10 March – 21 March 2014: 58th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) a Report

Tsung Su

The 58th Session of the CSW convened in New York City from March 10th to the 21st , focusing on the priority theme of “ Challenges and developments in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for Women and Girls”. MDGs, with an 8-point programme , was initiated by the UN in 2000 as a direct outgrowth of the Millennium Declaration.

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PEN International 10th Writer’s In Prison Committee (WiPC)

Notes from Krakow Conference, 14-17 May 2013
by Dennis Conroy

Representing the Chicago Network and San Miguel PEN Center

Writers in Prison Committee Chair, Marian Botsford Fraser’s conference notes, published in the PEN International Weekly Newsletter, provided a reflection on the conference in its entirety. These notes represent a more detailed summary of conference sessions and private discussions devoted to Mexico in particular and Latin America in general.

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Murder by Another Name


Murder by Another Name
by Lucina Kathmann

[Photo: The sculpture in the memorial park, as mandated by the conditions of the judgment of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.]

Since the United Nations' Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 an issue has been newly identified, feminicide (or femicide), gender-related murder. Bride-burnings and honor killings are feminicides, so are the Women of Juárez.

The First Period of Feminicides in Ciudad Juárez

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PEN International’s Oral Statement at the 57th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women

[Statement delivered by Lucina T. Kathmann before the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women Thursday 14 March 2013. Kathmann is an international vice president of PEN and a board member of Chicago Network for Justice and Peace.]

PEN International is the world’s leading association of writers. We work to defend freedom of expression and to promote literature. Our global network of 145 Centres is active in over 100 countries and our Women Writers Committee works directly with writers including journalists, poets, novelists, translators and bloggers.

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PEN Honors Writers in Prison

by Lucina Kathmann

Thursday, November 15, is Writers in Prison Day. To highlight the continuing worldwide struggle for freedom of expression, PEN International has selected cases of writers in five different regions of the world.

Regina Martínez, Mexico

In México today, no writers languish in prison for what they have written. However, many journalists are dead, like Regina Martínez, whose body was found beaten and strangled at her home in Xalapa,Veracruz, on April 28 of this year. Martínez wrote on drugs and organized crime for Proceso magazine. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, four journalists were murdered in that state alone between April 15 and June 15 of this year. The Veracruz state government has been slow or reluctant to investigate their deaths. Nobody has been arrested.

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Battlefront Mexico: March 2012

by Lucina Kathmann

[Lucina Kathmann is a US citizen who has lived in Mexico since 1978. She has recently traveled in the Mexico/US border area to investigate the situation she analyzes in this article.]

Mexico is in an undeclared civil war. It is not ideological, and there are not two clear sides fighting each other. It started out as a struggle among armed groups for territory, especially along drug smuggling routes from Mexico to the United States, the principal drug market.

In December 2006 newly elected President Felipe Calderón declared “war on drugs,” that is, on all the groups of drug smugglers who were fighting among themselves. He reasoned that since all the local police forces were in the service of one gang or another, he would send in a fresh force, people directly under his control without local ties. He sent in the army to the hotspots.

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The 56th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) convened in New York City on Febrary 27th for its annual two- week conference, focusing on the priority theme of “the empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, development and current challenges.” The 1995 Beijing Platform for Action stresses the importance of policies and implementing mechanisms to improve the life and circumstances of rural women. Their access to education, resources, land use, credit, health care, technology and employment are areas of concern and emphasis. The defining treaty of women’s human rights--

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Journalists and Mexico at Risk

by Pat Hirschl and Lucina Kathmann

“For every 100 crimes committed in Mexico, only three are charged, fewer than two come before a judge. Perpetrators get away with murder. They get away with kidnapping and extortion. They get away with everything,” noted UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)’s searing report to the August 25 and 26 Conferencia Hemisferica Universitaria in Puebla. The UNAM report continued, “even though formal advances have been made in human rights recognition, much more must be done to establish effective means to defend those rights.”

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A Visit to Isla Trinitaria – Guayaquil – Ecuador

by Martha Neira July 2011
In July 2011, I had the opportunity to visit the “Cooperativa Desarrollo Comunal” (Cooperative of Community Development) and I met with its founder and executive director, Father Simon Jogendra Kumar Mahish. This project is part of the KAIROS foundation and supported by the Somascos order of priests.

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9th International Writers in Prison Committee Conference, Brussels 24 March-27 March 2011


Dennis Conroy
Member, San Miguel de Allende PEN Centre
Representing, Chicago Network for Justice and Peace

A pre-conference gathering was held on 24 March in the Brussels Town Hall at which delegates were addressed by Mr. Freddy Thielemans, Lord Mayor of Brussels and other dignitaries. Immediately afterward, delegates dined together at a nearby restaurant and participated in the “Forbidden Books” presentation as part of a Passa Porta Festival public event. The Passa Porta Festival (held every day of the WiPC Conference) hosted a hundred “odd encounters, talks and debates with well-and lesser-known authors.”

Over the course of four days, the open and celebratory presentations and dialogues with writers from around the world were in stark juxtaposition with the PEN conference focus of urgent and sustained intervention on behalf of countless writers world-wide who are imprisoned, threatened, disappeared and murdered.

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