sex/gender

zbanguraDelighted to announce that U.N. Under-Secretary-General Zainab Bangura (left), the Special Representative to the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict, will deliver the 4th annual Katherine B. Fite Lecture at the International Humanitarian Law Dialogs, to be held August 24-26, 2014, at the Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York. This will be the 8th year that international prosecutors and other experts gather at Chautauqua’s lovely lakeside Athenaeum Hotel to take stock of developments in international criminal law.

And it’s the 4th that IntLawGrrls blog has had the honor of selecting the person who will deliver the lecture in honor of Fite, the State Department lawyer who helped Chief U.S. Prosecutor Robert H. Jackson with thebvs drafting of the London Charter and other duties in preparation for the 1st postwar trial at Nuremberg. (My own 2011 Fite Lecture, which describes Fite’s career, is here.) Bangura promises to be a memorable speaker, given her tireless work as the SRSG since 2012, and her prior service in the government of Sierra Leone. (photo credit) Introducing her will be IntLawGrrl Beth Van Schaack (right), Stanford Visiting Professor of Law and former Deputy, Office of Global Criminal Justice, U.S. Department of State.

Bangura’s lecture is just one of many special events planned for this year’s Dialogs. Other highlights:

fb► Reflections by current and former international prosecutors. Scheduled to take part are International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda (left; photo credit) and Deputy Prosecutor James Stewart; Serge Brammertz, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia; from the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Nicholas Koumijian and Andrew T. Cayley; from the Special Court for Sierra Leone,  David Crane (organizer of the Dialogs, Syracuse Law Professor, and chairman of the Board of the Robert H. Jackson Center), Stephen Rapp (since 2009 the Ambassador-at-Large and head of the Office of Global Justice, U.S. Department of State), Brenda J. Hollis, and Desmond de Silva; and Hassan Jallow, trahan3Prosecutor of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia and formerly Prosecutor of the ICTR. IntLawGrrl Jennifer Trahan (left), Associate Clinical Professor of Global Affairs at New York University, will moderate.

tiina► Keynote address by Ambassador Tiina Intelmann (right), President of the ICC Assembly of States Parties.

theidon140►Clara Barton Lecture by Harvard Anthropology Professor Kimberly Theidon (left).

►Roundtable on “Relevance of International Humanitarian Law” featuring IntLawGrrl Leila Nadya Sadat (right),Sadatl4 Professor at Washington University-St. Louis, along with former U.N. Legal Counsel Hans Corell, Professor William A. Schabas, and former U.S. Ambassador David Scheffer, now a Northwestern Law Professor.

zeid►Breakout porch sessions, including one on “Islamic Extremism” featuring Sadat, Scheffer, and Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein (right; photo credit), who soon will take up the post of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.

val► Year in review by IntLawGrrl Valerie Oosterveld (left), Western Ontario Law Professor.

More information is at the website of the Robert H. Jackson Center, a primary sponsor, here.

wiliguseWASHINGTON – The President of the International Court of Justice spoke for a banquet room full of women and men yesterday when he said, “I am just here to share in the joy of my colleagues.” The colleagues of whom ICJ President Peter Tomka spoke were Judges Joan E. Donoghue, Julie Sebutinde, and Xue Hanqin. The three women received the Prominent Women in International Law Award during the Women in International Law Interest Group luncheon, a highlight of every American Society of International Law annual meeting. As a special treat, retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor dropped in to congratulate what she called “the women’s division” of the World Court bench.

Each of the honored judges made brief but inspiring comments.

Judge Donoghue, a career U.S. State Department lawyer before she joined the ICJ in September 2010, focused her comments on gender disparity in international law. In a recent three-year period, “93 percent of the arguments judges of the ICJ heard came from men,” Donoghue said, citing “A Study of Lawyers Appearing before the International Court of Justice, 1999-2012,” a forthcoming European Journal of International Law article by Cecily Rose and Shashank Kumar. In calling for greater diversity, Donoghue reasoned:

‘We are a world court, and international law in the main is for the world.’

Flashing a broad smile, Judge Xue said, “Indeed, this is a great honor and privilege to receive this award. It’s really like an higgOscar.” Xue, a former diplomat and law professor in China, is senior to Donoghue on the court by a few months. She recalled two women who had preceded both of them – Dame Rosalyn Higgins (right), whose service from 1995 to 2009 included abastid term as the ICJ’s President, and Suzanne Bastid (left), an ad hoc judge in the 1980s. Xue said:

‘Today we have so many women on the court not because today women are so much more intelligent, but because many international lawyers, men and women – I want to stress, men and women – have fought so hard for women’s rights.’

She accepted her award “as a tribute to all women legal professionals working in the field of international law, in recognition of their dedication to international peace and development.”

Having three women on the bench, Judge Sebutinde said, “is indeed a pinch-yourself moment for me.” Sebutinde’s pre-ICJ career included service as a judge in her homeland of Uganda and on the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Sebutinde thanked her colleagues Donoghue and Xue, stating, “I don’t think I would even have had the courage to apply if they were not there.” Sebutinde urged the court to increase public outreach. It is particularly important in her own region: “It is no secret I come from eastern Africa where there has been a lot of conflict for decades. The first thing that nations think of for settling their differences is war. It is never the International Court of Justice. So it’s a great responsibility, especially for judges who come from Africa, to sell the court to our part of the world.”

Adding their own words were audience members  – judges, law students, law professors, law librarians, and practicing lawyers – who took part in WILIG’s introduce-yourself tradition. Among them was International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who recalled that as a young girl in Gambia, she had felt “helpless” after trying in vain to get police to protect a relative who was suffering domestic violence. “That is why I went to law school,” Bensouda said, and added with reference to her current work, “There must be accountability for those crimes, those who perpetrate those crimes. There must be rule of law.” Meanwhile, Washington-based attorneys Lucinda Low and Jennifer A. Hillman (a former member of the World Trade Organization Appellate Body) urged “constant vigilance” to ensure that once earned, gains in women’s participation are maintained.

A University of California-Davis Law student who hails from Kazakhstan summed up the celebratory spirit. Aigerim Dyussenova, known to her new WILIG friends as Aika, proclaimed:

‘This is the happiest day of my life.’

(In photo at top by Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, WILIG Co-Chairs Clara Brillembourg – a cardboard cutout of Eleanor Roosevelt behind her – and Christie Edwards address the luncheon audience. Looking on are, from left, Judges Xue Hanqin, Joan E. Donoghue, and Sebutinde, along with Justice O’Connor. Cross-posted at IntLawGrrls and ASIL Cables)

eventWASHINGTON – Yesterday I had the honor of serving as Distinguished Discussant for the 16th Annual Grotius Lecture, a keynote event at the ongoing joint meeting of the American Society of International Law and the International Law Association. Delivering the lecture was NYU Global Law Professor Radhika Coomaraswamy, whose former posts include Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General on Children & Armed Conflict and U.N. Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women. (event video here) Her talk was entitled “Women and Children: The Cutting Edge of International Law.”

Below is a version of my remarks in response, prepared and delivered in my personal capacity. The final, fully footnoted article is set to appear in due course, along with that of Professor Coomaraswamy, in the American University International Law Review, thanks to the lecture’s cosponsor, American University Washington College of Law.

The Post-Postcolonial Woman or Child

“‘Let the child be excused by his age, the woman by her sex,’ says Seneca in the treatise in which he vents his anger upon anger.” So wrote the namesake of this lecture, Hugo Grotius, in his masterwork entitled The Law of War and Peace. With this 60862quotation, “Let the child be excused by his age, the woman by her sex,” Grotius traced to the writings of an ancient Roman philosopher the injunction against harming women and children in time of war. Grotius’ reiteration of Seneca’s words tacitly admitted that as late as 1625, armies still were violating the injunction. Sadly, the same is true 389 years later. Today neither women nor children are excused from wartime assaults, violence, and upheaval. In Syria alone, three years of conflict have left well over 100,000 persons dead, and forced another 2.5 million persons to flee their country. Women and children are included in those statistics. Conflicts elsewhere generate similarly grim numbers, as Professor Coomaraswamy indicated by her references to the Central African Republic, to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and to her own homeland of Sri Lanka. Indeed, outrage at the persistent violation of laws protecting women and children undergirds the Grotius Lecture that we have just heard.

Commensurate with her distinguished career in international law academia, policy, and practice, Professor Coomaraswamy has presented a vast and intricate tapestry of global developments. It would be impossible for me to comment in full in the time allotted. Instead, I propose to pull five strands out of the fabric of her lecture and to weave them anew, as a means to invite the imagining of a possible future, that of “the post-postcolonial woman or child.”
My first strand addresses Professor Coomaraswamy’s statements of concern about postcolonial theorists prevalent in the global south. These scholars, she said,

‘reject the human rights framework as part of the ‘liberal’ ‘imperialist’ project especially when it comes to cultural practices. … [They] rejec[t] the dominance of the European Enlightenment and the sacredness of the power of reason.’

My response might raise hackles among some of those scholars, for it begins with this claim: We are all postcolonials now.

By way of example, both of my own countries of citizenship are postcolonial states. Read Full Article

TwitterCruise7Concern about the dearth of international law women with online or op-ed presence helped launch IntLawGrrls in 2007. Since then, the blog (archives here, current posts here) has welcomed hundreds of  women who’ve posted on a range of issues related to international, comparative, and transnational law and policy.

Recent buzz in Foreign Policy about the dearth of women writing in that field prompted a search for @IntLawGrrls; that is, IntLawGrrls contributors now posting on Twitter. (image credit) For readers who’d like to follow favorites there, here’s a list:

Aziza Ahmed: @AzizaAhmed
Karen J. Alter: @AlterKaren
Diane Marie Amann: @DianeMarieAmann
Elizabeth Andersen: @AndersenBetsy

Sandra L. Babcock: @sandralbabcock
Sari Bashi: @saribashi
Nadia Bernaz: @HRightsBusiness
Jillian Blake: @JilliBlake
Sadie Blanchard: @sadie_blanchard
Carolyn Patty Blum: @PattyBlum
Rosa Brooks: @brooks_rosa
Elizabeth Burleson: @BurlesonInst
Mira Burri: @miraburri

Naomi Cahn: @NaomiCahn
Liz Campbell: @lizjcampbell
Aparna Chandra: @aparnachandra
Louise Chappell: @chappell_louise
Ioana Cismas: @IoanaCismas
Kathleen Clark: @clarkkathleen
Kamari Maxine Clarke: @KamMClarke

Colin Dayan: @mehdidog
Fiona de Londras: @fdelond
Jessica Dorsey: @jessicadorsey
Mary L. Dudziak: @marydudziak
Angela Duger: @UDHR_Duger

Christie Edwards: @cjoye7
Máiréad Enright: @maireadenright
Noura Erakat: @4noura
Daphne Eviatar: @deviatar
Andrea Ewart: @developtradelaw

Marjorie Florestal: @MarjorieFlo
Rosa Freedman: @GoonerDr

Anne Gallagher: @AnneTGallagher

Jill Goldenziel: @JillGoldenziel
Michele Bratcher Goodwin: @michelebgoodwin

Lisa Hajjar: @lisahajjar
Leslie Haskell: @HaskellLeslie
Gina Heathcote: @gina_heathcote
Karen Hoffmann: @karhoff
Sofie A. E. Høgestøl: @sofiehogestol

Joanna Cuevas Ingram: @4truejustice

Olga Jurasz: @olga_jurasz

Elise Keppler: @EliseKeppler

Rebecca Eve Landy: @RebeccaEveLandy
Hope Lewis: @ProfHopeLewis
Jennifer Lind: @profLind

Vanessa MacDonnell: @vanessa_macd

Hope Elizabeth May: @selfconcordance
Clare McGlynn: @McGlynnClare
Chi Mgbako: @chiadanna
Lelia Mooney: @Lelia_Mooney

Luz Estella Nagle: @LuzEstella
Fionnuala Ní Aoláin: @NiAolainF

Mary Ellen O’Connell: @OConnell_IntLaw
Aoife O’Donoghue: @aoifemod
Hari M. Osofsky: @HariOsofsky
Aminta Ossom: @AmintaOssom

Elaine Pearson: @PearsonElaine
Nicole Phillips: @BuddhistLawyer

Noëlle Quénivet: @NoelleQuenivet1

Susan Harris Rimmer: @FemInt
Mónica Roa: @MonicaRoa
Sarah Rogerson: @RogersonSarah

Kim Thuy Seelinger: @ktseelinger
Pam Spees: @PamSpees
Margaret Stock: @MargaretDStock
Staci Strobl: @Staci_Strobl

Jessica Tillipman: @JTillipman
Kellie Toole: @KellieToole

Beth Van Schaack: @BethVanSchaack
Monika Kalra Varma: @monikakv

Judith Weingarten: @zenobia1
Lesley Wexler: @lesley_wexler

Pamela Yates: @pameladyates

statueIn anticipation of the 100th anniversary of women’s formal entry into the British legal profession, two scholars invite others to join them in a Women’s Legal Landmarks Project.

This multiyear project aims to produce, via a series of workshops to be held in Britain and Ireland, 1,000-to-6,000-word essays on women’s achievements in the law. An excerpt from the call for interest produced by the organizers, Professor Rosemary Auchmuty, University of Reading School of Law, and Professor Erika Rackley, Durham Law School:

‘[T]his project aims to bring together interested feminist scholars to engage in the process of identifying and writing about key legal landmarks for women. These might be one or a series of cases, a statute or campaign, an individual, a monument or event. The landmark must be significant for feminists, even if it only had an impact on a group of women. Indeed, it may not have been positive at the time, yet turned out to be a catalyst for change. The landmark may be well-known or less familiar. We are focusing on legal landmarks in the UK and Ireland and hope to cover a broad range of substantive topics. Our goal is the production of a number of outputs celebrating women’s legal history, reaching both a scholarly and a general audience.

‘Possible landmarks could include: the Contagious Diseases Acts 1864-6; the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst in Victoria Tower Gardens; The Well of Loneliness trial; Williams & Glyn’s Bank v Boland [1981]; S41 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act; the appointment of Lady Hale.’

Deadline for 200-word expressions of interest is this Friday, February 7. Details and full call for interest here. (h/t IntLawGrrl Máiréad Enright, University of Kent Law School Lecturer, via her Twitter feed; credit for circa-1930 photo of Pankhurst statue described in passage quoted)

sotu2014Despite the best efforts of pundits and D.C. PR, the State of the Union address this year seemed, well, small.

Perhaps it was because I didn’t watch the speech this year – 1st time in a long time. Just wasn’t up for TV anchors’ “this is Washington’s Oscars” spin as the government’s still-mostly-men file in. (credit for video screengrab) Nor for the up-close-and-personal vignettes that pepper SOTU no less than they soon will Sochi.

As for the text of the speech itself – except for the well-deserved celebration of an end to certain health care injustices – it paled in the gloss of my high-def tablet screen.

President Barack Obama put impressive force into his demand for higher wages for Americans at the bottom of the income rung, to a reverse in the trend of growing economic inequality, to a guarantee of a good job. Impressive, that is, absent the deflating reality revealed on one’s calculator. Obama’s centerpiece solution was a minimum wage of $10.10 an hour. That would bring the annual income of a person who works full-time and gets paid vacation (both unlikely, at this wage scale) to a grand total of $21,008.00. (Note that this is higher than the current income floor.) Given the high cost of living in the United States, one could almost hear the low-wage earner mutter,

‘That and a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card will get me a cup of coffee.’

As the President noted, the mutterer well may be a woman. He said:

‘Today, women make up about half our workforce. But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment.’

Well, yes, it is, and the focus on this issue was inspiring. Or would have been, if Obama’s stated solutions – “equal sbapay for equal work,” “a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent” – weren’t as old as the women’s movement itself. (image credit) Consider this web account:

Susan B. Anthony‘s paper The Revolution, first published in 1868, advocated an eight-hour day and equal pay for equal work.’

In his speech Obama sounded an alarm about “the lives that gun violence steals from us each day,” as he has many times before. (Prior posts here, here, and here) His promise “to keep trying, with or without Congress,” served as a reminder of the difficulty of change.

“Diplomacy” was the SOTU foreign policy buzzword. That is welcome, but did not fully settle the mind given the tense nature of most of the situations mentioned – Iran, the Middle East, Afghanistan. One was struck, too, by the geographic lumping-together of our globe. Joining Africa as an apparently single-country? “The Americas.”

Let’s hope the President’s assertions of optimism prove better founded than this take on yesterday’s address.

carter_church12jan14This time 2 weeks ago, my family, neighbors, and I were in Plains, Georgia, where former President Jimmy Carter taught us Sunday school. Age 89 and still active around the world, Carter does this every Sunday that he’s home in the southern Georgia town where he was born and has lived most of his life. According to the schedule, another group of congregants sits with him at his Maranatha Baptist Church even as I write this post.

Our mid-January visit began with a 3-1/2-hour Saturday drive across a rainy state, then a lovely overnight and elegant breakfast at a majestic, circa-1892 hotel in Americus. By 8:30 Sunday we’d driven 10 miles west, to Plains, and were waiting in line as visitor-friendly Secret Service agents checked our bags and ushered us into the simple church. There Miss Jan, a retired schoolteacher, delivered a wry primer on the history of Plains and the Carter family.

Right at 10 the Carters arrived. The former First Lady, Rosalynn (“It’s pronounced Rose-lun,” Miss Jan had told us), sat in a pew.  The man who’d served as U.S. President from 1977-1981 stood at front. He wore a striped shirt and grey jacket and sported a bolo tie with a turquoise pendant. Carter asked where everyone was from. Georgia, of course. But also Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Washington, not to mention Canada, China, Ireland, and Palestine. At that last, Carter interjected,

‘We go there almost every year, and my heart goes out to all the Palestinian people.’

He talked at length about his 28th book, set to be released this March. The subject, he said, is

‘the horrible plight of women and girls around the world.’

As examples, he spoke of genital mutilation, enforced second-class status, lack of educational opportunities, child marriages, sex-selective abortions, female infanticide, and honor killings. Carter’s move to another topic was halted by one word from the audience: “Jimmy,” spoken with a distinct Plains accent. “Jimmy,” Rosalynn continued,

‘You left out what’s happening in our country.’

me_peanut12jan14The former President flashed the smile for which he’s famous – a smile once captured on campaign buttons, and the foremost feature of the statue at right, which stands along the road not far from the Maranatha church. Carter then elaborated on Western countries, citing the still-low percentages of women in positions of government and the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses. He concluded his account of the global status of women with these words:

‘I think it’s the worst human rights abuse on earth right now, and I hope this book will bring attention to it.’

Carter then donned glasses and read the Bible passage for the week, an Old Testament account of the gratitude that Hannah, despite hard losses, showed to God. Carter mentioned his own loss that week, of “the best friend I had on earth, Robert Pastor.” Pastor, who died at age 66 from colon cancer, had, among other achievements, helped to secure the Senate’s 2/3 approval of the Panama Canal Treaty – “my hardest political battle,” Carter said. Just weeks earlier, the two had co-authored an op-ed suggesting how peace might be brought to Syria. Pastor, Carter told us, was

‘the wisest person on how to bring peace, on how to solve a complicated problem.’

Pastor’s legacy still in mind, Carter returned to Hannah’s story, urging us to give thanks, as Hannah did, for “another day of life,” for the “blessings of freedom,” for being “able to spread to people around us health and safety.”

The uplift and inspiration of his message lingered long after our journey home.

panzaToday Catherine Samba-Panza, a businesswoman turned politician, became President of the Central African Republic. The 1st woman head of state in that country, Samba-Panza joins 2 others in Africa: President Joyce Banda of Malawi and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.

The 135-member National Transitional Council chose Samba-Panza in a runoff held because none of 8 original candidates obtained a majority in the 1st round of voting. The Council voted in the wake of the January 10 resignation of Michel Djotodia, who had seized power in March 2013 and ruled as President for just under a year. In that same time frame, Samba-Panza has served as mayor of Bangui, the capital. (credit for photo by Eric Feferberg/AFP)

The new President faces immense challenges. The Séléka rebellion that brought her predecessor to power eventually morphed into protracted armed violence, between former rebels in that Muslim-led faction and Christian, “anti-Balaka” militias. These armed groups are said to have recruited upwards of 6,000 child soldiers, notwithstanding the international ban on child-soldiering. A fifth of the population – nearly a million persons – has been displaced.

The new President, described as a politically neutral Christian, addressed these troubles in her election speech:

‘I call on my children, especially the anti-balaka, to put down their arms and stop all the fighting. The same goes for the ex-Seleka – they should not have fear. I don’t want to hear any more talk of murders and killings.’

Whether violence will abate in the Central African Republic – a situation-country of the International Criminal Court, to which thousands of U.N. Security Council-authorized international troops are now being deployed – remains to be seen.

maamThe wee hours in Geneva today brought news of an agreement to regulate Iranian nuclear development, blocking nuclear weaponry and easing global sanctions. The agreement’s a victory for what, back in 2007, I dubbed the talking cure – a welcome turn of events after decades in which tensions escalated even as telephone lines remained silent. (It is just 8 weeks since the leaders of Iran and the United States talked for the 1st time in 34 years; just 5 days since the leaders of Iran and Britain talked for the 1st time in a decade.) The European Union-Iran statement on the agreement is here, text of Joint Plan of Action here, and a White House fact sheet is here.

The guy getting credit for all this is a woman. She’s Catherine Ashton, the coal miner’s daughter and onetime activist in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament who’s served since 2009 as the European Union’s 1st-ever High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Ashton’s early days in that post were rocky, but she persevered. She’s been in the trenches negotiating with Iran for years. The Guardian‘s Julian Borger reports that during this week’s diplomatic marathon at Geneva, while other delegates nicked out for pilaf or pizza, “Lady Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief steering the talks, often just made do with bar snacks.” And so today the media are painting Ashton as a hero – “from ‘zero’ to hero,” as the Telegraph of London rather snarkily put it.

Pivotal is the quality that an unnamed Brussels diplomat assigned to Ashton: “emotional intelligence.” There will be need for much of that as leaders work to win approval of the deal in their own states.  Most notably the United States, where some same-day reactions indicate more fondness for the hostile old status quo than for a chance to edge toward a calmer international future.

(credit for above photo of today’s Geneva announcement, depicting a chestnut-suited Ashton flanked by, from left, British Foreign Secretary William Hague, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius)

girlchildlogoEfforts to put an end to attacks on education receive high marks this week – especially today, the 2d annual International Day of the Girl Child, the theme for which is “Innovating for Girls’ Education.”

Just yesterday, in Resolution 2120 on Afghanistan, the U.N. Security Council focused on threats to education amid armed conflict:

Expressing its serious concern with the high number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, in particular women and children, the increasingly large majority of which are caused by Taliban, Al-Qaida and other afgviolent and extremist groups and illegal armed groups, condemning in the strongest terms the high number of attacks targeting schools, including their burning and forced closure, their use by armed groups, and the intimidation, abduction and killing of education personnel, particularly those attacks targeting girls’ education by armed groups including the Taliban ….’

It reiterated that concern in a later paragraph devoted to the harms children endure in armed conflict – a child-protection paragraph that is both welcome and new to the Council’s Afghanistan resolutions. (h/t David Koller of WatchList; credit for 2009 AP photo, above, of Afghan schoolgirl) Addressing matters outlined in the U.N. report on which I previously posted, the inclusion reflects a concerted effort by multiple U.N. entities – including the Council’s own Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict and the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict – and nongovernmental organizations – including those that form the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack.

fbThe education of children, particularly girls, is a goal that the International Criminal Court Prosecutor underscored in a statement she issued last year, on the 1st Day of the Girl Child. (photo credit) Speaking of her intention to continue to consider the experiences of children in and affected by armed conflict (since December, the mandate on which I have the honor of advising her), ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said:

‘The women of the future, the young girls of the world, should not be deprived of their fundamental human right to play and learn and enjoy being children.’

Giving eloquent voice to that thought earlier this week was 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai, victim of an assassination attempt a year ago, in her home region in Pakistan – an attempt made because she had blogged and spoken out in favor of girls’ education. She survived and has thrived as a forceful, global advocate for this worthy cause, as recognized by her new book and her receipt yesterday of the European Union’s Sakharov Prize malalafor Freedom of Thought. In a Daily Show interview Tuesday, she spoke of some of the world’s ills – war, repression, child labor – and then concluded:

‘Issues and problems are enormous. But the solution is one. And that is education.’