Learning from the model of Women’s Tribunals, the Working Group on Girls is looking forward to providing a platform for the voices of girls, particularly on the issue of violence. Reports from various countries recently indicate what those working with girls and women have been seeing directed toward rights activists: acid attacks for advocating access to school, patriarchal attitudes which do not allow girls to make decisions about their lives, including health and career decisions, and rape used as a way of settling family disputes or as a means of dominating women and girls in the community. The tribunals are organized locally, nationally, or in this case, internationally.
They allow girls to give witness before an audience and a group of judges. During the first tribunal sponsored at the 57th Commission on the Status of Women, girl activists from Finland, El Salvador, Mexico, the United States, and Brazil described violence experienced in schools and communities: bullying, gang-related sexual violence, and commodification of girls in the media. They also spoke of their roles in organizing and gathering their peers, teachers, and communities to end both physical and psychological violence against girls. Judges from UNICEF, a student activist from the University of Nairobi, a member of the Jordanian royal family, and a documentary filmmaker affirmed the courage of these girls, broadened the discussion, and gave recommendations to all, including the audience.