Call upon to Engage Women of South Asia in resolving Conflicts, Usher in Peace, Disarmament & Development

New Delhi/New York, 13 March 2014

Call upon to Engage Women of South Asia in resolving Conflicts, Usher in Peace, Disarmament & Development

Call upon to Engage Women of South Asia in resolving Conflicts, Usher in Peace, Disarmament & Development
Date/Time: 12pm-3pm, 13 March 2014
Venue: Conference Hall, Baha'i United Nations Office, 866 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017, USA

13 March 2014: The South Asian region has poor human security indicators, such as female illiteracy, maternal mortality and violence against women. In South Asia, women have low life expectancy owing to high maternal mortality rate - around 217 mothers die for every 100,000 live births. In India, only three states have so far managed to reduce maternal mortality rate to less than 109 deaths per 100,000 live births- a millennium development goal (MDG) for 2015.

The 2011 census data for India shows that 18 million girls were exterminated from the population before the age of 15 years, while 4 million died prematurely due to neglect, 3.3% of women in South Asia (India and Bangladesh) face non-partner sexual violence, 46% of women aged 20-24 in South Asia married before the age of 18 and 66% of women experienced sexual harassment in New Delhi 2010 (India). About 200,000 women are hospitalized in Pakistan each year for complications due to illegal abortions.

Every week in Bangladesh, more than ten women suffer from an acid attack; in India, 22 women are killed every day in dowry-related murders; in Sri Lanka, 60 percent of women report having suffered physical abuse; in Pakistan, more than 450 women and girls die every year in so-called “honor killings”; and in Nepal, the practice of enslaving young girls, whereby parents sell their young daughters – typically age 6-7 – to be girl servants is still widely practiced.

Militarization and weaponization is increasing in South Asia. India has emerged as the largest importer of arms with a 12% share of world arms imports. India accounts for 40 million of the 75 million privately owned firearms currently in circulation, and ranks only second after the United States in a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries. Of these, 33.7 million are unlawfully held guns, with only 6.3 million reported to be registered. Small arms freely enter universities in Bangladesh, election polling booths in India, and night clubs and casinos in Sri Lanka. There are 75 million firearms in South Asia- 63 million of which are in civilian hands, 40 million in India, 20 million in Pakistan and 6 million illegal firearms in Bangladesh. Civilians are the largest category of gun owners in the region, accounting for far more weapons than the military, police and insurgents (6 million civilians in Nepal and Sri Lanka).

Countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan grapple with violent insurgencies. In Bangladesh, the cultures of violence continue to serve as threats to the efforts towards democracy. While in India, terrorism, Maoist insurgency, coercive state action and pervasive conflicts in the Northeast and Jammu & Kashmir continue to dominate public discourse.

On 13 March 2014, Manipur Women Gun Survivor’s Network (MWGSN), Control Arms Foundation of India (CAFI) in collaboration with Deutsche Welthungerhilfe (WHH) and supported by European Commission will be organizing an event under the theme Engaging Women for Resolving Conflicts, Usher in Peace, Disarmament & Development in South Asia at Conference Hall, Baha'i United Nations Office, 866 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017, USA.

Esteemed speakers of the event will include Ms Binalakshmi Nepram, Founder, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network and Secretary General, Control Arms Foundation of India, India; Ms. Maria Butler, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – Programme Director, PeaceWomen Project, USA; Dr. Angana Chatterji, University of California, USA; Ms. Sarah Boyd, Founder, The Gender Agency, Australia and Ms. Fiona McAlpine, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network/ Young WILPF Network, Australia.

Please join the event.

For more information, please contact:

Ms Binalakshmi Nepram, India
Founder, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network and Secretary General, Control Arms Foundation of India

Ms Fiona McAlpine, Australia
Manipur Women Gun Survivor’s Network/Women International League for Peace and Freedom

* This PR was sent to by Purnima Sharma who can be contacted at purnimasharmacafi(at)gmail(dot)com
This Press Release was posted on March 14, 2014

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