 February 2016

Así luchan las mujeres sirias por la paz dentro de la guerra
Mario Cuesta, El Diario, 28 January 2016

Bahrein. Un Paese in cerca di diritti
Speciale Spazio transnazionale, Radio Radicale, 25 January 2016

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