York law & society Professor Annie Bunting (LLB ’88) and The Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples are hosting an international workshop on forced marriage in conflict situations today and tomorrow in Room 305 York Lanes on the Keele campus.
Left: Annie Bunting
Bringing together historians of slavery and women’s human rights scholars, this workshop will explore the phenomenon of forced marriage and enslavement from comparative and historical perspectives.
During conflicts in Sierra Leone, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Uganda and Rwanda, women were kidnapped, raped and forced into “marriages” with combatants. The Special Court for Sierra Leone recently found such gender violations to constitute a new crime against humanity of forced marriage as opposed to sexual slavery.
Workshop speakers will explore the merits of prosecuting those responsible for forced marriage under the heading of Sexual Slavery, Forced Marriage or Enslavement? They will also explore the historical antecedents of servile marriage and enslavement of women.
A keynote presenter at the workshop is Rosaline M’Carthy, chair of the Women’s Forum in Sierra Leone, a national umbrella organization of women’s groups in the region. M’Carthy has been working with the Coalition of Women’s Human Rights in Conflict Situations for the past three years and will speak about the experiences of female victims in the Sierra Leone war. Other presenters will discuss comparable practices in Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC.
Speaking at the workshop are:
- Kevin Bales, president of Free the Slaves
- Gaëlle Breton-LeGoff, a lecturer at the University of Quebec in Montreal
- York law & society Professor Annie Bunting
- Khristopher Carlson, a senior researcher in children, armed conflict and human rights at the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University
- York Distinguished Research Professor Paul Lovejoy, director of The Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples and Canada Research Chair in African Diaspora History
- Rosaline M’Carthy, President, Women’s Forum of Sierra Leone
- Binaifer Nowrojee, Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa (OSIEA), Harvard Law School
- Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Obiora Chinedu Okafor
- University of Hull Professor Joel Quirk, Wilberforce Institute on the Study of Slavery and Emancipation
- Benedetta Rossi, RCUK Fellow in International Slavery at the University of Liverpool
- Karlee Sapoznik, York PhD candidate in history, The Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples
- Jody Sarich, DePaul University, Free the Slaves
This workshop is the first of two conferences supported by a Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada International Opportunities Fund grant. In February 2011, Bunting will host a larger international conference in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Today’s workshop is supported by numerous areas at York University, including the Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime & Security, the Office of the Provost, the Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation, the dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS), and The Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples.
For more information, visit The Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples website or contact Kathy Mirzaei, interim graduate program assistant, Department of Sociology, LA&PS.