By Virginia Lopez Calvo (CAWN)
The meeting was organized by Mugarik Gabe, an international development organization based in Bilbao (Basque Country, Spain), that had previously hosted the ‘Women’s Rights Tribunal’ in 2013. This symbolic Tribunal was an international collective effort of various associations and social movements to denounce and make visible sexist violence as a violation of women human rights of women.
The meeting ‘Together, for a global feminist struggle’ was planned to give continuation to the Tribunal. From 19 to 23 May 2014, representatives from feminist organizations and social movements from Latin America (including Nicaragua, El Salvador, Colombia, Bolivia and Guatemala) and Europe came together to strengthen alliances across the Atlantic.
Our aim was to further the analysis of the situation of women (with an emphasis on Latin America and Europe) focusing on the right to abortion, economic rights and the right to a life free of violence. We also wanted to analyze the strategies and proposals developed by those groups and networks present, in order to define new actions for the future.
WIDE+ was asked to formally share the network’s and its member’s work in monitoring international agreements and lobbying processes relevant to advance women’s rights in those thematic fronts, and so we spoke of the Vienna + 20 Conference in 2013, the post-2015 Agenda, and the Paris Declaration, among others.
The meeting offered many opportunities to inform our Latin American counterparts of the existing trans-European networks and campaigns that WIDE+ supports and liaises with, such as the Alternative Trade Mandate and the International Campaign for the Right to Safe Abortion, which they can also join. In turn, we heard of the brave work of networks such as the ‘Mesoamerican Women in Resistance’ and the ‘Guatemalan World March of Women’.
We discussed the global threats to the right to a safe abortion, with hundreds of women incarcerated in El Salvador as a result of the violation of this right, a right which is also slowly suffering backlashes in various European countries such as Poland, Latvia or Spain. All participants were committed to join the call for solidarity from the Salvadoran ‘Citizens Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion’, asking feminists across the world to organize actions in their cities on 17 June in the context of the ‘We are all the 17’ campaign, that seeks justice for 17 women jailed for miscarriages and other pregnancy complications.
Trade justice, including the new, secretly negotiated Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, was also in the agenda: we all agreed in joining and expanding the ‘Stop Corporate Impunity Campaign’ and to continue using the symbolic power of women’s tribunals to denounce any related injustices and the attacks to our ‘Mother Earth’, the ‘Pachamama’.
The meeting was an endless exchange of experiences, knowledge and strategies from both sides of the Atlantic, an exploration of synergies and partnerships and, above all, a great source of inspiration and motivation for us all. Our final declaration, a 3 pages long document written in Spanish, was read in a final event to members of the Salvadoran media and social movements.