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The “War on Terror” and Extremism: What is the Relevance of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda?
March 3, 2016 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
About the Talk
Extremist violence is increasingly a threat to international peace and security. This is exemplified by the growing attention paid to this phenomenon by the international community, including in particular the UN Security Council.
Women and girls are increasingly affected by the consequences of this extremist violence, as extremist groups deliberately attack those institutions that provide women and girls with developmental, educational, and socio-economic opportunities, try to reverse hard-won gains, or attack women’s fundamental human rights as part of their core agenda.
Yet, the discourse about women’s victimization only shows one side of the story. Women may also play a role as supporters, perpetrators or preventers of extremist violence, as the cases of Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Nigeria or Sri Lanka for example demonstrate. Even if women combatants continue to be a minority worldwide, their indirect role in facilitating extremist violence as ideologues and recruiters can be significant – as can be their role in preventing this kind of violence. Women and women-led organizations have played important formal and informal roles in resolving conflicts, building peace and challenging violent extremism.
While acknowledging this potential of women’s organizations in the struggle against violent extremism and the growing importance of the Women Peace and Security Agenda in this new context, a warning is also in place. In the absence of definitional clarity on terrorism and violent extremism, there is the danger that women’s engagement and rights can be intstrumentalized for counter-terrorism purposes.
During this talk, the speakers will address these issues, and will focus on how the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, and the UN more generally, are responding to the issue of Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism. Speakers will look at the steps that have been taken since the agreement on the new resolution and the Global study by UN WOMEN, and will highlight how recent developments (including the January Report of the UN Security Council on the Threat posed by ISIL, the UN Secretary General’s new Plan of Action on Preventing Violent Extremism, Resolutions 2242, 2251, 2252, 2253 and 2259, and the various statements of the President of the Security Council) intersect with the Women, Peace and Security Agenda and its potential to bring about change.
About the Speakers
Fionnuala Ní Aoláin holds the Robina Chair in Law, Public Policy and Society at the University of Minnesota Law School and is concurrently Professor of Law & Associate Director at Ulster University’s Transitional Justice Institute (Belfast). Her book Law in Times of Crisis with Prof Oren Gross (CUP 2006) was awarded ASIL’s Certificate of Merit for creative scholarship (2007). She is co-author of On the Frontlines: Gender, War and the Post Conflict Process (OUP 2011). Ní Aoláin was appointed by the UN Secretary-General as Special Expert on promoting gender equality in times of conflict and peace-making (2003). She has served as Expert to the ICC Trust Fund for Victims (2015), and Consultant to UN Women and OHCHR on a Study on Reparations for Conflict Related Sexual Violence (2013). She was nominated twice by the Irish Government as Judge to the European Court of Human Rights (2004 & 2007). She is Board Chair of the Open Society’s Women’ Program, and serves on the Board of the Center for Victims of Torture and the Georgetown Institute for Women Peace and Security.
Nahla Valji is the Deputy Chief of the Peace and Security section in UN Women’s headquarters in New York, where she has led the organization’s work on peacekeeping, peace negotiations, transitional justice, and rule of law, involving both global programming and policy work, particularly with regards to the Security Council. Recently, she headed the Secretariat for the Global Study on implementation of resolution 1325, a comprehensive study requested by the Security Council for the 15-year review of women, peace and security. She co-founded and managed the International Journal of Transitional Justice and is currently a co-editor on the Oxford Handbook on Gender and Conflict. Prior to joining the UN, Nahla worked in South Africa, where she led the regional transitional justice work of the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation and managed the African Transitional Justice Research Network.
Nikki Reisch is the Legal Director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice. Her work focuses on social and economic rights, with an emphasis on corporate accountability, economic inequality and environmental justice. Prior to studying law, Nikki worked as an advocate with non-governmental organizations monitoring the effects of international financial and development institutions on communities in the Global South. She spent years conducting research and advocacy related to the human rights impacts of extractive industry and large-scale infrastructure projects, trade liberalization and climate change, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa. Her research and practice interests also include immigrant rights and the intersection between domestic civil rights issues and international human rights law.
Source: Centre for Human Rights and Global Justice, NYU School of Law