1325 PeaceWomen E-News Issue #85 December 12 2006

2007: CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPLEMENTING 1325

The Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, 31 October 2000. CLICK HERE for the full text of the resolution.

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THIS ISSUE OF 1325 PEACEWOMEN E-NEWS FEATURES:

1. Editorial:2007: Challenges & Opportunities For Implementing 1325
2. Women, Peace and Security News
3. Feature Initiative: Mama Cash – Campaign 88 Days
4. Feature Resource: Reports on: Psychosocial Challenges and Interventions for Women Affected by Conflict & Gender Based Violence and HIV/AIDS
5. Gender & Peacekeeping Update:
News, Resources & Peacekeeping Watch
6. UNIFEM Update: New Security Council Members and SCR 1325
7. Women, Peace and Security Calendar

The PeaceWomen Project is a project of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Please visit us at http://www.peacewomen.org.


1. EDITORIAL
The PeaceWomen Team

This first edition for 2007 of the PeaceWomen E-News presents an opportunity to reflect the broad range of issues and actors in the women, peace and security sphere. We hope that 2007 is a year in which we see positive activity and action from all relevant actors and on a multiplicity of fronts. Certainly in the area of women’s rights, the Mama Cash Campaign 88 days (item 3) is a strong example of action for social change across geographic boundaries and in several spheres of activity. Of the projects supported by Mama Cash and highlighted here, there is exciting work being done by women on many conflict-related issues – from work with refugees on the Thai-Burma border to projects working to eradicate trafficking in Central Europe from a holistic feminist standpoint. The UNIFEM Update (item 7) also reflects the strong possibilities for collaboration between the UN, Member States and civil society to advance implementation of 1325. As reflected in our range of news stories (see item 2), issues of gender and conflict are ones that arise across the globe from Africa to Latin America to Asia and the Middle East and from conflict prevention to post-conflict reconstruction. As our December issue highlighted, the issue of sexual and gender-based violence in conflict remains critical. The issue has gained particular prominence as allegations of such abuse by UN personnel have arisen over the years. As highlighted in our Peacekeeping Watch (item 5) the UN system is taking steps to deal with this. While abuse by peacekeepers is deplorable, it is important that we do not focus on this site of violence as the only one in conflict affected countries. Resources and attention should not be focused on these incidents at the expense of addressing the widespread violence that occurs outside of the peacekeeping context. Furthermore, violence against women does not stop on the cessation of hostilities – women’s groups in Liberia, for example, are currently struggling with continuing violence and impunity in the aftermath of war. International Women’s Day (March 8) this year will focus on the issue of ending impunity and we welcome contributions and hope to reflect current efforts to deal with this issue in forthcoming editions of the newsletter.

The effects of sexual and gender-based violence are complex and wide-ranging and our resources section (Item 4) features two resources that look at some particularly pertinent health issues. Women are, however, not only victims of conflict but play a variety of roles as peacemakers but also as combatants and both within civil society and within formal institutions. The all-female police unit deployed to Liberia (see item 5) has garnered much attention – not all of it useful. It is important that we consider not simply the numbers of women in such units but the operational impact of their being women. Otherwise we risk such moves becoming gimmicks and window dressing. As Resolution 1325 recognizes, having greater participation of women in all conflict management processes, including institutions such as peacekeeping missions enhances their operational impact and sustainability. Both men and women can efficiently undertake many peacekeeping responsibilities but there are some situations, such as in the aftermath of sexual violence or where there is culturally mandated separation between men and women, that can only or best be addressed by women. It is suggested that some specific activities may benefit from, or require women to carry them out (for example screening, cordon and search activities where women are involved). It is also argued by some that the presence of women in such roles may provide a positive influence in the traditionally masculine or macho military culture. As this month’s peacekeeping resource indicates, however, despite growing recognition and understanding of these possible impacts and the value of women’s engagement in peacekeeping efforts, there is a serious implementation gap. Levels of women’s representation and participation remain dismally low – not only in operations but also at the policy-making level.

The gap between rhetoric and reality is one with which we continue to grapple. PeaceWomen sincerely hopes that this year is one in which real progress is made on implementing 1325 in an effective and sustained way.

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As always we welcome your contributions to the newsletter’s content. Contributions for the February edition should be sent to enewssubmissions@peacewomen.org by Thursday 15 February 2007.


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2. WOMEN, PEACE AND SECURITY NEWS


GLOBAL EXPERTS ENCOURAGE WOMEN AS PEACEKEEPERS
January 19, 2007 (AllAfrica.com) Experts in peace-building have called on African women to become involved with peacekeeping from the start of negotiations to end conflicts, and not to allow themselves to be excluded.

INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE FAILING RAPE VICTIMS
Jan 5, 2007 -(Institute for War and Peace Reporting)Despite significant strides in international law, many sexual violence crimes are going unpunished because of flawed investigations and prosecutions.

LIBERIA: GOVERNMENT, WOMEN'S GROUPS DECRY POST-WAR SEXUAL VIOLENCE
January 15, 2007 (IRIN/PLUSNEWS) - Rising levels of reported rape and sexual exploitation of women and teenage girls in Liberia have sparked concern by both the government and women's rights groups. Despite a peace agreement in 2003 that ended the particularly brutal 14-year civil war, during which fighters sexually assaulted girls and women and sometimes used them as "sex slaves", these types of violent abuse were still common, according to Lois Bruthus, head of the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL), a leading advocacy group."The raping of girls and women is a major problem ... we have been trying to curtail [these attacks], but it still continues," Bruthus told IRIN/PlusNews. Strong anti-rape legislation is in place, but women's groups have charged that a weak court system was hampering rape convictions.

WOMEN BRAINSTORM ON PEACE-BUILDING IN SIERRA LEONE
January 15, 2007 - (Awareness Times Newspaper – Freetown) The Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs, in collaboration with UNICEF and the United Nations Peace Building Support Office, has organized a two-day National Consultation for enhancing women’s engagement with the Peace Building Commission in Sierra Leone. The meeting, which attracted a galaxy of important personalities, including women, commenced last Wednesday, 10th January, at the Kimbima Hotel, Aberdeen, in Freetown.

RWANDA WOMEN MPS TO HOST INTERNATIONAL SUMMIT
January 8, 2007 (The New Times) Members of the Forum of Rwanda Women Parliamentarians (FFRP) will February 22-23, host an international conference to share experiences with their counterparts from various countries around the world. The disclosure was made January 5 by the Forum president Judith Kanakuze, during a FFRP meeting held at the Novotel Hotel. Kanakuze said the conference will be attended 400 delegates, with half the number MPs from other countries. She added that all African countries had been invited for the conference, whose theme will focus on the role of Parliament in ending gender based violence and poverty.

SOMALIA: CHILDREN, WOMEN MOST AFFECTED BY FIGHTING
January 12, 2007 (IRIN) Scores of women and children have been separated from their families or wounded in fighting between Somali government forces and remnants of the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), sources said. A source in southern Somalia, close to the area where air strikes have hit suspected UIC bases, told IRIN on Friday that some civilians, including women and children, "have been killed and others wounded". There are reports of many children between the ages of five and 15 missing from the village of Hayo (10 km from the area where the air strikes have been taking place), he added. "We have no way of knowing how many dead or wounded are out there in the bush," another source said. "We cannot get to them and neither can the nomadic communities, for fear of being killed themselves."

SUDANESE WOMEN ACTING TO END SEXUAL VIOLENCE
January 25, 2007 – (ReliefWeb) The UN and the African Union must do more to insist that the Government of Sudan create an enabling environment to report, investigate and prosecute cases of violence against women. Militarisation and long-standing armed conflicts in many regions have deeply affected the daily lives of Sudanese women, most recently and tragically in Darfur.

DEMOBILISATION OF FEMALE EX-COMBATANTS IN COLOMBIA
January 25, 2007 – (ReliefWeb) Among the millions of Colombian IDPs one group is particularly invisible – women and girls associated with illegal armed groups. The current demobilisation process does not adequately address the consequences of the sexual violence they have suffered before, during and after conflict.

AFGHANISTAN'S EFFORTS TO BOOST WOMEN FALTER
January 19, 2007 (Chicago Tribune ) Sharifa Hamrah does not go to work much anymore. Her job is just too dangerous, considering the rocket attacks, the threats on her life and the would-be suicide bomber who disguised himself as a woman in an attempt to get to her office. She is no soldier. She carries no gun. Yet Hamrah, 48, a short woman with a sly smile and a head scarf, has become an unwilling participant in a war, a potential target like the other women who work for the Women's Affairs Ministry in Afghanistan. "Our problem is we cannot go out," said Hamrah, who is head of women's affairs in troubled southern Paktika province but spends much of her time in Kabul. "We cannot go to the districts. We cannot go to the villages. We cannot talk to village elders. We cannot even talk to women."

ISRAELI WOMEN CHALLENGE MEANING OF SECURITY
January 19, 2007 (WOMENSENEWS)—"Security for Whom?" That's the question that two women's organizations will be asking for the second year in a row next week as they meet on the sidelines of a prestigious security conference held annually since 2000 in the scenic coastal city of Herziliya. The central four-day Herziliya conference, which starts Jan. 21, will feature speakers such as Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, former CIA director James Woolsey and former Prime Minister of Spain Jose Maria Aznar. Discussions will include the direction of the Israeli Defense Forces in the wake of the Second Lebanon War and coping with a "nuclearizing" Iran.

FEMALE ACTIVISTS A FORCE IN MALE-DOMINATED GAZA
January 5, 2007 (NPR) Amid ongoing violence in Gaza, Palestinian women are increasingly moving to the forefront of activism and, in some cases, taking part in the fighting. Long kept in the social, political and military background in male-dominated Palestinian society, women's increased participation marks a significant change. The activism also takes starkly different forms: Secular women have led protests against lawlessness in Gaza, while the first suicide bombing in months by the Islamist group Hamas was carried out by a 72-year-old Gaza grandmother.

NEPAL: CALL FOR WOMEN'S PARTICIPATION IN PEACE BID
January 18, 2007 (The rising Nepal): Women's participation is a must in the peace building process and for sustainable development in the post-conflict situation, say international experts. The international and national-level experts discussed on transforming conflict into peace by sharing opportunities for sustainable development in the post-conflict environment. The experts shared their experiences and learning from other conflicts areas during the international conference on "Sustainable Development in Conflict Environment: Challenges and Opportunities" organised by the Canadian Centre for International Studies and Cooperation-Nepal (CECI).

ECUADOR SAYS NEW DEFENSE MINISTER TO BE A WOMAN
January 27, 2007 - (Reuters) President Rafael Correa of Ecuador said on Saturday that he will name a woman to the top security job after the country's first female Defense Minister Guadalupe Larriva was killed in a helicopter crash earlier this week.

ETHIOPIAN WOMEN REDISCOVER THEIR ROLES AS PEACE BUILDERS
January 30, 2007 – (Oxfam) By raising awareness of the suffering produced by conflicts, women help find alternatives to violence. Tato Boru, 48 and the mother of five children, is a peacemaker. She leads the Moyale area women's peace council which Oxfam's local partner, the Research Center for Civic and Human Rights Education (RCCHE), helped to found.


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For more country-specific women, peace and security news, CLICK HERE

For more international women, peace and security news, CLICK HERE

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3. FEATURE INITIATIVe

Mama Cash: Campaign 88 Days
December 10 2006 – March 8 2007

Campaign 88 Days is a worldwide effort to raise awareness, take action and mobilize resources for women’s rights. In the 88 days between International Human Rights Day (December 10th 2006), and International Women’s Day (March 8th 2007), women from around the world are banding together to make a difference for women’s rights. Mama Cash is a women's fund which finances projects conceived by women; strong women who set an example for others, who know first-hand experience that it is possible to turn the tide if women know their rights and claim them.

For more information, please visit: http://88days.mamacash.org/page.php?id=446

8 Projects Supported by Mama Cash

South Africa: education on AIDS by comic book
The Transformative Human Rights Unit (THRU), uses comic books to fight social prejudice on hiv infected women. THRU also uses comic books to inform women about the Equality Courts. Women that need legal advice because of gender related discrimination they face, can turn to these easily accessible ‘courts’, where they get assistance at very low cost.

Israel: a voice for lesbian women
Aswat, which means voice in Arabic, was formed in 2003 by a group of women who wanted to add a Palestinian lesbian voice to the Israeli gay movement. They are a dynamic and brave group of women who want to break with the taboo around homosexuality. Aswat members fight for the rights of lesbian women who face triple discrimination in a country where they’re discriminated against as Palestinians living under Israeli rule, as women in a male-dominated society, and as lesbians in an Arab community where there’s no official word for ‘gay’.

Thailand/Birma: refugee camps along the border
Karen Women's Organisation (KWO) in Thailand, with membership of more than 30,000 women from Karen, a district in Burma, supports and organises Burmese women in the struggle for democracy and equality in Burma. The country's civil war has led to overflowing refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border. This is where KWO is active. KWO Women's Protection Programme empowers refugee women, raises awareness of their rights, and supports victims of violence through education and facilitating the exchange of experiences. KWO's Safe House Project provides a temporary refuge for victims of domestic violence, rape and trafficking.

Ecuador: struggle for sexual rights
Although over the last years access to information about contraceptives has grown in Latin America, many women, particularly young women, lack knowledge and access to contraceptive methods. Many conservative groups in society inhibit awareness raising efforts to reach women, particularly young women, although the use of (emergency) contraception is legal in Ecuador. Fundacion Desafio (meaning Challenge) is a courageous group which promotes and protects the right to access emergency contraception. Their health centre provides services for a minimal, or no, charge and treats all women regardless of their age, economic means or marital status.

Poland: education on sexual behaviour for high school students
Volunteers of the Ponton organization teach high school students on sexual behaviour and birth control.
Ponton works in the Warschau region, where the lessons are given at school to students between 14 and 20 years old. ‘We get questions like “I took one of my mother’s birth control pills and then had sex. Is this bad for my health?”, says Anka Grzywacz of Ponton. The questions from young people illustrate how poorly informed they are about sexuality. As a result teenage pregnancy in Poland is a serious problem.

Azerbeidzjan: Femina: monthly supplement to the newspaper
Former Soviet Union (FSU) women appear in the press mostly as fashion or entertainment figures and rarely as professionals, experts in their fields or as participants in political and social processes. The image of a woman as mother and keeper of the hearth prevails. Nothing is said about women’s unemployment, domestic violence, problems of women’s entrepreneurs or self-realisation. The Azeri organisation, Azerbaijan Young Lawyers’ Union (AYLU), published a monthly supplement to the Russian-Azeri newspaper Zerkalo. This supplement is called Femina and is devoted to gender equality in society: equal rights and opportunities.

Bolivia: Campana 28 de Septiembre
Campana 28 de Septiembre por la despenalizacion del Aborto en Bolivia aims to reanimate the somewhat dormant Bolivian women’s movement. Campana 28 de Septiembre organised a national congress around the theme of legalizing abortion. The event lasted from the 15th through the 17th of June 2006, and one of its accomplishments was the creation of a ‘platform of demands’ for women’s reproductive rights.
The goal of the platform is to influence the Morales government which is in the process of drafting a new constitution. The Bolivian women’s rights activists argue in the platform of demands not only for a constitutional right to reproductive freedom, but also for the separation of church and state and for broadening the definition of the family beyond the traditional family. Women held a demonstration and presented the document on September 28th to the government in front of the national parliament.

Central Europe: fighting trafficking
The Anti Trafficking Centre is a feminist non-governmental organization working to eradicate trafficking in human beings, with the special emphasis on women and girls. The work of ATC focuses on the causes of the problem of trafficking, such as gender-based violence, poverty, unemployment, and the lack of safe migration. ATC organises public advocacy, media campaigns, provides information to women and girls, and includes men as allies in the struggle for stopping violence against women, which is one of the root causes of trafficking in human beings.

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For more women, peace and security initiatives – in country, regional, global and international, visit: http://www.peacewomen.org/campaigns/global/index.html

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4. FEATURE RESOURCEs


Psychosocial Challenges and Interventions for Women Affected by Conflict

Critical Half, Bi-annual journal of Women for Women International, September 2006 Vol. 4 No. 1

The articles in this journal edition highlight the psychological and social difficulties encountered by conflict-affected women. The general hardship and trauma of conflict is often compounded further by gender-based violence, which takes a heavy toll on women's mental health. Both during war and afterward, women may feel ongoing anxiety and fear as they worry about soldiers who might torture or kill them and their loved ones. Women who have been sexually violated can suffer humiliation and shame, and even become ostracized by those who consider rape to bring dishonour to a woman's family and community. Women may also lack the social support that normally provides solace or assistance in grieving. The authors discuss ways to design effective psychosocial programs that facilitate healing and encourage women's active participation in the reconstruction of their communities. Case studies from Sudan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Gaza, Croatia, and Nigeria are provided.

For the full journal please visit: http://www.peacewomen.org/resources/Health/WforW_psychsoc.pdf

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Action on Gender Based Violence and HIV/AIDS: Bringing Together Research, Policy, Programming and Advocacy
Center for Women's Global Leadership, January 2007

In response to the human rights and public health crises posed by both the HIV pandemic and the unabating levels of gender-based violence (GBV), policy makers, activists and programmers at international, regional and national levels have in recent years bolstered attention to the conceptual and methodological intersections of work in these areas. A small group of organizations and experts working at the intersection of GBV and HIV came together to share lessons learned from working from a variety of entry points, including human rights, gender, feminism, sexuality, and sexual rights, at global, national and local levels, using various methods and within different country contexts. This brief report summarizes discussions, outcomes, and recommendations from the consultation.

For the full report , please visit:http://www.peacewomen.org/resources/HIV-AIDS/GBV%20and%20HIVAIDS.pdf

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For NGO and civil society reports, papers and statements, UN and government reports, and books, journals and articles on women, peace and security issues, please visit: http://www.peacewomen.org/resources/resourcesindex.html


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5.GENDER AND PEACEKEEPING UPDATE

PEACEKEEPING News

LIBERIA GETS ALL-FEMALE PEACEKEEPING FORCE
31 January 2007 - (BBC News) A unit of United Nations peacekeepers with a difference has arrived for work in Liberia - they are all women. More than 100 female peacekeepers from India are there to work as an armed police unit to help stabilize Liberia which, after years of war, is trying to rebuild its own police force from scratch.

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PEACEKEEPING WATCH

UN’S LIBERIA MISSION CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE INVESTIGATION INTO POSSIBLE SEXUAL ABUSE
19 January 2007 – (UN News Centre) The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) has called for an immediate internal investigation after receiving information about possible sexual exploitation by some of its staff, a UN spokesperson said today.

JOINT UN-SUDAN GOVERNMENT TASK FORCE TO DEAL WITH ISSUE OF SEXUAL EXPLOITATION
18 January 2007 –(UN News Center) As part of the United Nations zero tolerance policy towards sexual exploitation, the world body’s mission in Sudan today agreed with the Government and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to set up a joint task force to foster coordination, information-sharing and action to stamp out the problem wherever it may occur.

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GENDER AND PEACEKEEPING Resources:

United Nations Reform: Improving Peace Operations by Advancing the Role of Women
The Stanley Foundation in cooperation with Women in International Security, November 2006

In recent years, various international commitments and declarations have been adopted that recognize the importance of women's participation in United Nations peace processes. While there is a growing understanding of the value that women bring to these efforts, implementation of existing mandates is sporadic. In spite of past UN efforts, today just 1 percent of peacekeeping troops are women.
In November 2006, the Stanley Foundation and Women in International Security (WIIS) convened expert meetings in New York and Washington to gain further insights into the challenges and opportunities the United Nations faces in reforming its peace operations and to offer constructive, actionable measures to assist the United Nations in its reform efforts.

United Nations Reform: Improving Peace Operations by Advancing the Role of Women, a new report from the Stanley Foundation, provides context on these important issues and summarizes the key findings and recommendations provided in the November meetings.

For the full report visit: http://www.peacewomen.org/resources/Peacekeeping/PDF/stanley_WIIS.pdf

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For PeaceWomen’s Peacekeeping Watch index, visit: http://www.peacewomen.org/un/pkwatch/pkwatch.html

For more gender and peacekeeping news and resources, visit PeaceWomen’s Gender and Peacekeeping Index:
http://www.peacewomen.org/un/pkwatch/pknews.html

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6. UNIFEM / NGOWG UPDATE

New Security Council Members and SCR 1325
UNIFEM and the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security have invited the five new members of the Security Council (non-permanent members as of 01 Jan 2007) to participate in mission-wide workshops on SCR 1325. The purpose of the workshop is to provide governmental mission staff with an understanding of SCR 1325, including its contribution to and purpose in the overall peace and security mandate of the Security Council (SC). In late January, UNIFEM and the NGOWG, in coordination with the host government and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), co-convened the first of these SCR 1325 workshops. We intend for these types of collaborations to provide an initial opportunity for mission staff to identify ways to advance women, peace, and security issues in their daily work and to generate accountability for the implementation of SCR 1325 in the SC and the UN at-large.

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UNIFEM’s Web Portal on Women, Peace and Security, CLICK HERE

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7. WOMEN, PEACE AND SECURITY CALENDAR

Call for Papers: Gender Research Network Launch Conference: Engendering Policy and Politics International and comparative challenges and perspectives
21-22 June 2007, University of Manchester
An international, interdisciplinary conference hosted by the Gender Research Network, School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester, Chancellor's Conference Centre, 21-22 June 2007, supported by the Social Policy Association, the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence at the University of Manchester and the Political Studies Association Women and Politics Specialist Group.

For more information please visit: http://www.peacewomen.org/frame/calendar/launch_conf.htm

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Making Governance Gender Responsive
19-24 February 2007, Manila, Philippines
Center for Asia Pacific Women in Politics Institute for Gender, Governance & Leadership
The course is designed for parliamentarians, middle and senior level government executives and officials, women and men in local governments, political parties, research and training institutes and civil society organizations and non-government organizations who are leading or participating in governance reform initiatives in their respective countries. The course is composed of modules developed to enhance the participants’ understanding of the link between gender and governance as well as increase their awareness of gender biases in governance.

For more information please visit: http://www.peacewomen.org/frame/calendar/MGGR%20Info%20Sheet

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Commission on the Status of Women, 51st session
26th February - 9th March, UN headquarters, New York
The fifty-first session of the Commission on the Status of Women will take place from 26 February to 9 March 2007. In accordance with its multi-year programme of work for 2007-2009, the Commission will consider “The elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child” as its priority theme.

For more information, please visit http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/51sess.htm

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For the complete calendar, CLICK HERE.

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