Thursday, March 7, 2013

First day of the negotiations during CSW57

UPDATE: The Cross Regional Group of Islamic countries has broken.

After the regional blocks and national governments delivered their speeches in the last days, this Thursday the negotiations on the outcome document of the CSW really started.

Here are some of the highlights:

As of this morning negotiations, the Philippine delegation received support on its paragraph on sexual orientation and gender identity from Norway, Iceland, New Zealand, USA and Canada. Brasil also reaffirmed their positive position on SOGI.

From the dynamics in the room it has become clear that the Holy See, Russian FederationIranSyriaSudan and CARICOM (the regional block of Caribbean countries) are getting along really well.

The paragraph on sexual and reproductive health and rights added by the group of like-minded European countries, is a crucial one for many women’s rights activists:

9 quat. [Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom ADD: The Commission recognizes that protecting and fulfilling the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls is a necessary condition to achieve gender equality, to enable all women to enjoy all human rights, and to prevent and mitigate violence against women and girls.]

The reference to SRHR here has to be understood in the context of its importance for prevention and protection of women and girls against violence. This is nothing new, as the connection between them was already agreed to in the outcome documents of the CPD of 2011 and 2012.

However, concerns about the paragraph were voiced by the Holy See and African group. The Russian Federation, Malta and Iran called for deletion. Latin American countries seemed rather divided, with Nicaragua being against, and Colombia and Peru (very much) in favor. Turkey, Switzerland, Norway, the Philippines  New Zealand, Korea, the USA and Poland (!) were quite to extremely supportive of the paragraph.

9 ter. [US ADD: The Commission recognizes that violence against women and girls has both short- and long-term adverse consequences on their health and enjoyment of rights, including their reproductive health, and that promoting sexual and reproductive health and protecting and ensuring reproductive rights are crucial to preventing and mitigating violence against women and girls, achieving gender equality, and ensuring that women and girls enjoy all of their human rights; (new)]

Several countries, such as Chile, Indonesia, Bangladesh stated that they prefer the paragraph bove over 9 quat. This is because here “sexual rights” are not included in the text. What becomes clear from this is that the previously mentioned Cross Regional Group of Islamic states led by Egypt, does not agree on the issue of reproductive rights: Indonesia and Bangladesh (go, go, go!) are in favor, whereas some of the others have spoken out that they are against.

The CSW managed to go through the text till page 13, which means they have another half of the document to go. Meanwhile the CSW is taking notes and will redraft the text, so after the weekend a new- 4th -draft is to be expected. To be continued tomorrow!

= Joni van de Sand = 

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