Canada is Free and Freedom is Its Nationality

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Things I didn't know about gender and terrorism

Martin Scheinin, a special rapporteur for the U.N.'s Human Rights Council, filed his report in August after six months of studying the "complex relationship between gender equality and countering terrorism." Fox News

What I want to know is why Wikipedia isn't facing a lawsuit because over 80% of the contributors are men. Surely there has got to be a case for something there.

Taken from the report in random order:

In police interrogations of terrorism suspects in France “men are asked their views on women’s equality” and “[w]omen who wear a religious headdress are invariably asked why” they do.68
Such terrorist-profiling practices are discriminatory because they equate gender
inequality with persons of a certain race, national or ethnic origin or religion and
predict that males from these groups are more likely to be terrorists.69

Well I'll be.... Just can't have that now can we. Double points for anyone who can actually follow his tortured logic.

Full disclosure. As a Christian woman I wear a headcovering. Believe me, it profiles you (in our area as a Mennonite, which I am not). I don't pretend that doesn't mark me as a hard-core religious person. If I was suspected of terrorism, that might be a relevant question to ask. The difference between a Mennonite and an Islamic fundamentalist headcovering is huge (for one thing Mennonites believe in non-resistance).

30. Counter-terrorism measures have had impermissible gendered collateral effects
that are often neither acknowledged nor compensated.46 Indeed, enforced
disappearances of male detainees in the name of countering terrorism have had
“special resonance”47 for female family members, who bear the burden of anxiety,
harassment, social exclusion and economic hardship occasioned by the loss of the
male breadwinner.48 Similar effects ensue from the prolonged detention without
trial of male family members,49 the practice of extraordinary rendition,50 and forced
deportations of male family members, undermining the enjoyment of economic,
social and cultural rights, such as the right to adequate housing,51 and the right to
family life.

(i) To recognize and compensate the human rights violations, including of
economic, social and cultural rights, of family members of those individuals who
have been disappeared, or subjected to “extraordinary rendition” or to prolonged
detention in the name of countering terrorism;

Maybe I'm some kinda radical but you know this here just has me confused. I'm havin' trouble figurin' out what the difference is between lockin' up a murderer and a terrorist. I mean we have people all over this country in jail for lots of different things and ya know? I didn't know that was a human rights violation on the family. I mean just wow. Thinka all the billions of lawsuits that could create. Funny thing, no one ever mentioned somethin' else. Those men could avoid doing things that might get em locked up. Might make life easier on the women-folk.

26. Rightly, the Security Council has identified gender-based violence, particularly
sexual violence, in armed conflict and humanitarian crisis as a major concern for the
international community through resolutions 1820 (2008), 1674 (2006), 1539 (2004),
1460 (2003), 1325 (2000) and on other occasions. Most recently, in resolution
1820 (2008), the Security Council stressed that sexual violence, when used or commissioned as a tactic of war in order to deliberately target civilians or as a part
of a widespread or systematic attack against civilian populations, can significantly
exacerbate situations of armed conflict and may impede the restoration of
international peace and security. In the light of all of the above, the Special
Rapporteur supports the conclusion of the International Commission of Jurists
Eminent Jurists Panel on Terrorism, Counter-terrorism and Human Rights, that the
use of a “war paradigm” to counter terrorism has undermined human rights and
should be abandoned.34

You know, this here just bothers me. We're talking about gender-related violence in armed conflict (undeniable, men seem to spend a lot of time shooting at men just because they are men. Yes and rape increases too I know) Then we talk about the systematic use of rape (I assume) to damage a community. Then they conclude with the necessity for abandoning the "war paradigm" in counter terrorism. Is it my imagination or do these three topics have almost nothing to do with each other?

Yes everything bad increases in a war zone. So we abandon the "war paradigm". Question: Is there any compelling reason to keep the war paradigm and what happens if our enemies don't abandon that paradigm? It's a debatable question but one that needs to be debated, not stated.

Some people use rape to systematically oppress communities. Why this is connected to abandoning the war paradigm I can't imagine. Except as a compelling reason to keep the war paradigm and use it against the people who do that kind of thing. Note: do they really think the people who do that will stop because Geneva says so? If they do I recommend a reputable psychiatrist, preferably one with experience in egomania.

I am of course curious to know what option they recommend instead? Community education? Make that a good psychiatrist with experience in egomania and drug-induced delusions.

Anyway why are we taking practices in places like Algeria and using that as a reason why we should abandon a world-wide model? Seems to make about as much sense as pointing out corruption in one tiny place and positing that we should do away with all government.

For example, the United Kingdom anti-radicalization initiatives seeking to include Muslim women as counter-terrorism agents on the basis of their position “at the heart not only of their communities but also of their families”,56 may reinforce stereotypical gender norms about roles of women within the family. Instead, participation should be grounded on principles of gender equality, recognizing the unique gendered impacts of both terrorism and counter-terrorism measures. Additionally, counter-terrorism measures that are characterized as being a fight for women’s rights (such as the United States portrayal of its “war on terror” in Afghanistan in 2001)57 should be closely
scrutinized, to ensure that they are not misinformed by gender-cultural stereotypes and are actually responsive to the concerns of women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex individuals in local contexts.

Imagine the horror, (Cue tense moment while I faint gracefully into the arms of the leading man behind me. Oh let me guess, stereotype. Try again, this time I catch leading man. We tumble onto floor. Hmph, they must hate it when stereotypes turn out to be correct.) Women are at the heart of their homes and communities. What an evil image. But you know, I kinda like it. (Cue evil laugh) Now I get the thrilling adrenalin rush of evil. Wow, is this what Al Capone felt like all the time?

40. In previous reports, the Special Rapporteur has drawn attention to his concerns
about the lack of human rights safeguards in the listing of terrorist entities and
application of “control orders”, particularly in the light of the burdens that such
measures place on listed individuals or controlled persons.77 These sanction
regimes78 and control orders also have both direct and indirect impacts on the
human rights of third parties, particularly female family members. In the United
Kingdom, control orders and sanctions directly impact women, who, for example
may have their bank accounts separately monitored and experience limits on their
normal family life through conditions such as those that restrict who can enter the
family home.79 The indirect impacts on women are numerous and include serious
economic hardship, acute levels of mental and physical distress, and in some cases,
family separation because of the immense psychological burden of the control order
and sanctions on all family members.80

You know, I think the actions of thieves adversely affect my well-being and human rights. After all, people lock their doors. I can't just walk into a shop, take whatever I want, and leave the money on the counter at any time of the day or night. Horrible.

Crime affects you. It affects your family. This is a basic thing that no one is going to be able to get around.

By the way, I'll bet this affects men in the household as well.

42. The Special Rapporteur is also concerned that terrorism financing laws that
restrict donations to non-profit organizations have particularly impacted
organizations that promote gender equality, including women’s rights organizations.
The small-scale and grassroots nature of such organizations means that they present
a greater “risk” to foreign donors who are increasingly choosing to fund a limited
number of centralized, large-scale organizations for fear of having their charitable
donations stigmatized as financing of, or material support to, terrorism.81 At the
same time, as divergent voices within their communities, it is precisely this foreign
funding on which women’s rights organizations may be particularly dependent to
achieve their objectives.82 The need to ensure accessible, safe and effective
channels for donation to such organizations is particularly acute in situations of
humanitarian crisis, which, as noted earlier, often have disproportionate impacts on
women and girls.

I can see it now Association for Equal Opportunity Suicide Bombers: Because Martyrs Come in All Genders.

Anyone ever consider the saying "hard cases make bad law"? Come to think of it, that doesn't apply. This isn't a hard case.

46. While women are victims of terrorism and counter-terrorism measures, they
may also be volitional actors in both terrorist entities and counter-terrorism
measures. The Special Rapporteur reiterates that ignoring women as potential
terrorists undermines the ability of counter-terrorism measures to identify terrorism
suspects88 and may serve to promote the recruitment of female terrorists.89

Because we wouldn't want to stereotype men... This is probably true to a limited point but it is going to be popular like poisoned swamp water with women in these areas. Now they can face just as much harassment and suspicion as men. Watch the teary-eyed thank yous come rolling in.

48. Counter-terrorism measures disproportionately affect women and transgender
asylum-seekers, refugees and immigrants in specific ways. For example, enhanced
immigration controls that focus attention on male bombers who may be dressing as
females to avoid scrutiny101 make transgender persons susceptible to increased
harassment and suspicion.102 Similarly, counter-terrorism measures that involve
increased travel document security,103 such as stricter procedures for issuing,
changing and verifying identity documents, risk unduly penalizing transgender persons whose personal appearance and data are subject to change.104 This
jeopardizes the right of persons of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities
to recognition before the law. In this regard, the Yogyakarta Principles on the
application of international human rights law in relation to sexual orientation and
gender identity identify that States must “ensure that procedures exist whereby all
State-issued identity papers which indicate a person’s gender/sex … reflect the
person’s profound self-defined gender identity”.105

No comment. Sometimes you just have to sit back and let the words dance by themselves.

49. The Special Rapporteur is concerned that increased travel restrictions have
also involved the inclusion of entire families on “no-fly” lists,106 which unduly
penalizes family relationships and undermines the enjoyment of human rights such
as the right to freedom of movement. Alongside these measures that restrict
movement, the Special Rapporteur also notes that the counter-terrorism strategy of
empowering law enforcement agencies to enforce immigration rules may also deter
immigrant women experiencing abuse (such as domestic violence) from seeking
police protection because they fear that they, or their family members, may be

Not sure that I want to live in a world where flying is a human right.

There is also troubling evidence that counter-terrorism activities have
actually heightened the trafficking in women and girls through the increased
presence of military forces114 and burgeoning insecurity and poverty (e.g., as in

Why don't we just admit that this is an anti-Iraqi war paper and get it over with. Now that may well be a legitimate position to take, but it is not legitimate to take it based on one fact taken in the short term and taken out of context. This may well be true and is a cause for great concern if it is. But is the short term damage of war greater or lesser than the long term damage of a bad peace? Depends. What the equation is in Iraq I don't know. I do know it is more complicated than our friend would have us believe.

(c) To end impunity for all direct and collateral gender-based human rights
violations in the name of countering terrorism, including economic, social and
cultural rights violations, and provide redress for victims, including through
reparations schemes that are non-discriminatory and equality-enhancing and provide
recognition for all forms of gendered harms, including for victims targeted on the
basis of sexual orientation and gender identity;

When he defines for me "collateral", "cultural rights", "reparations schemes", and "gendered harms" as they are used in this passage I will attempt to answer it. Until then it reads like another Section 13 or Mary Poppins magic spoon. Whatever you want to come out of it is what comes out.

(q) To recognize the role of women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender
and intersex individuals as stakeholders and the benefit of including contextual
feminist perspectives in the design and implementation of counter-terrorism measures
and in combating terrorism, as well as the role of men in ensuring gender equality.

The day they recognize the "benefit of including contexual feminist perspectives in the design and implementation of counter-terrorism measures" is the day that the world goes mad. This has probably already happened.

Fox News adds (excerpted quotes)

Critics say the suggestions are part of an "absolutely insane" agenda at the U.N. that too often seems intent on undermining efforts to blot out terrorism across the globe.....

Show me one sane thing the UN has done in recent years and I'll show you an anomaly.

It does not strike me as ridiculous ... to look at policies through the lens of gender," said Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

No it just strikes everyone else in the world as ridiculous to put women's lives at risk in the name of gender security.

Wittes noted that gender issues — including the Taliban's vicious treatment of women — have made it virtually impossible for Western nations and Pakistan to have normal relations with the Taliban.

"That's not an inconsiderable criticism — it's a valid criticism," he said. But Wittes added that to place "gender rights at the center of (counterterrorism policy) is kind of an absurd proposition" that he said made the report ridiculous.

I know other words for it but my Mother says ladies don't use them.

Schienen did not return requests for comment.

Sometimes even idiots can get smart.

London, of the Hudson Institute, said that it was hopeless to look for moral guidance from a body composed of some of the world's most brutal and repressive regimes, including Saudi Arabia and China.

"The Human Rights Council and the nations that are represented on it, they're clearly involved in human rights violations," London told "They're going to be the arbiters of human rights?"

I wonder what China's transgender forced abortion policy is?

"There might have been value in a report that addressed how counterterrorism efforts interact with the rights of women," said Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council.

"But by burdening this report with these extreme forms of social engineering, it makes the report kind of laughable."

The good thing? No one takes any notice of the United Nations unless they want to. The Human Rights Council certainly doesn't so why should any of us lesser mortals blink an eye?

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