A discussion regarding the use of rape as a war crime with Nobel Laureate Jody Williams; Ana Deutsch, Program for Torture Victims; and Shirin Ershadi, International Criminal Court Alliance. This panel was moderated by Prof. Lara Stemple from the UCLA School of Law.
JODY WILLIAMS received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her work to ban landmines through the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which shared the Peace Prize with her that year. At that time, she became the 10th woman in its almost 100-year history to receive the Prize.
Like others who’ve seen the ravages of war, she’s an outspoken peace activist who struggles to reclaim the real meaning of peace—a concept which goes far beyond the absence of armed conflict and is defined by human security, not national security. Williams believes that working for peace is not for the faint of heart. It requires dogged persistence and a commitment to sustainable peace, built on environmental justice and meeting the basic needs of the majority of people on our planet.
Since January of 2006, Jody Williams has worked to achieve her peace work through the Nobel Women’s Initiative, which she chairs. Along with sister Laureate Dr. Shirin Ebadi of Iran, she took the lead in establishing the Nobel Women’s Initiative, and was joined by sister Laureates Wangari Maathai (Kenya), Rigoberta Menchu Tum (Guatemala) and Betty Williams and Mairead Maguire (Northern Ireland). The Initiative uses the prestige of the Nobel Peace Prize to magnify the power of women working around the world for peace, justice and equality.
In 2007, Williams lead a contentious High Level Mission on Darfur for the UN’s Human Rights Council. She presented the Mission’s hard-hitting report to the Council in March of that year and continues to be actively involved in work related to stopping the war in Darfur.
Since 1998, Williams has also served as a Campaign Ambassador for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Beginning in early 1992 with two non-governmental organizations and a staff of one – Jody Williams, she oversaw the Campaign’s growth to over 1,300 organizations in 95 countries working to eliminate antipersonnel landmines. In an unprecedented cooperative effort with governments, UN bodies and the International Committee of the Red Cross, she served as a chief strategist and spokesperson for the ICBL as it dramatically achieved its goal of an international treaty banning antipersonnel landmines during a diplomatic conference held in Oslo in September 1997.
Williams continues to be recognized for her contributions to human rights and global security. She is the recipient of fifteen honorary degrees, among other recognitions. In 2004, Williams was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world.
ANA DEUTSCH is a co-founder and clinical director of the Program for Torture Victims. She escaped from Argentina, along with her family, after threats of arrest to those involved in opposition activities were made by the military government. They made their way to Los Angeles with help from the local Jewish community.
Arriving in Los Angeles as a political asylee, Deutsch understood the difficulties of dealing with trauma, and simultaneously having to rebuilding her support system of friends, family and employment. In 1980, she and Dr. Jose Quiroga founded Program for Torture Victims. Their personal experiences led them to use a ‘bio-psycho-social’ approach that was pioneered with clients at PTV. As more and more people were referred to them, Deutsch and Quiroga set up offices at the Venice Family Clinic in 1985. Currently, Deutsch is a consultant to the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights based in Costa Rica, and is an expert witness to the Intra-American Human Rights Court. In 2004 First Lady Maria Shriver awarded her the first Minerva Award, honoring women who have made significant contributions to California's women and families.
SHIRIN ERSHADI is the Co-Chair and Co-President of the International Criminal Court Alliance, an organization that advocates for a permanent International Criminal Court and U.S. participation in the Court. Ershadi received her MA in Women's Studies at UCLA. She is a retired attorney and is a registered court interpreter of Persian/English in California.
LARA STEMPLE is the Director of Graduate Studies at UCLA School of Law, where she oversees the law school’s LL.M. (masters) and S.J.D. (doctoral) degree programs. Stemple teaches and writes in the areas of human rights, global health, gender, sexuality, HIV/AIDS, and incarceration.
Before joining UCLA, Stemple was the Executive Director of the human rights organization Just Detention International. In 2004 Stemple was a Rockefeller Post Doctoral Fellow at Columbia University’s Program on Sexuality, Gender, Health and Human Rights. She also served as the Senior Advocacy Officer at the Pacific Institute for Women’s Health. Before that, Stemple worked for the domestic and international programs at the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York. In 1998 she was a Teaching Fellow at Harvard University.
Stemple currently serves on the Advisory Board of UCLA’s Center for the Study of Women, and she is the Deputy co-Director of the new UC Global Health Institute’s Center of Expertise on Women’s Health and Empowerment.
As an advocate, Stemple has drafted legislation that was signed into law, lobbied members of Congress and United Nations delegates, and testified before legislative bodies. Media commentary has included CNN, National Public Radio, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle.
Published: Monday, November 28, 2011