06 August 2009, Bali, Indonesia
We are pleased to announce that the first South East Asia Court of Women on HIV and Human Trafficking: from Vulnerability to Free, Just and Safe Movement will be held in Bali, Indonesia on 6 August 2009. The Court of Women is organised in conjunction with the 9th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP), which will be held from 9-13 August 2009.
The Regional Court, organised jointly by UNDP and the Asian Women’s Human Rights Council (AWHRC), is a major partnership initiative with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), United Nations Inter- Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP), Asia Pacific Network of People living with HIV (APN+) and Yakeba. It will bring together leaders, activists and communities who are working to make a difference to empower women and reduce their vulnerability to trafficking and HIV.
We write seeking your support and solidarity for the Court and also to invite your possible participation.
The South east Asia Court of Women, is a symbolic as well as a sacred space for testimonies of affected women from the Southeast Asia region. Our range of testimonies come from various sectors - HIV positive women, trafficked women, entertainment and sex workers, domestic and factory workers, other migrant women.
Through personal testimonies of violence and of resistance, analyses of expert witnesses and inspiring vision statements of a jury of women and men of wisdom, the Court will seek to understand the increasing vulnerability of women and communities associated with HIV and human trafficking in the context of the current patterns of globalisation and governance that are leading to the destruction, and devaluation of livelihoods and life systems of entire communities of people in the global south; the increasing restriction on mobility due to concerns of national security; the absolute erosion of all notions of rights or dignity for the survivors of the violence of trafficking and of abuse of migrant workers rights and of people living with HIV/AIDS.
Human trafficking and HIV are serious issues of concern globally. It is estimated that South- East Asia contributes one third of the total global figures for human trafficking. Countries in the region are source, transit and destination areas for human trafficking.
Women’s multi-layered vulnerability is exploited by traffickers. The slavery-like working conditions of trafficked women undermine their rights and may increase their vulnerability to HIV infection. Unsafe migration practices also may lead to physical and sexual abuse of women and the conditions in the informal and unregulated employment sectors may further increase their vulnerability.
Both HIV/AIDS and human trafficking are becoming serious threats to the health, dignity and lives of girls and women within and across the region. There is a need for effective policy to address the critical link between HIV and human trafficking.
It is essential that the linkages between HIV and human trafficking be viewed and addressed through the prism of dignity, access to justice, health and human security of individuals and communities. It is in this context the South East Asia Court of Women on HIV and Human Trafficking: from Vulnerability to Free, Just and Safe Movement will seek to understand and respond in more effective and creative ways to the nexus between HIV and human trafficking and increasing vulnerability of women.
The Court will comprise of:
The Court itself on August 6 that will hear the testimonies of women survivors and resistors to violence against women. We have been able to finally gather some 22 testifiers from the countries of Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and women from the Thai-Burma border. The very specific text and textures of the individual testimonies of survival and resistance will be woven together with reflections on crucial issues related to the dominant discourse of politics and knowledge systems that is creating conditions of extreme vulnerability and violence for a majority of the peoples and communities the world over.
The follow up meeting following the court on August 7, which will discuss the concrete way to go forward taking the primary issues that emerge the Court.
Please do send your message of solidarity (in your letterhead, if possible) by 30h of July 2009 to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, so that we can acknowledge you / your organisation at the Court through our publications, video and reports of the Court.
We thank you for the strength and encouragement that your solidarity gives us.
With warm regards
Courts of Women, AWHRC/El Taller International
Ms. Caitlin Wiesen
Regional HIV Practice Leader & Programme Coordinator for Asia & Pacific, UNDP Regional Centre Colombo
Southeast Asia Court of Women