Monday, March 4, 2013

Positions of regional blocks during CSW57

Here's a summary of some of the highlights in the speeches made by Ministers of countries, speaking on behalf of regional blocks, today during the opening session of the CSW57

Fiji spoke on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. The group reaffirmed the Beijing Declaration and is concerned that implementation lacks behind. The Group emphasized the importance of the family and family progress to end violence against women, and that this should be raised in the MDGs, SDGs and Post 2015. They consider the family the foundation of every society, and the wellbeing of the family represents the wellbeing of the society. (This implies that they consider the family –as the cornerstone of society - more important than the rights of the individual.) Equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men was mentioned. Foreign occupation was also mentioned as a grave concern of the group, which is an indirect reference to the Israel-Palestina conflict. 

Chad spoke on behalf of the African Group. It aligned itself with the statement of the Group of 77. They mentioned the importance of legislation in which international agreements are a guide, for example CEDAW. They were proud to mention that the rights of African women have been a priority for Africa, and that they are a “gender equality champion” as this is embedded in the constitution of the African Union. The spokesperson also called for modification of cultural and social patterns that perpetuate violence against women, to promote respectful relations. They also mentioned the importance of combating rape and incest, and child marriages.

Ireland spoke on behalf of Europe, which called all states to ratify and fully implement CEDAW. The EU also reaffirms strong support to the Cairo Programme of Action (CPD) and CDP+5. It stated that “gender equality can not be achieved without the full implementation of sexual and reproductive health and rights” which includes the need for access to services. Also sex education was mentioned. What else? There was much more! “Neither custom, religion, nor so-called honor can be called upon not to fulfill ones responsibilities.” It was also called for to support human rights defenders: women defenders are at increased risk of suffering from violence in comparison to their male counterparts. UNSCR 1325 and related resolutions were mentioned, including sexual violence in conflict. On a more principal level, it was called for to address the root causes of gender inequalities, including unequal power relations between women and men. Addressing gender stereotypes was mentioned. This includes encouraging men and boys to play an active role, to speak out and be “champions”. Looking at the (nearby) future, “gender equality and women’s empowerment must feature prominently in the discussion on Post2015 framework.”

Guyana spoke on behalf of CARICOM (the caribbean community) and mentioned the importance of the promotion of gender equality. The group reaffirmed the Beijing declaration and platform for action as well as CEDAW: the promises of these need to be fulfilled. “Gender based violence” (rather than only violence against women) was mentioned. CARICOM countries are not unique in the struggle to implement BPfA etc. Domestic violence is of great concern to the governments, and comprehensive legal frameworks that criminalize violence against women and girls need to be speeded up. Trafficking for sexual or labour exploitation is also a growing concern for the region. They also flipped the coin to show that lack of resources for proper data collection and research in the region. They want to challenge gender stereotypes and social norms that perpetuate violence, and call for targeted behavioral change and (re)socialization. They have a programme with UNIFEM to engage men and boys to address gender stereotypes, and also work on social transformation through a young women leadership programme.

Uruguay spoke on behalf of MERCOSUR and associated states. The group associates itself with the statement of the G77 and Cuba (see below). Beijing and gender equality were mentioned. Also the region’s leading role in women leadership was mentioned, with examples such as the presidents of Argentina and Uruguay. Health services were called for, including sexual and reproductive health services. Removing barriers standing between the equality between men and women, and make sure responsibilities are truly shared between women and men.

Costa Rica spoke on behalf of the Central America Integration System (SICA). Inequalities and inequities on the basis of gender were mentioned. It was also stated that violence against women is a manifestation of power relations which have by history been unequal. The group want to free its people from stereotypes. Violence against women is considered a violation of many human rights – including the right to life, freedom, torture, protection by law and access to justice. These issues are all considered related to the Beijing declaration. There is a high degree of impunity, and weakness of legal structures in the region. Power relations between women and men need to be transformed  which have been there throughout history. CEDAW was mentioned. And for prevention both social awareness and health care services are important.  

Cuba spoke on behalf of Latin American and Caribbean States. Beijing was mentioned by the region. Sexual and reproductive healthcare services mentioned. Family responsibilities should be shared by both genders. International economic, financial and climate crises were mentioned, which was the first and only time. Cuba also mentioned the importance of promoting democracy and citizenship of women (#right?!). And the need to fulfill all women’s human rights. Social protection was mentioned. The region looks forward to the Post 2015 agenda, with “appropriate attention” for gender equality and women’s empowerment, and gender mainstreaming in all goals. What appropriate attention means, was not made clear.

Indonesia on behalf of the South East Asian nations. Aligns with G77 and China. The region calls for incorporating a gender perspective to achieve an equitable economic and social development. Gender equality and women empowerment were mentioned. The region has developed several programmes to promote gender equality, social justice, well being and rights of women in the region. CEDAW was also mentioned

= Joni van de Sand = 


Lin McDevitt-Pugh said...

Great summary thanks! So where will you focus your lobbying?

Vrouwenbelangen said...

Uitstekend verhaal, gaat deels naar onze website. Dank, Joke Sebus