In the Spring of 2012, from May 10th-13th, Women’s Economic Agenda Project (WEAP) will host the first-ever World Courts of Women on Poverty in the U.S. (WCW) to highlight the grassroots reality of the housing, jobs, and poverty crisis in this country. With advice and counsel from Corinne Kumar, the founder of the Asian Women’s Human Rights Council (AWHRC)

( and director of El Taller International (, WEAP has been planning for this incredible event for over 18 months, working to build the support and infrastructure needed to make this groundbreaking event succeed.

This past year has been monumental in the movement to highlight and protest against social inequality, corporate greed, and disparities between rich and poor with the emergence of the Occupy Movement. Within months, over 2,700 communities across the world joined the movement to address the impact of rising unemployment and cuts to social service programs. As part of our leadership in this movement, WEAP developed tools to document injustices facing the “99 percent” including Fact Sheets and a Health Addendum that expose human rights violations (found on WEAP’s website).

The World Courts of Women could not come at a more critical time. WEAP has been working hard to build on our transformative people’s movement to end poverty and highlight injustice facing women and families. Through planning of the WCW, we built alliances and partnerships with over 35 organizations across California to develop organizing committees that meet on a bi-weekly basis. These endorsing organizations, including Central Valley Journey for Justice, Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS), Hip-Hop Congress and many others, that bring a wealth of knowledge and leadership to the planning process. This Planning Committee has made major gains in the progress of the WCW including creating a “Visual Call to Action,” a Youtube video advertising and explaining the Oakland Court ( ) and a blog providing daily updates on the progress of WCW ( Additionally, we’ve started our registration process, making our registration form available online and developed an extensive volunteer database and descriptions of opportunities to become involved.

Over the past 15 years, the WCW has had a significant impact on placing gender at the center of the theory and practice of human rights as well as strengthening the networks of grassroots NGOs locally and transnationally. In every region they are held, the WCW gather people in conversations across race, religions, and cultures to highlight the knowledge and wisdoms of women in the region; laying the groundwork for transformative practices that challenge the dominant world view that move us all collectively towards a new generation of women’s human rights. Women, men and youth from all areas and histories bring their personal testimonies of violence to the Court.

We need your support now more than ever in this final stage of preparation. In the face of state budget cuts slashing crucial services to the most at risk communities, corporate greed and record numbers of women living in poverty, we offer a critical analysis of capitalism through a women and poverty lens. We are calling on you to become involved and to mobilize your communities to help present both the problems and the solutions.

The World Courts of Women will expose the great violence poverty is doing to increasing numbers of women in the U.S and assess the toll poverty is taking on our nation’s families, and protect & expand public resources for the benefit of the 99%, such as truly universal health care.

Come listen to the soul-searing stories and share your own, bring your organization, endorse, donate or volunteer. As the Assembly to End Poverty says, “It is time we STAND UP AND BUILD a new United States of America.

Who are we who support the World Courts of Women on Poverty in the U.S.?

• We are the mothers of children experiencing the pangs of hunger.

• We are the families who have lost our homes to foreclosure due to the tremendous greed of bankers and politicians.

• We are the incarcerated fathers who were ripped from our families by the prison industrial complex.

• We are the homeless veterans who have been abandoned by the government we fought to protect.

• We are the mothers who fear and suffer from the separation of our families due to our immigrant status.

• We are the millions of uninsured in this country who suffer and die daily due to lack of adequate health care.

•We are the youth that have been thrown away by a government that has continuously revoked all our after-school programs, public libraries, and recreation centers.

• We are the workers who struggle every day to make ends meet while corporations reap billions in profit from our labor.

• We are the immigrants who work tirelessly in a country that denies us basic human rights.

• We are the educators that find ourselves incapable of developing the leadership of our youth while schools are shutting down and funding is cut back.

• We are the women who survive and resist in a world that perpetuates tremendous violence at our expense.

How Can you Help ?

While WEAP is the lead organsaition and Ethel Long Scott the spirit behind it, El Taller, Tunisia and the Asian Women’s Human Rights Council are its key partners.Corinne Kumar, International Coordinator of the Courts of Women and the groups working on the World Court have been working very hard for the past two years with scarce resources to make this happen and finally it is happening!

We all could learn from our poor and homeless sisters in the US the art of organizing programmes with little resources.

Speaking from within the belly of the beast, the US World Court will look at issues of poverty and homelessness as a violation of both women’s rights and human rights, and link the struggles in the US with the struggles of the poor around the world. It seeks to expose the great violence poverty is doing to increasing numbers of women in the U.S; to assess the toll poverty is taking on our nation’s families; to end this crime against humanity by building a transformative movement to eliminate poverty;  to protect and expand public resources for the benefit of the 99%, to ensure truly universal health care.


To know more about the Court you could go to their website


This Court is as many of you would know part of the larger global movement of the Courts of Women that through finding new ways to justice seeks to make violence against women unthinkable. With violence against women at their centre, more than forty two Courts of Women have been held in different regions of the world on issues ranging from trafficking, rape, military sexual slavery and other forms of personal violence to violence related to wars, nuclearisation, racism, development and poverty.

The Various Courts of Women have been initiated by AWHRC and El taller with several partner organizations in the different regions. Vimochana has been the local organization in Bangalore, India partnering on several of these Courts including the most recent one held here i.e Daughters of Fire, the India Court of Women on Dowry held in 2009 that many of you were part of.

At present apart from the Court of Women in the US there are two other Courts in preparation – the Colombia Court of Women against Forgetting and for Re-existence to be held in Colombia and the Balkan Court of Women on Justice with Healing to be held in the Balkans region.

Many of you have been with us in the creation and holding of the Courts of Women that have been held in different parts of the world either with your actual participation or expression of solidarity.  You must know how precious your support is for the Courts of Women such that it does become a larger movement for transformation in the ways that we understand and seek out justice.

We ask therefore once again for your solidarity and support for the World Courts of Women on Poverty in the United States.

You could endorse the letter  the letter above  or send a letter of solidarity addressed to Ethel Long Scott, Executive Director WEAP at [email protected]


A List of Courts held so far.

The Courts of Women held so far (1992- August 2007)




Asian Court of Women on Violence against Women

December 1993 January 1994; Lahore, Pakistan;

with the Simorgh Women’s Collective


Asian Court on War Crimes against Women

March 1994; Tokyo, Japan;

in collaboration with sixty four women’s groups in Japan


India Court of Women on Crimes against Dalit Women

March 1994; Bangalore, India; with the Women’s Voice, India


International Court of Women on Women on Reproductive Technologies

September 1994; Cairo, Egypt,

with UBINIG of Bangladesh



Speaking Tree: Women Speak

Asia Court of Women on Crimes against Women

and the Violence of Development

January 1995; with Vimochana, India


Asian Court of Women on Trafficking and Tourism

June 1995; Kathmandu, Nepal; with two hundred

Nepali ngos working on trafficking issues


Mahkamet El Nissa

Permanent Court of Women in the Arab World

June 1995; Beirut, Lebanon; with women’s and

human rights organisations in Tunisia and Lebanon


World Court of Women on Violence against Women

September 1995; Beijing, China; with over one hundred

women human rights groups from all over the world


Mahkamet El Nissa

Women and the Laws

March 1998; Beirut, Lebanon


Mahakama Ya Wa Mama Wa Africa

Africa Court of Women

June 24-26,   1999; Nairobi, Kenya;

with women’s human rights groups in Africa


Nga Wahine Pasifika

The Pacific Court of Women on Uranium mining, nuclear testing and

the Land

September 1999; Aotearoa, New Zealand,

with the Maori Women’s Network


Mediterranean Forum on Violence against Women

November 1999; Casablanca, Morocco; with Amal, Morocco and Crinali, Italy




International Court of Women on the Economic Blockade

November 1999; Havana, with El Taller- Central America,

Cuban Women’ Federation and Institute of Philosophy

Reheld during the World Social Forum, Puerto Allegre, January 2003


World Court of Women against War, for Peace

March 8, 2001; Cape Town, South Africa;

with an International Coordinating Committee and

a network of local women’s and human rights organisations


World Court for Women against Racism

August 30, 2001; Durban, South Africa with the Institute for Black Research,

University of Natal; the University of the Western Cape,

Women’s Support Network, Cape Town; the Durban Social Forum,

Sangoco and several other national

and  international NGO’s


Australian Court on Refugees and Indigenous Women

December 4, 2001; University of New South Wales with ANCORW

Sydney, Australia;


South Asia Court of Women

on the Violence of Trafficking and HIV/ AIDS

August 11-13, 2003; Dhaka, Bangladesh with

United Nations Development Program and UBINIG, Bangladesh


World Court of Women on War as Crime (WTI-Mumbai)

January 18, 2004, with International Action Center; USA;

Arab and Africa Research Center, Egypt; Institute for Black Research, South Africa;

Center for development studies, India.

and several other local and international ngos

at the World Social Forum, Mumbai, India.


Australian Court on Refugees and Indigenous Women

April, 2004 ; University of New South Wales with ANCORW

Sydney, Australia;


Africa Court of Women on the Violence against Women

December 10, 2004 with the Africa Social Forum

and several other local and regional ngos

at the Africa Social Forum, Lusaka, Zambia


Africa Court of Women: lives, livelihoods, lifeworlds

January 29, 2005 with the Africa Social Forum

and several other regional and international ngos

at the World Social Forum, Porto Alegre, Brazil


International Court of Women against Neo-liberal policies

in Latin America

February 2005, Havana, Cuba in association with

the Institute of Philosophy and Galfisa


World Tribunal on Iraq – Arab session

June 15-18, 2005 in Tunis, Tunisia

the Solidarity Committee for Iraq and Palestine



World Court of Women on Resistance to Wars,

Wars of Globalisation, Wars against Women

January 22,2006, World Social Forum Polycentric, Bamako,

with local Mali organizations;

Forum for another Mali, Mali ;Women in Black India, Philippines, Nepal;

Forum for African Women for Solidarity Economy, Senegal;

Institute of Black Research, South Africa; Enda, Senegal, Ethiopia;

Gender Equity Unit, University of the Western Cape, South Africa;

Asafe, Cameroon; Widows of Rwanda, Rwanda;

Kenya Debt Relief Network, Kenya; Femnet, Zambia, Tanzania;

Genta, South Africa; Institute of Philosophy, Cuba;

Federation of Cuban Women, Cuba; Martin Luther King Center, Cuba;


World Court of Women on Resistance to Wars,

Wars of Globalisation, Wars against Women

January 27, 2006, World Social Forum Polycentric, Caracas, Venezuela

with local Venezuelan organizations ;

Intellectuals and artists in the defense of humanity, Venezuela;

Federation of Cuban Women ; Pratec, Peru;

Embacorpaz, Women of the Consensus, Colombia;

Martin Luther King Center, Cuba; Madres de Plaza Mayo, Argentina;

Zapatistas, Mexico ; Asian Women’s Human Rights Council ;

Cieds Collective, India ; Forum for African Women for Solidarity Economy, Senegal

Institute of Black Research, University of Natal, South Africa


World Court of Women on Resistance to Wars,

Wars of Globalisation, Wars against Women

March 22, 2006, World Social Forum Polycentric, Karachi, Pakistan

with the Cieds Collective, India ; Vimochana, India ; El Taller International, Tunisia ;

the Institute of Black Research, University of Natal South Africa ;

the Gender Equity Support Unit, University of the Western Cape, South Africa;

Kenya Debt Relief Network; Kenya ;

Institute of Philosophy, Cuba ; Women in Black India, Philippines, Nepal

Reheld in March 30, 2006 in Lahore, Pakistan

with Simorgh ;


World Court of Women on Poverty: Lives, Livelihoods, Lifeworlds

January 22, 2007  World Social Forum, Nairobi

with CIEDS Collective, India,the Gender Equity Support Unit, University of the Western Cape, South Africa;Kenya Debt Relief Network; Kenya


Asia Pacific Court of Women on HIV, Inheritance and Property Rights:

From Dispossession to Livelihoods, Security and Safe Spaces

August 18, 2007

With UNDP in association with UNAIDS, UNIFEM SARO, ICRW, Inform – Sri Lanka, Centre for Women’s Research; CENWOR – Sri Lanka; Siyath Foundation, Sri Lanka; FWLD, Sri Lanka; Lawyers Collective, India; PWN+, India; Vimochana, India; Milana, India; Abhaya Action Aid, India; Lanka Plus, Sri Lanka; El Taller International


Courts of Women on Dowry and Related Forms of Violence

Daughters of Fire

July 27, 28, 29, 2009

Christ University, Bangalore, India

With partners AWHRC, El Taller and 50 other partner organisations from all over India.





South East Asia Court of Women on HIV, Human Trafficking and Migration:

From vulnerability to free just and safe movement

August 6, 2009

Bali International Convention Center , Nusa Dua , Bali, Indonesia





For details contact:


Corinne Kumar

International Coordinator

Courts of Women


International Coordinating Secretariats


El Taller – International

32, Avenue D’afrique

El Menzah V,

1004 Tunis, Tunisie

Telephone              216 – 71 – 753738

Fax                            216 –7 1 – 751570

Email                            [email protected]

[email protected]



Asian Women’s Human Rights Council


Address              No. 33/1, 9 and 10, Thyagaraj Layout

Jaibharath Nagar

Maruthi Sevanagar PO

Bangalore 560 033



Telephone              91 – 80 – 25492782/1/3

Fax                            91 –  80 –  25492782

Email                            [email protected]