Release Date: February 26, 2015
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Human rights violations, including honor killings, human trafficking, child and slave brides, female genital mutilation, stoning of women and domestic violence, will be the topics of discussion during a daylong human rights conference, “Culture and Control of Women – Resources and Remedies,” being held on March 7 at the University at Buffalo Law School.
The conference, which will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in 106 O’Brian Hall on the UB North Campus, will feature a screening and discussion of the documentary film “Honor Diaries” led by two of its producers and co-stars, as well as formal presentations on specific human rights/women’s rights violations and panel discussions on “remedies and resources.”
The list of speakers includes one woman who was a victim of female genital mutilation when she was 16 years old. The woman, who will tell her story during the conference, was brought to a village to be “circumcised,” but told she was going to spend the holiday there “riding a donkey.” Instead, she was delivered for a forced mutilation, known in the culture as female circumcision.
Other speakers have firsthand knowledge of the experiences of these victims. They include Ann Breidenstein, regional coordinator for human trafficking services for the International Institute, and Lisa R. Strand, joint chief attorney for the Civil Legal Services Unit of the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo. Strand will talk about her clients who were faced with female genital mutilation and honor crimes.
Also on tap will be a presentation by Coline Jenkins, who will speak on “The Declaration of Women’s Rights — Past and Present.” Jenkins is the great-great granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, American social activist and leader of the early American women’s rights movement.
The conference will include as well an art exhibit and reception featuring the work of artist and activist Zainab Zeb.
“This conference is designed to examine the injustices and violence perpetrated on women globally and explore resources and remedies in answering the imperative question: What is to be done at the local level to have immediate impact?” says Nadia N. Shahram, an adjunct faculty member at the Law School and director of the Matrimonial Mediation Center in Williamsville.
Additional participating organizations include Family Justice Center, International Institute, Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, Zonta International and Association of American University Women.
The program, which free and open to the public, is especially relevant for social workers, health care providers, police, firefighters, clergy, students, faculty and all others interested in finding resolutions on reducing and preventing such cultural crimes.
The conference is sponsored by the Coalition for the Advancement of Moslem Women, the UB Law School and UB’s Institute for Research and Education on Women and Gender.