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Stateless Justice in Somalia: Formal and Informal Rule of Law Initiatives

This paper, published by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, assesses how formal and informal justice systems function in the country’s ‘stateless’ society. It discusses the multiple, overlapping and contradictory sources of law noting that they create confusing and contentious dispensation of justice in Somalia.  Harmonization of these systems is necessary and should include public dialogue and confidence building, capacity building, establishment of a stable political environment and a major increase in international technical assistance and funding. Read the full report here.

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Female Combatants and the Perpetration of Violence: Wartime Rape in the Sierra Leone Civil War

In wartime, academics and policymakers often assume that women are strictly the victims of violence and never the perpetrators. However, Dara Kay Cohen’s research on female combatants in Sierra Leone’s civil war reveals that women in organized militias actually actively participated in acts of sexual violence. This phenomenon is not exclusive to Sierra Leone either; the study cites war statistics from Liberia, Haiti, Rwanda, and, importantly, Abu Ghraib, Iraq. Female perpetrators’ involvement ranged from encouraging attacks to assaulting both male and female victims themselves. The study notes that women often join paramilitary groups and perpetuate sexual violence for the same sociopolitical reasons men do. Consequently, “women perpetuating wartime atrocities is surprising only because of the gendered assumptions … often [made] about women’s capacity to commit violence.” Read the full study here.

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4 Things Feminists Tell Us about Private Security: A Gender Audit on Security

There’s no question that Private Military and Security Companies are part of a massive industry. However, like many industries dealing with violence, conflict, and militarism, private security often neglects important gendered perspectives. This article highlights four (4) of them: 1) gendered structures; 2) militarism and masculinity dynamics; 3) the division of labor and legitimacy; and 4) knowledge production about the global security industry. In doing so, it makes clear that “gender features as [a] rationale that underpins the political and economics of security.” Read the full article here.

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Preventing Conflict, Transforming Justice, Securing the Peace

This Global Study examines the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325. Findings include successes such as the international community’s adoption of a normative framework concerning sexual violence in conflict and a significant increase in the percentage of peace agreements that reference women. It also discusses the challenges in turning these and other “firsts” into standard practices. Further, the study notes that while the importance of women in securing international peace has been recognized, funding and political support for women-focused peacebuilding operations has not met expectations. It concludes by providing detailed recommendations for each theme covered as well as general recommendations for policy guidance and advocacy. Read the study here.

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Tegla Loroupe

Tegla Loroupe
(b. 1973)

Tegla Loroupe uses her success as a professional runner to promote peace in her home-country of Kenya. She has founded the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation and the 10km Peace Race, both of which bring together members of warring tribes to initiate peacebuilding. She is also involved in initiatives to empower and build opportunities for Kenyan women.

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Federica Montseny

Federica Montseny
(February 12, 1905 – January 14, 1994)

Federica Montseny was named Spain’s Minister of Health during the Spanish Revolution of 1936, becoming Spain’s first female cabinet minister. Montseny accomplished several reforms including preventative family planning, sex education, and the legalization of abortion. At the end of the Revolution, the communist party had regained control. Montseny lived in exile in France where she continued her efforts through the publication of the anarchist newspaper, L’Espoir.

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Begum Hazrat Mahal

Begum Hazrat Mahal
(b. 1820 – April 7, 1879)

During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, Begum Hazrat Mahal led a rebellion against the British East India Company. This came to be the longest resistance against the British. The British were forced to seek refuge in Lucknow while Mahal ruled for 10 months as regent. Eventually, Mahal retreated to Nepal.

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Shirin Ebadi

Shirin Ebadi
(b. 1947)

Shirin Ebadi was named the first female judge in Iran in 1969. Following the Iranian Revolution in 1979, Ebadi was demoted and retired early. She eventually formed her own legal practice and defended many human rights cases pertaining to women, children, and dissident figures. Ebadi’s human rights efforts won her the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003.

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