Tuesday, July 22, 2008


United Nations Security Council resolution on rape as a war tactic: an analysis by Rights & Democracy
On June 19, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution classifying rape as a weapon of war and a threat to international security. The crucial issue now is whether this resolution will actually contribute to international efforts to end sexual violence committed against women in the context of war.
Rights & Democracy, which has been at the forefront of international efforts to see sexual violence recognized as a weapon of war, believes the Security Council resolution is an important step toward this goal for the following reasons:
Acts of sexual violence committed before and after a war are now part of peace and security issues that could be brought before the Security Council;
The resolution allows the Security Council to intervene in situations where the extent or level of sexual violence requires such intervention;
The resolution excludes crimes of sexual violence from amnesty accords as part of peace negotiations and underlines the importance of ending impunity for such crimes;
Requests that the United Nations Secretary-General submit a report to the Security Council by June 30, 2009, on the application of the resolution in conjunction with situations of war brought before the Security Council.
Rights & Democracy will be monitoring the implementation of this resolution closely, especially in the context of its ongoing work on sexual violence in Burma and the Rights & Democracy-coordinated
Coalition for Women’s Human Rights in Conflict Situation’s work in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Established in 1996, the Coalition works to:
(…) ensure that crimes committed against women in conflict situations are adequately examined and prosecuted. The main focus of the Coalition’s work is to promote the adequate prosecution of perpetrators of crimes of gender violence in transitional justice systems based in Africa, in order to create precedents that recognise violence against women in conflict situations and help find ways to obtain justice for women survivors of sexual violence.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Since 1987, Nancy Pelosi has represented California's Eighth District in the House of Representatives. The Eighth District includes most of the City of San Francisco including Golden Gate Park, Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, and many of the diverse neighborhoods that make San Francisco a vibrant and prosperous community.Overwhelmingly elected by her colleagues in the fall of 2002 as Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi is the first woman in American history to lead a major party in the U.S. Congress. Before being elected Leader, she served as House Democratic Whip for one year and was responsible for the party's legislative strategy in the House. On January 4, 2007, Nancy Pelosi was elected Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.
Legislative Record
As a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, Pelosi fought for America's families. She has been a leader in increasing educational opportunity, protecting workers, and promoting health care, including women's health and the creation of a nationwide health tracking network to examine the links between environmental pollutants and chronic disease. She has been a strong proponent of increased investments in health research, and has secured funding to double the budget for the National Institutes of Health. Pelosi also has successfully defeated repeated attempts to reduce funding for international family planning programs.
One of Pelosi's first legislative victories was the creation of the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS program. She has also worked to accelerate development of an HIV vaccine, expand access to Medicaid for people living with HIV, and increase funding for the Ryan White CARE Act, the Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative and other programs vital to people living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS.
Pelosi also successfully increased access to health insurance for people with disabilities by ensuring continuation of their health care coverage. She was instrumental in passing legislation to assist nonprofit organizations in the creation of affordable housing.
As a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence for 10 years (the longest continuous period of service in the committee's history) including two years as the Ranking Democrat, Pelosi worked to ensure that policymakers and military commanders are provided with the timely and accurate intelligence necessary to guide diplomatic initiatives, succeed in combat, and protect U.S. military forces.
In meetings around the world with U.S. and foreign intelligence leaders, Pelosi has urged for greater attention to the threats to international security posed by the proliferation of technologies associated with the weapons of mass destruction and global terrorism.
In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Pelosi led congressional reviews of the U.S. intelligence and security agencies and authored legislation to create an independent national commission to assess the overall performance of the federal government before, during, and after the attacks.
Pelosi has long been an advocate for human rights around the world. She has fought to improve China's human rights record, attempting to tie trade to increased human rights standards. She has also been a leader on efforts to free the people of Tibet.
A leader on the environment at home and abroad, Pelosi secured passage of a provision in the International Development and Finance Act of 1989 which requires the World Bank and all the regional multilateral development banks to review the potential environmental impacts of development projects for which they provide funding and to make these environmental assessments publicly available. Known as the "Pelosi Amendment," it has become a significant tool for indigenous, nongovernmental organizations around the world.
Pelosi has also served on the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (Ethics) and the Banking and Financial Services Committee. She has chaired the Congressional Working Group on China and has served on the Executive Committee of the Democratic Study Group.
Personal Story
Pelosi hails from a strong family tradition of public service. Her father, Thomas D'Alesandro, Jr., served as Mayor of Baltimore for 12 years, after representing the city for five terms in Congress. Her brother, Thomas D'Alesandro III, also served as Mayor of Baltimore.
Pelosi graduated from Trinity College in Washington, D.C. in 1962. Pelosi and her husband, Paul Pelosi, a native of San Francisco, have five children: Nancy Corinne, Christine, Jacqueline, Paul and Alexandra, and six grandchildren.