Former President Jimmy Carter calls discrimination and violence against women and girls one of the most serious and pervasive -- yet ignored -- violations of human rights. Escalating violent religious extremism fuels this pattern. On Thursday, Feb. 12, the U.S. Institute of Peace and The Carter Center were pleased to host this event, which addressed ways in which human rights defenders in Libya and Iraq are working to build peace with particular attention to the role of religion and gender.
Religion often is used to justify violence and the unequal status of women. More than ever, these problems are interrelated, and efforts that address them in isolation fail to produce comprehensive, long-term strategies.
Women understand best how to address these issues but are often marginalized from religious and political leadership, where the most powerful decisions and policies are formulated. Highlighting and strengthening the work of women in preventing and responding to violent extremism, including the work of religious women leaders, has been a longtime commitment of both the U.S. Institute of Peace and The Carter Center.
This event was an extension of the Human Rights Defenders forum convened by President Carter in Atlanta on February 7-10. In addition to discussing their experiences on the ground, the panelists shared some of the outcomes and recommendations from the forum.
Manal Omar, Welcoming Remarks
Acting Vice President, Center for Middle East and Africa, USIP
Karin Ryan, Remarks
Senior Advisor for Human Rights and Project Director, Mobilizing Action for Women and Girls Initiative, The Carter Center
Dr. Alaa Murabit
Founder, The Voice of Libyan Women
Counterterrorism, CVE and De-radicalization Expert in Canada
Sanam Naraghi Anderlini
Co-Founder & Executive Director, International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN)
Fatima Kadhim Al-Bahadly
Director, Al-Firdaws Society, Iraq
Susan Hayward, Moderator
Interim Director, Religion & Peacebuilding Center, USIP