Our global Stop Violence Against Women (SVAW) campaign formally ended on 1 April after six years. But if you think that means we will no longer be working on women’s human rights and gender issues, it is worth a second look.
"Women’s rights will remain a major priority," says Amnesty International Australia’s SVAW campaign coordinator Hannah Harborow. "Yes, the worldwide SVAW campaign has ended. But here in Australia we will continue to work on our existing campaigns well into this year including violence against women in Papua New Guinea, and the work on women’s rights and gender discrimination will be ongoing around the world.
"Our SVAW network has developed into a major asset both internationally and in Australia. And the wealth of expertise on women’s rights that exists within our staff and supporters must continue to be used and enhanced."
The Gender, Sexuality and Identity Unit
Hannah revealed that the SVAW unit at the International Secretariat will be reborn as the Gender, Sexuality and Identity Unit (GSIU). In addition, a task force has been set up to ensure that all future campaigns include women’s human rights issues.
"The GSIU will undertake policy and research work on aspects of the death penalty that affect women. They will work on reproductive crimes such as abortion or adultery, where women are more likely to be prosecuted than men. They will also work on the human rights of lesbians or gay men, for example in Uganda, where legislation includes a crime of ‘aggravated homosexuality’," says Hannah Harborow.
The unit will also continue current and planned projects related to violence against women, including:
- Impunity for rape in Cambodia
- Sexual slavery in conflict - focused on Japan
- Maternal mortality and sexual and reproductive rights in Indonesia
"We will look at discrimination against women as part of the human rights violations that keep people poor."
Hannah Harborow, Amnesty International Australia's SVAW campaign coordinator
In Australia, we will continue to work on women’s rights within all of our campaigns, but the major focus internationally and in Australia for work on women’s rights will be through the Demand Dignity campaign.
"We will look at how inequality, power imbalances and a lack of participation for women leads to the denial of sexual and reproductive rights and contributes to maternal mortality." says Hannah Harborow.
"We will also continue to work with women human rights defenders to ensure they are able to continue their important work throughout the world. And our work with individuals at risk will prioritise more cases involving women."