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Gender, Justice and Security Hub

The Project GCRF HUB – Gender, Justice and Security is a 5-year programme funded by UKRI, aiming to deliver innovative interdisciplinary research on the challenge of achieving gender justice and inclusive security in conflict-affected societies.

The hub is a multi-partner research network coordinated by LSE and working with local and global civil society, practitioners, governments and international organisations to advance gender, justice and inclusive peace.

By bringing researchers from multiple disciplines and practices together, the Hub seeks to advance the delivery of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 on gender equality; SDG 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions; and the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda by developing an evidence-base around gender justice and inclusive security in conflict-affected societies

  • About the Hub

Conflict and gender-based violence have devastating, long-term consequences on individuals, families and communities. They also severely hamper the successful delivery of development goals internationally. Through the creation of new knowledge, research methods and advocacy networks the Hub will amplify the voices of women and marginalised groups and motivate reforms that effect local and global policy change.

The Hub’s research comprises of 32 projects under six themes:

  1. Transformation and Empowerment
  2. Livelihood, Land and Rights
  3. Migration and Displacement
  4. Masculinity and Sexuality
  5. Law and Policy Frameworks
  6. Methodological Innovation

And two cross-cutting streams:

  1. Law & Policy Frameworks
  2. Methodological Innovation

And across seven focus countries

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Colombia
  3. Kurdistan - Region of Iraq
  4. Lebanon
  5. Sierra Leone
  6. Sri Lanka
  7. Uganda.

While each is distinctive in its experiences and timelines of conflict, the cases are broadly geographically representative and are all significantly conflict affected.

The research approach recognises the variety of gender insecurities and injustices and is motivated by a commitment to
the development goals and progress towards gender justice and a sustainable peace.

Events

This event will be held on Zoom on 15 July, 10:30am – 13:30 (BST) / 14:00 – 17:00 (AFT)

This event explores the geopolitical and local pressures associated with the return and reintegration of refugees to Afghanistan, how that has both advanced and constrained opportunities for peace, and the impact on gender relations within Afghanistan.

After more than 20 years of conflict, Afghanistan is embarking on a new round of peace talks that seeks to bring together the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban. The peace talks have been promoted by regional powers including Pakistan and China, as well as by the United States and Russia and involve Gulf states including Qatar. Recognising the threat of renewed violence, the “Troika,” which includes the USA, Russia, and China, plus Pakistan, has urged the Taliban not to pursue a new offensive and has instead called for the comprehensive protection of human rights.  However, the path to peace has been set back by gender-based violence and specifically attacks on women who are seen as a danger to the Taliban’s ambitions.

Female activists point to the frequent attacks on women and have warned about the loss of their rights, should the Taliban be rehabilitated. The development and promotion of rights-enforcing and gender-empowerment based agendas, however, is further complicated by the multiple governance challenges facing this war-affected state and include the return and reintegration of refugees who have been recently repatriated from neighbouring states in their hundreds of thousands. This event will explore the above challenges with experts from Afghanistan and across the region, academics and policy-makers.

Find out more on the GJS official event page

Past Events

GCRF Hub Webinar Council of Europe Istanbul Convention and Problems in Judicial Practice | Thursday 25 March 25 | 3.00pm to 4.00pm GMT.

The Council of Europe Istanbul Convention (Action against violence against women and domestic violence) establishes the protection, prevention, prosecution and ultimately the elimination of all forms of violence against women. This includes domestic violence and specific measures for the protection of migrant, refugee and asylum-seeking women.

While feminicide has increased in Turkey during COVID-19, Turkey’s attempt to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention has been on the agenda. Protests have ensued by women’s rights groups across the country to raise awareness of Turkey’s high femicide rate and support the Istanbul Convention. Islamic circles, however, blamed the document for threatening traditional family structure and challenging heteronormative understanding of gender identities.

Within this context, Eren Keskin will speak on the issue of violence against women and transgender people in Turkey through the perspective of the judicial system and the problems in the implementation of international law.

Eren Keskin (@KeskinEren1) has been a lawyer for over 30 years and is a member of the Human Rights Movement in Turkey. She served as the Head and the Vice President of Human Rights Association Istanbul Branch and currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Human Rights Association. She is also the founder of an office providing free advocacy for women and transgender who have been subjected to sexual violence by state forces since 1997.

Hub Online Convention: Method, Creativity and Innovation | Monday 25 to Friday 29 January 2021

As the Peace Process in Afghanistan unfolds, it’s impact on migration and displacement policies in the county are starting to emerge. The peace process is projected to have numerous implications for gender equality, social justice and security. It is important to accompany this peace process by incorporating a clear local perspective with an understanding of local politics and policies.

The panel aimed to contribute to the process by bringing together representatives from the wide array of stakeholders including Afghan Government (local and national level), United Nations Office, Local and International NGOs, and migration and development scholars. The panel heard a short presentation on the preliminary findings of the GCRF Project: Return, Reintegration and Political Restructuring carried out in Kabul and Kandahar.

A healthy dialogue occurred to highlight gaps in policies along with sharing the findings from the academia and expand the research to national and regional policy makers to foster an equal and just society.

Download the event guide for more information

  • Middlesex University as a partner

Middlesex University recognises the significance of innovative research to accelerate progress towards Gender Justice and Sustainable Development Goals, is partaking in two major streams of Migration and Displacement and Transformation and Empowerment with bringing four important projects in context of seven important sites in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Kurdistan - Region of Iraq, Turkey and Lebanon.

  • Migration and Displacement stream

The Migration and Displacement stream is organised around two premises: first, both conflict-induced displacement (internal and international) and migration in the post-conflict state are highly gendered; and second, the restructuring of the post-conflict state may give rise to competing tensions, including the creation of new opportunities and the exacerbation of ethnic, religious and gender-based divisions which deepen vulnerabilities.

For example, women and children are over represented in refugee populations and in many conflict-affected societies, women outnumber men as labour migrants, with child and adolescent girl migrants also increasingly present. Evidence from Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) suggests that women’s migration is particularly affected by socially discriminatory institutions. Gender discriminatory citizenship policies may also have an accrued impact on women and children due to displacement

The stream is Co-Directed by Eleonore Kofman, Professor of Gender, Migration and Citizenship and Co-director of the Social Policy Research Centre at Middlesex University and Amirthalingam Kopapillai, Professor of Economics, University of Colombo. Each project is coordinated by two Co-Investigators.

The projects

The projects address a number of intractable challenges affecting migration, displacement and return which respond to the pursuit of gender justice. Though its increasingly recognised that women and girls form a growing proportion of those who are displaced internally and internationally from conflict-affected areas, their needs and vulnerabilities are often not considered. Their return on their own or with families requires an acknowledgement of the complex and sometimes difficult reintegrating into communities and the development of new initiatives to help them utilise any economic resources, new cultural resources and know how they have brought with them.

The projects will inform policy responses to SDG 5 gender equality and women and girls’ empowerment; SDG16 on peaceful, inclusive societies and access to justice for all; as well as SDG 8 on growth and decent work; SDG10 on reducing inequalities; SDG 10.7 on orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people.

Through three comparative studies across selected countries in the Middle East and South Asia, the research addresses the gendered aspects of forced displacement; the gendered dynamics of international labour migration; and return, reintegration and socio-political restructuring in the wake of international, inter-regional and intra-state displacements and post conflict.

Project 1: Gender and Forced Displacement

Co-investigator

Brad Blitz, Professor of International Politics and Policy, Institute of Education, University College London, UK

Amirthalingam Kopapillai, Professor of Economics, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

Countries Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Lebanon 

Overview

The research explores comparatively the nature of gendered migration and displacement (internal and international) for adults, adolescents and children.

The project seeks to understand and measure how gender inequalities are affected by forced displacement in Afghanistan, Kurdistan - Region of Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Turkey, and to examine how these inequalities might be addressed in policies of international protection and assistance in settlement in Sri Lanka so as to facilitate the empowerment and acquisition of skills of displaced girls and women.

Based on field research, the project will produce academic publications and a training manual for researchers identifying relevant resources.

Preliminary findings*: Gendered experiences arising from displacements in Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Co-investigators:

  • Rajith Lakshman
  • Kopalapillai Amirthalingam
  • Anoji Ekanayake
  • Brad Blitz

During the thirty-year war that ravaged Sri Lanka starting from the early 1980s and ending in 2009, more than a million Sri Lankans experienced multiple protracted displacements. According to Jaffna District Secretariat, even today, twelve years since the end of the war, there are 405 IDP households in the Jaffna district in northern Sri Lanka. The main focus of the study was to examine the gendered experiences arising as a result of protracted displacements. As part of this study, a stratified random sample of 220 households were surveyed in October 2020 adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols specifically developed for this project.

The results of the survey are not conclusive as important additional elements of this research are still going on in Jaffna. However, even this preliminary work reveals possible ways men and women may have experienced protracted displacement over the years. A key difference between male and female respondents' experiences is with regard to household finances. The average income of female headed-households (FHHs) is half of that of male-headed households (MHHs). However, FHHs seem to manage their limited income better than MHHs as a higher proportion of FHHs than MHHs have indicated that their monthly income is sufficient to cover key categories of expenses.

The survey results also highlight the dominant male role in household financial decision-making processes. Even in FHHs, a higher proportion of males than females are responsible for making financial decisions for the household. In addition, when asked to compare life before and after displacement, a significant percentage of female respondents stated that paid work for women and women's participation in financial decision making decreased while their household chores increased. While male respondents also stated that paid work available for men and their participation in financial decision making decreased, the proportion is less than that of women who highlighted those issues.

* Preliminary findings are in the process of being published

Figure 1: Distribution of household income among MHHs and FHHs

A bar graph showing the distribution of income between MHHs and FHHs

Figure 2: The map of research site

A map of Turkey showing the research site of Point Pedro, Tellippalai, Uduvil and Kopay

  • Project 2: Gendered Dynamics of Labour Migration

    Co-investigator

    Professor Eleonore Kofman, Professor of Gender, Migration and Citizenship, Middlesex University, UK

    Dr. Ezgi Tuncer, Kadir Has University, Turkey

    Countries

    Kurdistan - Region of Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Turkey

    Overview

    The research seeks to contribute to a gender-sensitive understanding of the interaction between economic and socio-cultural drivers of labour migrations in different cities in Kurdistan - Region of Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan and Turkey. The project will also seek to achieve a better understanding of how migrant women use urban spaces.

    Based on stakeholder consultation and fieldwork interviews with migrant women, the project will produce academic publications and policy papers along with stakeholder workshops and training for researchers engaged with gendered labour migration and urban change.

    Click the image below to view a larger size.

    Download a larger view of the map

  • Project 3: Return, Reintegration and Political Restructuring

    Co-investigator

    Dr. Janroj Yilmaz Keles, Senior Research Fellow, Middlesex University, UK

    Dr. Muslih Irwani, Executive Director, Lebanese French University, Erbil, Iraq

    Countries

    Kurdistan - Region of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka

    Overview

    This research project explores and analyses the gender experiences of returnees (forced and voluntary) and changes in families and communities in conflicted and/or post-conflict societies in Afghanistan, Kurdistan - Region of Iraq, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

    It reviews return policies of the countries under study to understand the possibilities, challenges and obstacles for returnees in the process of participating in re-construction in Afghanistan, India, Kurdistan - Region of Iraq, Pakistan and Sri Lanka through their economic, social and cultural capital.

    Based on fieldwork and narrative interviews, the project will produce an academic publication, hold stakeholder workshops in Pakistan and Kurdistan - Region of Iraq and curate an exhibition of creative works from returnees.

  • Transformation and Empowerment steam

The Transformation and Empowerment stream will create significant beneficial impacts for conflict-affected populations and civil society groups in the core countries. However, policies, transformation of societies, empowering populations and transition towards justice reform remains poorly aligned with development policies.

The streams are co-directed by Fionnuala Ni Aolain (U. Ulster) and Angelika Rettberg (U. los Andes)

Project 4: Culture and Conflict

Co-investigator

Dr. Neelam Raina, Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries, Middlesex University, UK

Dr. Zahra Hussain- Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Middlesex University, UK

Fatima Hussain, Co-Director, Laajverd, Pakistan

Countries

Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka

Overview

This project takes an anthropological approach to understanding the value and relevance of culture specific knowledge and skills to peace building and reconstruction from the perspective of women.

By exploring the visual and material cultures of regions and the shifts caused therein by the conflicts, we aim to build a deeper understanding of the value of cultural practices in the reconstruction of a conflict zone. It will use a cultural mapping methodology (aural-visual) to explore how communities of women, across different conflict contexts rely on coded and tacit knowledge to rebuild their lives.

This knowledge and its related skills are often situated and specific to the community. However, this knowledge is key to understanding the dynamics of conflict and its impact on women. Larger numbers of communities than ever before are on the move and displaced from their homes, however they carry their culture with them often in the shape of visual and material belongings, language and narratives.

This culture is essential in defining not just their identity and its related politics, but has implications for the futures they aspire. This project aims to understand these cultures to explore their potential as the starting point for discussions about identity and ambitions of peace and development.

Visit our Craft Portfolio website to see how the Culture and Conflict Team explores and documents the practices of craft across the region of Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Explore their work in more detail on the official Culture and Conflict website

Culture and Conflict workshop

The Culture and Conflict project is conducting Field Methods Workshop Part 2 in Pakistan on the 9 to 10 September 2020, with participation from Kabul, Kandahar, Islamabad, Swat, Gilgit, Upper Chitral, Peshawar and Rawalpindi.

This workshop will train participants in the methods and strategies of carrying out ethnographic research on crafts and creative practice in post-conflict zones.

We successfully completed the first training workshop in Field Methods with our partners in Sri Lanka in January 2020.

Photo credit: Saad Sarfaraz, Laajverd

  • Our academics and partners

  • Our international partners

    • Association of War-Affected Women (AWAW) (Sri Lanka)

      AWAW was established in 2000 to bring war-affected women across conflict lines together to work towards peace. They work on women’s advancement, human rights, democracy and conflict transformation.

      Their vision is for a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka where all its peoples are living with dignity enjoying equal rights. Their mission is to work towards strengthening democracy, women’s advancement and equal participation in order to achieve sustainable development and permanent peace in Sri Lanka.

      Objectives of AWAW:

      1. Achieve sustainable peace in Sri Lanka through socio-economic development with the active participation of war-affected women
      2. Women’s advancement, empowerment, development and participation.

      AWAW has special status with UN ECOSOC.

      Visit their Facebook page

      Visit their website

    • Bazani Charity Foundation (Iraq)

      Barzani Charity Foundation (BCF) is a non-governmental, non-political and non-profit organisation founded in 2005 in Erbil (capital city of the Kurdistan - Region of Iraq) but they have operated outside Iraqi borders in areas such as in Turkey, Syria, Greece and Serbia.

      The BCF is named after the legendary Kurdish leader Mustafa Barzani (1903 -1979) and their working philosophy of the foundation is based on a statement by Barzani which says, “It is an honour to serve one’s own people.” Therefore, people and humanity make the centre for the BCF’s humanitarian work. Where there is a need for humanitarian assistance, the BCF considers that it is its own responsibility to help.

      The BCF is registered as an NGO both in Iraq and with Kurdistan Regional Governments as well as in the United States. The increasing activities of the foundation in the area of humanitarian response to internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees inside and outside KRI has given great credibility to the BCF.

      The BCF has  The Foundation relies on its sponsors and partners which are local and international companies and organisations in conducting its humanitarian projects.The BCF places enormous importance on the sectors of education, health, camp management, livelihood, food, shelter and water. The foundation also runs projects for orphans and people with disabilities.

      The BCF was granted a Consultative Status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in April 2016.

    • Laajverd (Pakistan)

      Laajverd is an initiative of young people focusing on promoting a culture of peace in Pakistan, through the use of art and culture.

      Since its beginning in 2007, this student-led initiative has achieved a great deal with regard to its key areas of culture and conflict/peace as demonstrated by their projects: in their experiments with communication and designed interactions; in their geographical, participatory and audience diversity; and in their staunch refusal to buckle to convention.

      The organisation has also initiated media programmes for raising awareness on a range of social issues in Pakistan.

      Visit their website

    • Legal Aid for the Victims of Rape and Sexual Harassment in Custody (Turkey)

      Legal Aid Office for the Victims of Rape and Sexual Harassment in Custody is a non-governmental, non-political and non-profit organisation which was founded by Eren Keskin and German Lawyer Jutta Hermans in 1997 in Istanbul, Turkey.

      The Office provides free legal support to women victims/survivors including displaced and refugee women, sex workers, transvestites, transsexuals, politically active girls and women who experience state violence, rape and harassment in custody. In this specific area, the organisation is well known domestically and internationally as being a centre of first recourse.

      The organisation conducts research and delivers projects on issues related to gender, displacement, refugees, children, state violence and justice, as well as being part of many international projects on issues related to gender. They also work with the office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

      Besides providing legal assistance, the Office links local communities to relevant organisations for psychological and social assistance.

    • MOSAIC-Mena (Lebanon)

      Founded by activists and legal and health experts, the MENA Organisation for Services, Advocacy, Integration and Capacity Building is a holistic programme committed to improve the health and wellness of marginalised group in Lebanon and beyond.

      Through its national presence in Lebanon and its regional networks in the MENA region, MOSAIC’s strategic goal is to achieve the coexistence of people in friendly communities and national systems.

      MOSAIC-Mena provides comprehensive services for the marginalised groups, research and advocate for policy reform, build knowledge and capacities on SOGI issues, and engage the societies in the fight against human rights violations.

      Follow MOSAIC-Mena on Twitter

      Visit their website

    • PAIMAN Trust (Pakistan)

      PAIMAN, an Urdu word meaning Promise, was established in March 2004. Pro-active in functioning, pro-people in thinking, result oriented in projects and participatory in training methods, PAIMAN’s promise revolves around linking people and communities to opportunities by realising their potentials and widening their horizons.

      PAIMAN is a national organisation working across Pakistan in sectors including governance and democracy, gender and development, Women Peace and Security (WPS), preventing violent extremism, livelihood development, and health and education. PAIMAN is a pioneer in preventing / countering violent extremism (P/CVE) in Pakistan and is internationally recognised, appreciated and has received international awards for its landmark innovative initiatives in the field of P/CVE, de-radicalisation and peace building.

      Under its ‘Let’s live in Peace’ programme, PAIMAN’s model of empowering communities to prevent violent extremism through community peace structure called TOLANA is being replicated in Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia and Afghanistan. PAIMAN’s P/CVE framework is being shared internationally through videos and training material by various international organisations and NGOs.

      PAIMAN’s Centre for Leadership and PVE, established in 2008 in Islamabad, acts as a resource, research and training institute on the subject of Leadership, WPS, youth mobilisation for positive engagement, and peace education for the region and beyond.

      Visit their Facebook page

      Visit their website

    • Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) (Pakistan)

      SPARC’s mission is to promote and protect the rights of children and to empower them using international standards through advocacy supported by research, awareness raising, service delivery, and human and institutional development.

      SPARC works on a broad range of child rights issues, addressing the overall system and policy framework, with added focus on specific thematic areas of special importance to children. SPARC’s work is guided by international human rights principles and standards which are integrated at policy and program level. The main guiding documents include the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and relevant ILO Conventions.

      SPARC has consultative status with the United Nations ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council) and the United Nations Department of Public Information and is also partnered with Defense for Children International (DCI).

      In 2003, SPARC received the United Nations Recognition Award for its work in highlighting the plight of children and promoting the rights of children in Pakistan. In 2006 SPARC received USAID certification under the USAID Institutional Management Certification Program (IMCP).

      Visit their website

    • Women for Peace and Participation (WPP) (Afghanistan)

      Women for Peace and Participation (WPP) is a non-partisan and non-profit organisation which promotes the social and political inclusion of women and youth in peace building processes at the grassroots, national and global levels.

      WPP works directly with marginalised individuals in conflict-affected countries, and provides opportunities and platforms for women and youth to enable them to participate in decision-making processes and policy debates. In addition to working directly with women and youth, WPP also works with their relevant diaspora and refugee populations.

      WPP has piloted programs with Afghan communities in insecure areas and relevant stakeholders – including diaspora, refugees, international policy-makers and thought leaders – on devising strategies for durable peace building. A substantial component of this work focuses on hard-to-reach and remote populations, building their capacity and enabling them to participate in policy-formulation and implementation at community, provincial and national levels.

      WPP, under the theme ‘United Women for Peace’ has developed a platform of women leaders from conflict zones, in the diaspora and refugee communities in UK, Europe and US with unique first-hand experience and skills of the local context as well as policies around Women, Peace and Security at the regional and global levels.

      Follow on Twitter

      Visit their website

    • Yakjah (India)

      Yakjah means ‘being together.’ Since 2002, Yakjah has been working with the youth of Jammu and Kashmir across faiths, cultures, ethnicities, regions and communities to build peace in the region through dialogue and peaceful ways.

      Yakjah is a network of youth for peace building; a non-partisan platform for young people to build their own agency and leadership. Through experiential workshops, youth across different communities, faith traditions and regions learn how to create a unifying perspective and generative leadership for peaceful co-existence, for promoting pluralism and an inclusive gendered approach to peace building in the region.

      Yakjah’s core work is around ‘identities’ - exploring how they get constructed and exposing the dynamics of that construction so that it allows for identity to become a unifying rather than a divisive factor.

      Their work aims to open spaces for critical enquiry, cooperative enquiry, self-enquiry and collective enquiry. Yakjah has engaged with more than 5000 youths and has a network of 100 thought leaders and volunteers who are trained as facilitators, healers, counsellors, planners, storytellers, campaigners, peace advocates, mentors, community workers and social change agents. At the core of their idea lies the vision to bring local and global perspectives into a common space to create unifying and just notions of peace.

      Follow on Twitter

      Visit their Facebook page

      Visit their website

  • Publications

Crafting resilience: The practices of making in the COVID-19 lockdown

MDX Post-doctoral research fellow Dr Zahra Hussain analyses the experiences of craftswomen in South Asia during lockdown, part of the Culture and Conflict project at the LSE-based Gender, Justice and Security hub.

Read about it on MDXMinds

Necla Acik

The past and the present; my grandfather’s return migration (1909-1918) and the current GCRF research project Return, Reintegration and Political Restructuring

Understanding return migrants and their motivation for migration and the challenges they face upon return is the current focus the GCRF funded project Migration and Displacement Stream based at Middlesex University (part of the wider GCRF Gender Security and Justice research hub based at the LSE).

Read the full feature by Necla Acik

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