Visions & recommandations for the new UN WOMEN gender agency

Posted February 23, 2011 from Switzerland

For UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet

The SURGIR Foundation was established in 2001. Our purpose is to fight extreme forms of violence towards young girls and women, and more specifically “Honour Killings” in the Middle East, in Central Asia and more recently in Europe. To move towards our goal, we have implemented three types of programmes:

  1. Prevention programmes and direct aid in various countries We manage programmes in partnership with local associations run by women. These programmes aim to change the legal framework for a better protection of women, increase the population’s awareness of honour related violence and help threatened women.

Currently implemented programmes:

• Jordan, Protection and rehabilitation of young women threatened of “Honour Killings” • Palestine, Education for underprivileged children for their rights and improvement of parent-child relationships • Israel, Prevention of violence in Israeli Arab Communities • Israel, Support groups for female victims of sexual violence • India, Support, rehabilitation and defence of burnt women

  1. Rescue programme in Switzerland In extreme cases, when young girls or women (sometimes with their children) are already hurt or in a life threatening situation and cannot find the help or support they need on-site, the SURGIR Foundation arranges their transfer towards Europe where they will benefit from a humanitarian permit. The Foundation then sets out to accompany the beneficiaries until they are autonomous (through financial, psychological and social support).

  2. Promoting women’s rights at the United Nations Our Foundation is a member of ECOSOC and CONGO (Conference of Non- Governmental Organisations). This allows us to bring women’s voices to the International Community’s attention and to lobby countries for them to work more intensively towards respecting women’s rights and reducing violence against women.

Based on our experience, we consider further efforts should be made to:

• Increase resources for women’s associations who fight violence towards women. • Improve possibilities to find a shelter in another country for women whose lives are threatened. • Build more shelters and train the collaborators to mediate between beneficiaries and their families

Seeing as today these customary forms of violence, which only took place in traditional geographic areas until recently, have now been spreading to other parts of the world through migration (this is especially the case for Honour Killings), the means to fight these forms of violence should also be enforced in Europe and elsewhere. We consider our main focus should be prevention directed towards professional and political stakeholders.

Please find enclosed a declaration regarding Honour Killings we sent to ECOSOC in June 2010.


Jacqueline Thibault Présidente The SURGIR Fondation Lausanne, Switzerland

As the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women officially begins its work this month, World Pulse is asking women worldwide: What is YOUR vision and recommendation for UN Women? We invite you to raise your voice by writing a letter to UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet outlining your recommendation for how this new UN agency can truly affect change on the ground to promote gender equality and uphold the rights and needs of women both on a local and global scale. Learn more:

UN Women: Visions and Recommendations

Comments 1

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  • Jade Frank
    Feb 24, 2011
    Feb 24, 2011

    Dear Jacqueline,

    Thank you so much for speaking up for women victims of honor killings, and sharing both the outline of your work, as well as what's needed from UN Women to ensure the success of grassroots initiatives. It is an honor to have your voice included in our campaign and I look forward to learning more about the SURGIR Foundation.

    I am currently working to compile your letters and share your voices with the GEAR Campaign, who have been working closely with UN Women to ensure the inclusion of civil society groups, and through the PulseWire community, grassroots women leaders, as they set their agenda. We will also be sending your letters directly to Michele Bachelet and other senior leaders of the newly formed UN agency, to demonstrate the effectiveness for sourcing opinion, knowledge and needs from the global grassroots women's movement through our online community. Through this, we hope to open a portal for our community to have a direct line of influence within the UN Women agency.

    I will keep you updated on the progress of our campaign!

    In friendship and solidarity, Jade