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Women, Gender, and Politics

N01 - Sexual Identity, Sexual Violence, and Migration

Date: Jun 4 | Time: 08:45am to 10:15am | Location: SCRF 1023

Chair/Président/Présidente : Jessica Merolli (Sheridan College)

Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Megan Gaucher (Carleton University)

Far From Home, Far From Safe: Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Among Unaccompanied Refugee Children Seeking Asylum in Kenya: Rosalind Raddatz (Aga Khan University), Matthew Kerby (Australian National University)
Abstract: This article examines the problem of violence, particularly sexual and gender based violence, among unaccompanied minor refugee children living in urban centres in Kenya. It provides a typology of the kinds of violence that occur most frequently among this population and examines some of the reasons why this problem persists, despite the interventions of humanitarian agencies to remedy the problem. Explaining why high levels of violence among refugee children persist, we consider three inter-related issues: Gender and ethnic divides within Kenya as a host country and among the communities of origin of refugees themselves; hierarchical notions of respect between adults and children and the casual use of violence as a means to enforce respect; and the means by which the Kenyan government has attempted to manage and confine the country’s refugee crisis.


Human Rights and Transnational Grassroots Networks: Revisiting the “Comfort Women” Issue: Agnieszka Batko (Jagiellonian University)
Abstract: The “comfort women” issue continues to be one of the most immense obstacles to the improvement of relations between Japan and South Korea. However, despite being heavily politicised, it is primarily the human rights problem that the respective governments do not seem to fully recognize or acknowledge, aiming instead to resolve it quickly, definitely and with exclusion of the surviving victims. The objective of the paper is to present a different perspective on the issue, namely the one promoted by the non-governmental organizations in both Japan and the Republic of Korea, working on those matters. Over a wide range of projects and ongoing activities, and regardless of significant barriers that they encounter, such organizations continue to carry the memory and spread awareness about the “comfort women” across Asia both within their respective countries, and internationally. Through transnational channels of cooperation, from the grassroots level to the United Nations, they aim to inscribe the historical cases of “comfort women” within an ongoing discourse of violence against women during an armed conflict. With respect to methods, the arguments will be based on the discourse analysis, the document analysis as well as semi-structured interviews with representatives of selected non-governmental organizations in Japan and South Korea.