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In best Sesame Street styleee, this blog entry is brought to you by the themes politics and violence…..

First up, newly elected leader of the Kadima party in Israel, Tzipi Livni, has been challenged by right-wing opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu to hold a snap election. At the moment Livni has 40 days left to form a coalition government (which is usual in Israel due to the single transferable vote single constituency list system adopted there) to come the country’s second woman prime minister following Golda Meir in the 1970s. Officially Livni does not have to go to the polls until 2010. Livni is a former Mossad spy according to Yahoo! News although Wikipedia clarifies she worked for them for two years during the early 1980s before studying law. It is felt that Livni will continue the tentative peace process between Israel and Palestine.

Meanwhile Rwanda has just elected the first national parliament with more women then men. Women won 20 of the 53 general seats plus they have 24 non-party seats reserved only for women meaning they have at least 44 seats in the 80 seat partliament (and possible 45 as it is thought one of the two youth seats was also won by a female candidate). This puts them ahead of Sweden (47%) and Cuba (43.2%), exceeds the worldwide average of 18% and is well ahead of the UK’s 19.5%. However this is also to do with the demographic imbalance caused by genocide and emmigration as refugees.

Bellancilla Nyonawankusi, a Kigali official responsible for ensuring the smooth running of the voting, said women lawmakers carried a double burden. “The role of the elected females is double: they must on the one hand concern themselves with the implementation of government decisions, and on the other be a voice for the grassroots.All Rwandans have a role to play in the reconciliation, but women can do it better than men. They are the ones who were the first to be affected by the genocide and they are the ones who are bringing up the children,” she added.”

From Yahoo! News

Moving onto issues of violence, the UK has finally conceded in needs to sign up in full to the UN Convention on Children’s Rights. This would remove the current opt out on detaining juvenile asylum seekers and refugees without judicial review which currently means the “best interests of the child” rules doesn’t apply to immigrant children in the UK.

Sex Education ComicAlso on children’s issues, some people are complaining that the Family Planning Assocation has produced a cartoon-style sex education guide for six year olds. One man claimed:

“This is all part of an exercise to break down children’s inhibitions and natural sense of modesty.”

Obviously he hasn’t spent much time around six year olds where fart and poo jokes are also part of their “natural modesty”! The booklet is available to buy from the FPA and parents have the final say about whether their children will see it.

Meanwhile the UN is trying to reinvigorate work to eliminate violence against women following Ban-Ki Moon’s appeal in February of this year.

“Violence against women is an issue that cannot wait. A brief look at the statistics makes it clear. At least one out of every three women is likely to be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Through the practice of prenatal sex selection, countless others are denied the right even to exist. No country, no culture, no woman young or old is immune to this scourge. Far too often, the crimes go unpunished, the perpetrators walk free.

It is a campaign for the women and girls who have the right to live free of violence, today and in the future. It is a campaign to stop the untold cost that violence against women inflicts on all humankind.”

From UN

This week UNIFEM is taking testimony on gendered violence from survivors.