Aktivitäten in Europa

Empowering Women for Peace Building

Commemoratingthe Decade for Peace and Non Violence for the Children of the World




27th – 29th June 2008

“I call on men around the world to lead by example: to make clear that violence against women is an act perpetrated by a coward, and that speaking up against it is a badge of honor.I call on Member States around the world: The responsibility, above all, lies with you. I call on all of you to pledge with me: United We Shall Succeed”
Statement by Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, launching “Global campaign to end violence against women”, February 25, 2008

With a combined objective to commemorate the 60 year celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the meeting of the agreed upon Millennium Development Goal (MDG) No. 3, “Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women”, WFWPI organized an international conference held at the UN in Vienna and at a conference center outside of the city in Seebenstein, Austria.

The opening remarks were made by Ms. Elisabeth Riedl, Conference co-ordinator and permanent representative of WFWPI to the UN in Vienna. The first session, chaired by WFWPI Deputy Director, Carolyn Handschin had five distinguished guest speakers, on the topic of “Human Rights, Spirituality and Women’s Dignity”. The first speaker, Dr. Bosco, UNICRI began with the quote, ‘Not only a stolen dignity, but a stolen Life!’. She continued by explaining about their programs in Europe and gave examples of existing projects which incorporated strategies for combating trafficking in both destination and origin countries. Their very successful “Action program against trafficking in minors for sexual purposes” had as its main activities, the collection, evaluation and monitoring of data at local and international level, and the implementation of modular technical cooperation activities in the three selected pilot countries (Costa Rica, Thailand and Ukraine).

Corinna Milborn, ORF television host and book author ‘Ware Frau’, (German language publication just published recently in Vienna) presented the book that she co authored in which she had investigated the causes and the very real affects on the lives of ‘trafficked women’. During the course of her very personal testimonies, outlined four major reasons for trafficking, she identified several solutions that included re-thinking victim protection and mitigating the global economic imbalance.

Two NGO presenters introduced their “best practices“‘ Exit' Vienna and 'Mayina' Paris /Gabon.
Joan Reiterer from Exit was recently part of the New York UN General Assembly on Trafficking (3rd June). She traced the reasons for trafficking: ‘migration, poverty, sexual exploitation’. The wish to migrate is an important mobilising factor for the victim: After explaining about the causes and processes of trafficking in the origin countries, her own Nigeria included, she spoke about the reasons for migration. She had identified recommendations for both Nigeria and Austria, origin and destination countries.

Amely James KOH BELA , President of NGO Mayina, and a world-wide specialist of human traffic in Africa explained in detail the reason why trafficking in Africa is so difficult to contain, including especially weak penalties applied to human traffickers, the prestige of local promoters and the financials stakes. (The United Nations office on development of crime analyzes that the 2.5 million people victims of human trafficking in 2007 brought in 32 billion dollars in 2007.) Parents agree to sell their children to Europe, Asia or America with the false notion that it will bring wealth and respectability to families. Ms. Koh Bela insists that, ‘We have to go to Africa to change things.’

The fifth speaker, Martina Theresa Coombs, WFWPI VP explained the awareness campaign of WFWPI that appeals to both women and men to prevent the exploitation of women at early stages through fostering a better understanding of the innate “dignity of women” through education that begins in early childhood among family members and change of attitude. She encouraged the participants to speak out and protest against this misuse of the feminine body - and to stop the trend toward ‘normality’ of that as an advertising tactic.

Session Two on “Breaking the Glass Ceiling” was chaired by Dr. Maria Riehl, WFWPI permanent representative to the UN in Vienna. The first speaker, Ms. Saleha Begum Jaffer, began by saying “Let us celebrate the fact that we are created as women!"She referred to a familiar message from her Indian roots,’ If you educate a man you educate a person. If you educate a woman, you educate the society.’ She referred to the tragic instances of widow burning, bounty hunting, honor killings, forced marriages, dowry and suicide. She explained about the “glass ceiling” that prevents women’s dignified development and entreated all participants to
promise that they help others to break this glass ceiling, and to be part of the solution not the part of a problem.

Mrs. Ingrid Lindemann, President, WFWP-Germany expressed the need to create an awareness of dignity in human society, especially regarding women and girls- as a prevention to abuse. Throughout Europe, the media, advertisement and the fashion industry have misused the beauty of woman, thus undermining and injuring the dignity of women. Everyone is continually bombarded with a torrent of violence in literature and film with the most realistic portrayals of all types of sexual relationships, rapes and murder, usually of women, she continued. 

“Only as women and men together in equality and partnership can we overcome the difficulties, silence and desperation and secure the understanding, political will, creative thinking and concrete activities which are necessary for global transition from a culture of violence to a Culture of Peace.” UNESCO on the contribution of women to a Culture of Peace

60 international participants representing 11 European countries, as well as Japan, Gabon, Nigeria, Mongolia, China and India prepared a joint resolution with recommendations for United Nations, governments and civil society.

Promoting Human Dignity to Prevent Trafficking and Addiction:
60 Years of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (10 Dec. 1948)

Seebenstein, Austria June 27-29, 2008


Building upon the framework of human rights legislation and mechanisms of the United Nations and among governments over the last 60 years to prevent conflict and promote peace and prosperity among and within nations;

Convinced that sustainable solutions to the most pervasive of human rights violations; denying women and girls’ equality, security, self esteem and their right to enjoy fundamental freedoms depends upon recognition of the inherent dignity and worth of all members of the human family;

Knowing that human trafficking, sexual exploitation, domestic violence and all forms of abuse constitute an unacceptable violence against women and children, damages society and is irreconcilable with a culture rooted in the dignity and value of the human being;

Recognizing that it is the shared task of the United Nations, governments and all civil society, especially women themselves to be committed to the internationally agreed upon goals (including the Millennium Development Goals, Security Council Resolution:1325, more……) that provide a framework for action and educational tools;

Are further convinced that human rights education can be a valuable tool to prevent violence, oppression and injustice as it constructs an awareness of human family and the link to individual and collective responsibilities where communities and governments mobilize to seek solutions to end suffering and injustice, the long sought culture of peace and prosperity can be realized.

We therefore:

1) Recommend that international legal procedures for victims protection be implemented and those guilty of heinous crimes be brought to justice with a view to eliminate impunity

2) Recommend that hotlines be put in place wherever possible, in liaison with the local medical and judiciary structure, in order to offer assistance to victims and to report trafficking

3) Recommend the establishment of a European data base on crime, similar to the Italian model and that of the 2008 report of the Secretary General on Women and Violence which is devoted to the subject of databases

4) Recommend governments to improve living conditions of especially the poor and rural populations so that these do not need to depend on trafficking their own family members in order to obtain food, medical care or any other basic need of life.

5) Recommend that governments commit themselves to fight corruption and organized crime by funding research into its root causes and seek greater collaboration with civil society actors.

6) Recommend that civil society actors and the media promote a global awareness about the realities of violence against women and children.

7) Recommend a UN and government fund be made available for the promotion and circulation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) to be included in the curriculum and distributed in schools and, when possible introduced by trained youth leaders.

8) Recommend that parameters for the practical building of a “Culture of Peace” including a human rights education component that would be available to all educational institutions as well as financial enterprises-and commit ourselves to assist in this endeavor.

9) Commit to address the overseas communities of the countries were victims of human trafficking originate, knowing their customs and culture and knowing the living circumstances in the countries of destination, so that they can contribute to formulation of strategies and programs that would eradicate human trafficking

10) Commit to support UN/governmental mechanisms like CEDAW, the UNODC Global Programme against Trafficking in Human Beings (GPAT), the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council as well as non-governmental organizations that raise awareness, strengthen commitment, mobilize resources and implement projects on the local, regional and international level to fight against trafficking and other forms of abuse.

Finally, we commit as individual women and active members of non-governmental organizations, according to our own circumstances and capacities, to foster the awareness of our families, neighborhoods, local communities and society at large to such violations of basic human rights for all, report any infringement to the competent authorities and assist victims.