By Biggie Ssenfuka
The day started with the women’s caucus meeting with information that the Women Human Rights Defenders [WHRD] statement had changed the language, and was more accomodating. They also alerted us to the news that the statement was ready for circulation. Members of the caucus present also shared updates on venues and times for different sessions of the day.This was followed by the youth and SOGIE caucus meetings where similar issues where discussed.
After sitting in on these caucus meetings, I attended the Moremi side event on enhancing young women’s voices for women’s empowerment and sustainable development. The presentation featured 7 panelist who were beneficiaries of Moremi fellowships. It was an interesting panel but left me with a lot of unanswered questions like:
1.Who are the young women ?
2.Will we ever acknowledge the diversity of people within the group of young women?
While I appreciated that some panelists raised issues affecting young women with disabilities, I found the panel to be a bit on the conservative side when considering SOGIE.
As we all know that some of our sisters have left their countries and became refugees, I picked interest in a session on refugees and Internally Displaced Populations [IDP] as victims of sexual violence and exploitation. Here a panelist from West Africa shared how women and young girls have been given as a gifts to who ever wanted to join the rebels in West African countries. Women are abused in the camps by the rebels. Their families are then asked to pay money which they might not have in order for the abducted woman or family members to be released. Sexual violence has been institutionalized to an extent that women are used as compensation for the rebels. There was also a Syrian panelist that shared about abuses that she had endured as an abductee, and raised how other nations are silent about the suffering of women in politically unstable situations.
Having heard all these sad stories I decided to take taxi to go visit Maria of OutRight Action International. Here, I received a donation for Ugandan refugees in the Kakuma camp in Kenya.
Later, I got lost in the streets of New York trying to work my way back to the hotel, but after two hours of walking, the limping me reached the hotel after two hours.