Conference on International Women’s Human Rights, the Philippines, 8-12 May 2007
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Capacity Building / Workshop
In May 2007, WRI attended capacity building programs in Manila, the Philippines. The programs consisted of a Conference on International Women’s Human Rights and a workshop on Migration which was held by Women and Gender Institute (WAGI), Miriam College. Not only participating in this program, WRI also conducted several visits to women’s organizations in the Philippines in order to build a network.
1. Conference on International Women’s Human Rights
The 2007 Conference on International Women’s Human Rights was the 9th program and was held on 8-12 May 2007. This conference was attended by 30 participants from several countries, i.e. Indonesia, the Philippines, the USA, China, and Cambodia. The participants came from diverse elements, i.e. government officials, NGO workers, scholars, civil society, and international organizations’ workers. In this conference, WRI gained materials on women’s rights which discussed: Condition and Situation of Women in the Global and National Levels; the Concept and Dilemma of Women’s Human Rights and Human Rights; International Law on Human Rights; Philosophy, Evolution, and Mechanism; International Agreements on Women’s Human Rights, i.e. CEDAW, BPFA, ICPD, MDG. Moreover, WRI also gained materials on more specific issues related to women’s human rights. The specific issues discussed in this conference were migration and women trafficking; gender, peace, and security; gender and ICT; and gender, Islam, and Human Rights. Other materials which were gained during the conference were on domestic law systems which include: 1) family law, law on violence against women and children, and children’s rights, and 2) law on employment and sexual abuse; law on international trading and free market and its implications on human rights and women’s human rights. Furthermore, the participants were also asked to make a paper which had to be presented at the end of the conference.
2. Workshop on Migration
The workshop on migration was held on 21-26 May 2007. This was the first program conducted by Women and Gender Institute (WAGI), Miriam College. This workshop was attended by 40 participants from several different countries, i.e. Indonesia, the Philippines, France, China, Singapore, and Japan. The participants of this workshop came from different elements, i.e. government officials, NGO workers, scholars, civil society, and international organizations workers. During this workshop, WRI gained materials on migration which covered topics such as: Regional View on International Migration; Migration and Human Rights; Policy on Migration; and Migration, Identity, and Changes in the Concept of Home and Nation. The participants also gained insights about specific issues related to migration from the materials on health, trafficking, and practices of racial discrimination toward migrant workers. Other materials discussed in this workshop were on relevant research and methodology in researching migration, the identity and rights of the migrant workers, arrangements and acts, migration management, and the benefits and disadvantages of migration. The participants were also asked to prepare a paper to be presented at the end of the workshop.
3. Building a Network
In addition to attending the two capacity building programs, WRI also held a networking session with 7 institutions /NGO in Manila, i.e. CATW-AP (Coalition against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific), Likhaan, Women Health, WAND, Saligan, Kanlungan, and W-Lead. The seven institutions/NGOs shared different focuses.
CATW-AP is an organization which focuses on the issue of trafficking. This organization’s activities include advocacy on policy and law on trafficking and migrant workers, research on trafficking and migrant workers, and capacity building for women related to the issue of trafficking and migrant workers especially for women who have been victimized by trafficking.
Likhaan is an organization which focuses on reproductive health. The main activity of this organization is providing reproductive health services for women which include services on abortion, contraception, sexually transmitted infection/ reproductive tract infection, HIV/AIDS, pregnancy, and labor. Furthermore, the organization also conducts advocacy on policies related to reproductive health.
Women Health is also an organization which focuses on reproductive health and fights for women’s reproductive health rights. The activities of this organization include research, policy advocacy, capacity building for women on reproductive health, and dissemination of reproductive health rights for women.
WAND is an organization which focuses on issues of violence against women, gender budgeting, economic empowerment, and reproductive health. Currently, the organization is focusing more on gender budgeting. This organization’s activities include advocacy, research, and women empowerment.
Saligan is an organization which focuses on women’s issues, employment, local government, and advocacy of law and policy. This organization activities include local and national policy advocacy, education and empowerment related to legal issue, and support for legal settlement of a case. Saligan also conducts research and publication.
Kanlungan focuses on migration-related issues. This organization’s activities include advocacy for policy on migrant workers, services for migrant workers in troubles, and enhancement of migrant workers’ knowledge and economic ability.
W-Lead focuses on services and legal advocacy for women and children who are the victims of violence. This organization provides legal help for them. This organization also conducts capacity building related to violence issues for women.
In building this network, WRI visited these NGOs to dialogue and share the knowledge and experience on women’s issues which are the focus of each organization. The meeting and discussion covered several areas like the activities of the organizations, the problems faced, the strategy of the organization in tackling the problems, the organizations’ strategy in fighting for the issue, the organization’s strategy to survive, and the organization’s network.
During its visit to the Philippines, WRI could not visit two organizations, i.e. Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) and Visayan Forum. MFA is an international organization which is located in Manila. The focus of this organization is the attempt to fight for the rights and justice for migrant workers. WRI could not visit MFA because its Executive Director was joining an international meeting on migrant workers in Thailand. Visayan Forum, on the other hand, is an organization which focuses on the issue of women and children trafficking. This organization provides services of psychological assistance and empowerment for women and children who become victims of trafficking. ***