BPW NZ advocate to alleviate the suffering of the women of Palestine.

On Mon, Aug 18, 2014 at 3:53 PM, Vicky Mee <vickymmee@gmail.com> wrote:

To the Executive,

International Federation of Business and Professional Women,

It is with great sadness and anguish that we watch the terrible conflict in Gaza from faraway New Zealand. Our members are asking what stand our International Federation is taking to help alleviate the suffering of the women of Palestine.

Given that our External International resolutions includes the following resolution we respectfully ask that we use our resources to ensure our voice as women is heard.


RESOLVED that BPW International and Affiliates should strongly urge the United Nations to establish a machinery to monitor the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and help in the protection of women who are victims of violence caused by wars, conflicts, and disputes wherever they may occur, so that this machinery can contribute to the peace and stability of the world community as follows

  1. provide early warnings to the nations, regions and communities concerned in order to prevent women from serious physical and mental damage
  2. create a network for organisations and agencies concerned with the protection of women in order to facilitate the sharing of information.
  3. strongly urge each government to recognise the situation of women victims and to support the functioning of this monitoring machinery in terms of personnel and/or financial assistance.
  4. support in their own countries the introduction of methods of non-violent resolution in all schools and other educational organisations and the introduction of other prevention programmes to reduce the use of violence in all forms, and
  5. research in their own countries the adequacy of facilities and support available to all victims of torture and other traumas.

We also refer to the United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 adopted unanimously on 31 October 2000.  This requires parties to a conflict to respect women’s rights and to support their participation in peace negotiations and in post-conflict reconstruction.

BPW New Zealand are concerned that Gaza has been a prison for the last seven years. The blockade has destroyed the Gazan economy, and the same blockade now prevents people fleeing from Gaza to safety. The people cannot even exercise their right to become refugees by crossing the border to escape the fighting.

Protection of women and their families is vital.  We ask that the International Federation of BPW add our voice, on behalf of all women, to the international groundswell of opinion to help bring some security into the lives of Gazan women.

Kind regards,

Vicky Mee

BPW NZ President

Contact Details:
New Zealand Federation of Business & Professional Women (BPW New Zealand)
PO Box 28 326, Remuera, Auckland 1136, New Zealand
P:  +64 9 238 1045   M:  +64 211168948

E:  president@bpwnz.org.nz or vickymmee@gmail.com

Website:  www.bpwnz.org.nz


21 August, 2014.

As many of you, we stand appalled and horrified by the plight of the innocent in Gaza in this latest round of violence.

The current events are, unfortunately, the third similar round of violence since the implementation, by Israel, of the Gaza Blockade in 2007. The blockade maintained severe restrictions on movement of goods into The Gaza Strip by land, sea, and air, while imposing severe economic sanctions and energy restrictions. The results have been devastating on Gaza’s economy.

A 2008 UNRWA report on the effect of the blockade noted that more than 50% of Gaza’s families lived below the poverty line. A May 2010 UNDP report estimated that unemployment was at about 40%. By 2011 the UNRWA reported that 60% of Gaza’s households are “food insecure or vulnerable to food insecurity”.

The blockade has also a profound effect on Gaza’s fishing industry, which once represented 4% of the Palestinian economy. The International Committee of the Red Cross now estimates that 90% of Gaza’s 4000 fishermen are now considered poor or very poor (earning less than 200 dollars a month).

The Gaza Strip is bordered from the south by the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula .The Rafah Crossing between Egypt and Gaza remains was closed between 2007 and 2010, and again since August 2013

Since the start of this current round of hostilities, over 270,000 residents of Gaza have been displaced, most of whom took shelter at the UNRWA schools. Electricity remains very scarce (2 hours daily). Water supply and sanitation have become a challenge.

It is against this background that the ongoing plight of the citizens of The Gaza Strip has to be understood. As is the case in similar conflicts, women and children have borne the brunt of the war and its price. As of the time of writing this letter, the death toll in Gaza has surpassed 2080. According to the UNICEF, about 469 children have been killed, with more than 370,000 Palestinian children requiring “immediate psychological aid”.

BPW International adds its voice to that of the UN, and the international community in strongly condemning the seemingly indiscriminate targeting of civilians, even while under the protection of the UN facilities. We strongly urge all warring parties to consider an immediate cease of hostilities and a rapid return to dialogue, while also addressing the root causes of the conflict.

The role of women in peacebuilding remains very critical. As family caretakers, and educators women are poised to play a natural role in peacebuilding, and in immunizing their families against fundamentalism. This effort is, as expected, hindered by the many known obstacles such as extreme poverty, poor education, lack of economic opportunity, and others. Despite that, many women in the region, and from both sides, remain committed to peace and dialogue.

BPW International encourages all peacebuilding efforts, especially when driven by women. BPW recommends the full inclusion of women in any short or long term peace talks. We also refer to the United Nations Security Council resolutions 1325 and 1889 that “stresses the importance of women’s equal and full participation as active agents in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace-building and peacekeeping.”

Dr.  Yasmin Darwich


BPW International 2014-2017


From: YASMIN DARWICH [mailto:yasdar@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, 25 August 2014 8:14 p.m.
To: Vicky Mee
Cc: Arzu Ozyol; Gail Littin; Susan Jones Regional Coordinator Asia Pacific; President´s Office 2014-2017
Subject: Re: Action over protection of women in Gaza

Dear President VIcky Mee:

Thank you for your email about the situation in Gaza, and your concern for the terrible situation the women in Palestine are undergoing.   You are not alone.  Most of the world shares your concerns.   The terrible situation in Gaza should awaken the conscience of everybody all the same, whatever their religion or ideology.

I would like to share with you, that as you may know, I am Mexican, but my background is from Lebanon.  Both my parents were Lebanese.   My father was Muslim and my mother was Catholic.  The most wonderful thing they thought me was the respect for the different beliefs, and the ability to live in harmony regardless of your difference in opinion and beliefs.

I have taken the liberty of writing a letter which I hope will serve as a sample to our UN representatives so they can make a formal presentation on behalf of BPW International on this terrible situation.  Attached please find a copy of my letter.

Again, I appreciate your message on behalf of the members of BPW New Zealand.  Please extend my sincere regards to all of them.

With my best wishes,


Dr. Yasmin Darwich
International President
BPW International

Skype: ydarwich

“Making a Difference Through Leadership and Action”

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