Coalition for Women's Human Rights in Conflict Situations

About the Coalition - Current members of the Coalition’s working group

Coalition working group members at the annual coordination meeting in October 2004The working group of the Coalition for Women’s Human Rights in Conflict Situations is comprised of lawyers, legal scholars, women’s rights activists and non-governmental organisations concerned with gender and international justice. The members of the working group are committed to working together to implement the mandate of the Coalition.

The Coalition thanks the former members of its working group for their contribution: Irene Baghoomians, Barbara Bedont, Joanna Birenbaum, Lois Chiang, Julie Drolet, El Obaid Ahmed El Obaid, Leilani Farha, Jennifer Green, Nicole Hogg, Immacule Ingabire, Michelle Jarvis, Monique Kankera, Alice Karekezi, Rumbi Mabuwa, Valerie Oosterveld, Jody Ranck, Stéphanie Rousseau, Dorothy Thomas, Connie Walsh and Lisa Wyndel.


Gaëlle Breton-Le Goff

Gaëlle Breton-Le Goff is a Lecturer in International Human Rights Law at the University of Québec in Montreal. She is a PHD candidate in international law at McGill University . She studies the role of NGOs in the development of international norms and their contribution to international justice. Ms. Breton-Le Goff is the author of many articles and publications on this subject. She is co-founder, with Anne Saris, of the McGill Doctoral Affiliates Working Group on International Justice and advocates for an end to impunity for women’s human rights violations. She is also the director of the Canadian branch 'Ensemble contre la peine de mort'.

Ariane Brunet

Ms. Brunet was the Coordinator of the Women's Rights Program for Rights & Democracy in Montreal between 1992 and 2008. She was also responsible for the Canada Programme and the Middle East and North African Programme, in addition to representing the organization at the United Nations Human Rights Commission. Ms. Brunet works on women’s human rights in armed conflict situations since 1996 when she contributed to establishing the Coalition for Women’s Human Rights in Conflict Situations. Ms. Brunet also played a key role in encouraging the United Nations to establish the office of the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women.

Ms. Brunet is a co-founder of the Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights (UAF). Established in 1999, the Fund provides immediate small grants to support strategic interventions that take advantage of opportunities to advance women’s human rights. Such opportunities arise when an unexpected event – positive or negative – creates a situation in which rapid intervention can have a significant impact. UAF works in situations of armed conflict, escalating violence or politically volatile environments, precedent-setting legal case or legislative action and the protection of women’s human rights defenders.

Ms. Brunet was a member of the International Advisory Committee for the Women’s International War Crimes Tribunal on Japan’s Military Sexual Slavery, popular tribunal held in Tokyo, December 2000. She was a board member of the Women's Caucus for Gender Justice and is now on the Advisory Council of the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice (WIGJ).

Ms. Brunet is an activist who was the Co-Director of the Third International Feminist Book Fair held in Montreal in 1988 and opened l’Essentielle, the first trilingual feminist bookshop in Montreal in 1986.

Annie Bunting

Annie Bunting is an Assistant Professor in the law and society programme at York University, teaching in the areas of social justice and human rights. Professor Bunting is a graduate of York , having studied law at Osgoode Hall Law School (1988). She received her LL.M. from the London School of Economics and Political Science (1991) and her S.J.D. from the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto (1999). The topic of her doctoral dissertation is international women's rights, culture, and the case of early marriage. Her courses usually include Law and Society (SOSC 2350), Social Diversity and Law (3390), and Paradoxes of Rights (SOSC 4350). In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Professor Bunting has worked with a variety of human rights organisations including Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Canadian Human Rights Foundation (CHRF), Centre for Rights & Democracy, and the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF).

Professor Bunting worked with the National Judicial Institute (NJI) with courts in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Nova Scotia facilitating workshops on multicultural issues in family law. In May 2003 she facilitated a full-day workshop for judges on race, culture, and religion in custody and access cases for NJI – AFCC Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Judicial Officers Institute. In the 2002-03 academic year Professor Bunting was on research leave from the Faculty of Arts to pursue her SSHRC-funded project, "Cross-Cultural Issues in Canadian Family Law". She is the Co-ordinator of York 's Law & Society Programme.

Rhonda Copelon

Rhonda Copelon is Professor of law at the City University of New York School of Law and director of CUNY’s International Women’s Human Rights Law Clinic (IWHR).  She is an expert in US constitutional and international law, in particular, international women's human rights and international criminal law.  While at the Center for Constitutional Rights, she argued several women’s rights cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and was co-counsel in Filartiga v. Pena.  As director of IWHR, she participated in the negotiation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; the development, through amicus briefs and judicial training, of gender jurisprudence in the International Criminal Tribunals and other institutions of international justice; and the submission of amicus briefs in the US Supreme Court involving the relation between international and constitutional law. Professor Copelon is also a board member and advisor to Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice in The Hague, the Montreal-based Coalition on the Human Rights of Women in Conflict Situations, and the Center for Constitutional Rights, and has written widely on women¹s rights and human rights under US and international law.

Betty Murungi

Betty Murungi is Director of the Urgent Action Fund-Africa and has been a lawyer in private practice in Kenya for 17 years. She is a member of the Board of Kituo Cha Katiba, East African Centre for Constitutional Development and the Law Society of Kenya Representative on the board of the Public Law Institute. She was the chair of the Executive Committee of the Women's Caucus for Gender Justice for an International Criminal Court and is currently on the Board of Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice (WIGJ). Since 1998, Ms. Murungi has been a consultant and legal advisor to Rights & Democracy on gender-related crimes at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). In 2003, Ms. Murungi was awarded the Kenya National Honour of the Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear for her work on human rights issues.

Françoise Nduwimana

Françoise Nduwimana is lecturer at the Université du Québec en Outaouais, where she teaches "Le développement communautaire comparé". She also works as a gender consultant in peace, security and development. In the past, Françoise Nduwimana has served as a policy advisor for the French Médecins Sans Frontières mission to Burundi, and as the program manager for Centre justice et foi, a jesuit research centre based in Montreal, and aimed to social justice, to name a few. Ms. Nduwimana has published many reports, including : "African civil society: Prospects for raising awareness on priority issues" (Partnership Africa Canada, october 2004), "The right to survive: Sexual Violence, Women and HIV/AIDS" (Rights and Democracy/Coalition for women's rights in conflict situation, december 2004), and "Canada's support for the implementation of the Security Council Resolution 1325 in the Great Lakes Region" (Canadian Peacebuilding Coordinating Committe/Gender and Peacebuilding Working Group, june 2006). Her most recent work has included two strategic documents coordinated by UNDP, on the integration of gender equality in post conflict programming in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ivory Coast.

Binaifer Nowrojee

Binaifer Nowrojee is Director of the Kenya Initiative at the Open Society Institute and a lecturer at Harvard Law School. Ms. Nowrojee previously served as counsel with Human Rights Watch’s Africa Division and staff attorney on Africa for the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights. Ms. Nowrojee is the author of numerous human rights reports, including Shattered Lives: Sexual Violence during the Rwandan Genocide and its Aftermath (Human Rights Watch, 1996).  In 2002, Ms. Nowrojee was a visiting fellow at Harvard University’s Carr Center for Human Rights where she examined the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and its treatment of rape victims. 

Jane G. Rocamora

Jane Rocamora is currently a Clinic Supervisor for the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic at Greater Boston Legal Services. Her background in litigation has included a wide range of human rights, domestic civil rights and criminal law cases. She is a Board Member and member of the Litigation Advisory Committee of the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) and a member of the Coalition on Women's Human Rights in Conflict Situations, based in Canada′s International Center for Human Rights & Democratic Development.

Anne Saris

Anne Saris is a Law Professor at University of Québec in Montréal (UQAM). Program Manager for the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation of the International Bureau for Children's Rights, a Montreal-based NGO over the course of 2 years, she developed, in collaboration with a group of experts, guidelines for children who were witnesses to and victims of crime that have been adopted by the Ecosoc in a resolution on Guidelines on justice in matters involving child victims and witnesses of crime in July 2005 (ECOSOC Resolution 2005/20). She holds two graduate degrees in Law (PHD and LLM) from Montreal's McGill University, a DEA in international private law from Université de Paris and a DEA in Human Rights from Université de Lyon, in France.

She is the author of various publications pertaining to, among other issues, religious norms before civil judges (co-author of an article published in the McGill Law Review) and international penal law. She is co-author of a guide for Rwandan women on access to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Isabelle Solon Helal

Isabelle Solon Helal has been working as Programme Officer for the Women’s Rights Programme at Rights & Democracy since 1997. She coordinates the work of the Coalition for Women’s Human Rights in Conflict Situations. She is a lawyer since 1995 and received her LL.M. from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2001. She has participated in United Nations and NGO missions to Afghanistan, Bosnia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, among other countries, working on various issues, including women’s rights in conflict situations.

Pam Spees

Pam Spees is immediate past-Program Director of the Women's Caucus for Gender Justice and was involved in the ICC negotiations and the legal and educational work of the Caucus since 1997. Prior to joining the Women's Caucus, she worked with campaigns within the U.S. for the recognition of economic and social rights as well as on issues of consumer protection and housing rights. Prior to attending law school in 1995, she was a journalist for six years and also worked as a volunteer counselor with survivors of sexual assault through a community-based crisis center.

Rashida Manjoo

Rashida Manjoo is an Advocate of the High Court of South Africa and a former commissioner of the Commission on Gender Equality (CGE), a constitutional body mandated to oversee the promotion and protection of gender equality. Since 2005, Mrs. Manjoo is an HRP Clinical Advocacy Fellow. Mrs. Manjoo was also involved in setting up both a national and a provincial network on violence against women and she is the founder of the Gender Unit at the Law Clinic at the University of Natal and the Domestic Violence Assistance Programme at the Durban Magistrates Court (the first such project in a court in South Africa). She was also an active member of the Women's Caucus for Gender Justice in the International Criminal Court and remains an Advisory Board member. She is a member of the Women Living Under Muslim Laws Network.

Karin Baqi

Karin Baqi completed her LL.B./B.C.L. at McGill University in Montreal in December 2006. She is currently articling in the area of immigration and refugee law in Toronto, Ontario, where she is also involved in solidarity work with non-status people and expects to be called to the Bar of Ontario in January 2008. Karin has worked with a variety of social justice organizations in Toronto and Montreal, including Rights & Democracy where she interned in the Women's Rights Programme during the summer of 2005. Karin has had the privilege of attending the Coalition's annual meetings for the last two years and looks forward to working in collaboration with others to obtain justice for women and children surviving sexual violence.

Geneviève Renard Painter

Geneviève Renard Painter works on gender, development and human rights issues. With degrees in political science (Wellesley College) and law (McGill University), she has worked as an advocate and researcher for human rights organizations and community groups, including WOMANKIND Worldwide, Human Rights Watch, and the Trust Fund for Victims. Her areas of focus include reparations for survivors of violent conflict, violence against women, tax policy and child care, and the politics of human rights activism.

Janet Walsh

Janet Walsh is the acting Executive Director of the Women's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch. Prior to joining Human Rights Watch, she practiced law at several international law firms and the United Nations legal office in New York and did domestic violence, political asylum, and refugee law pro bono projects. Janet is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley School of Law. She has been with the Women's Rights Division since June 2002.

Bibiane Aningina Tshefu

Bibiane Aningina Tshefu was born in Okolo, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) prior to the death of Mobutu Sese Seko. She attended University at Kinshasa and subsequently attended Universite Libre in Brussels, Belguim between 1986 and 1989. She received her license in Social Work, Community Development, and Social Cultural Facilitation in 1989. Ms. Tshefu returned with her license to Kinshasa, DRC, where she was hired as an advisor to various government ministers, including the Minister for La Condition Feminine and the Minister of Justice. In 1994, she immigrated to the United States, where she began work as a consultant for various international non-governmental organizations (NGO) and the United Nations (UN). Since that time, the primary focus of Ms. Tshefu’s work has been development of local non-governmental organizations concerned with women and children in several countries in Africa. Among her accomplishments are her leadership role in the NGO coalition which successfully advocated in October, 2000, for the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (Women, Peace and Security); securing recognition of Congolese women representatives during the 2002 Inter-Congolese Dialogue which led to the first, countrywide elections in 2006; and her leadership role in the worldwide NGO coalition, which, in March, 2007, adopted the Nairobi Declaration On Women’s and Girls’ Right To A Remedy and Reparation.

Ending impunity through legal proceedings for crimes against women and girls is a crucial component of reparation policies and a requirement under international law.

-- Excerpt from the
Nairobi Declaration