Thursday, March 14, 2013

Catholics, Protestants, citizens from Arab countries and feminists call for strong agreements

[This statement was re-released today and signed by an overwhelming number and diversity of organizations and people from all around the world. Deliberately not naming and shaming any specific countries nor regions, it is directed to those who attempt to re-open established international agreements. = Joni van de Sand = ]

We, the undersigned organisations and individuals across the globe, are again concerned that the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is wavering in its commitment to advance women’s human rights as demonstrated in the constant negotiation of the language in the outcome document.

On the occasion of celebrating the International Women’s Day we call on the states to reaffirm its commitment to agreed upon standards in promoting women’s human rights as articulated in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action as well as other international humanitarian and human rights law.

We say NO to any re-opening of negotiations on the already established international agreements on women’s human rights and call on all governments to demonstrate their commitments to promote, protect and fulfill human rights and fundamental freedoms of women.

We commend those states that are upholding women’s rights in totality. We urge states to reaffirm standards that they have agreed to. Considering the lack of an outcome document last year we hope that this is not the pattern when it comes to advancing women’s human rights agenda. Women’s human rights are not to be negotiated away.

Similar to last year, we strongly hold the position that given the progressive development in the international era on standard setting there should no longer be any contention on any issues related to the definition and intersectionality of women and girls experiencing violence against women, including in relations to sexual and reproductive health and rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, harmful practices perpetuated in the context of negative culture and traditions, among others. We remind states that the CSW is the principal global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women with the sole aim of promoting women’s rights in political, economic, civil, social and educational fields. Its mandate is to ensure the full implementation of existing international agreements on women’s human rights and gender equality.

We strongly demand all governments and the international community to reject any attempt to invoke traditional values or morals to infringe upon human rights guaranteed by international law, nor to limit their scope. Customs, tradition or religious considerations must not be tolerated to justify discrimination and violence against women and girls whether committed by State authorities or by non-state actors. Given the current global activism around violence against women it is imperative that member states take the lead in agreeing on a progressive outcome document that reaffirms its commitments to universal human rights standards.

This is an important moment as we are planning the post 2015 process. The outcome document has to advance women’s human rights and not lower the bar for women’s human rights. Future international negotiations must move forward implementation of policies and programmes that secure the human rights of girls and women.

We call upon the member states of the UN and the various UN human rights and development entities to recognise and support the important role of women’s groups and organisations working at the forefront of challenging traditional values and practices that are intolerant to fundamental human rights norms, standards and principles.

Endorsed by:


Acid Survivors Foundation
Actionaid Nigeria
Agricultural Missions, Inc.  (AMI)
Alliance F-Alliance de sociétés féminines suisses
American Association of University Women (AAUW)
Amnesty International
Anglican Women's Empowerment (AWE)
Antalya Womens Counselling Center and Solidarity Association
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)
Asia Safe Abortion Partnership
Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women (ARROW)
Association for Monitoring Gender Equality (CEID), Turkey
Association for Progressive Communications
Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) 
Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE)
Association pour le développement et de la promotion des droits Humains (ADPDH)
Association pour le Progrés et la Défense des Droits des Femmes (APDF), Mali
Association Suisse pour les Droits de la Femme - ADF–SVF
ASTRA Network-Central and Eastern European Women’s Network for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
Aurat Foundation
Autonomous Women's Center, Serbia
Ayvalık Bağımsız Kadın inisiyatifi, Turkey
Bahamas Crisis Centre
Bahrain Young Ladies Association
Blue Veins 
CAFRA, Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action, St. Lucia
CAFRA, Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action, Trinidad and Tobago
Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
Caribbean Women's Association
Catholics for the Right to Decide Argentina
Catholics for the Right to Decide Bolivia
Catholics for the Right to Decide Brazil
Catholics for the Right to Decide Chile
Catholics for the Right to Decide Colombia
Catholics for the Right to Decide Ecuador
Catholics for the Right to Decide El Salvador
Catholics for the Right to Decide México
Catholics for the Right to Decide Nicaragua
Catholics for the Right to Decide Paraguay
Catholics for the Right to Decide Perú
CDO Pakistan
Center for Economic and Social Rights
Center for Egyptian Women's Legal Assistance (CEWLA)
Center for Partnership Studies
Center for Reproductive Rights
Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL), Rutgers University
Center for Women Policy Studies
Centre for Research and Action on Peace (KEDE), Greece
Centre for Secular Space
Centre for Social and Gender Research "New Life", Ukraine
Centre for Social Research
CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality
Church Women United
City and County of San Francisco, Department on the Status of Women
Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC), Nigeria
COC Netherlands
Comité d'action contre la traite humaine interne et international
Comité de América Latina y el Caribe para la Defensa de los Derechos de las Mujeres (CLADEM)
Commission for Filipino Migrant Workers, RESPECT Network
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women Network, Sweden
Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada
Community Development Organization (CDO Pakistan)
Connecting Gender for Development (COGEN), Nigeria
Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights
Dominica National Council of Women
East End Chapter of the National Organization for Women
Education International (EI)
Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement
Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
European Women’s Network (ENOW), Greece
Equality Now
Esitlik Izleme (Esitiz), Turkey
European Women's Lobby
EVAWG alliance KP-FATA
EVAWG alliance (ICT)
Executive Committee for NGO Forum on CEDAW -Turkey
Federación Internacional de Mujeres de Carreras Jurídicas
Federation Against Violence Against Women (FAVAW)
Federation for Women and Family Planning, Poland
Fellowship of Reconciliation, Nyack, NY
Femin Ijtihad
Feminist Atelier (FEMA), Cyprus
Feminist Task Force (FTF)
Femmes Juristes Suisse – Women Lawyers Switzerland
FIAN International
Fiji Women's Rights Movement
Flying Broom Women's Communication and Research Association, Turkey
Foreign Spouses Support Group (Malaysia)
Foundation for Women (Thailand)
Foundatıon for Women's Solıdarıty (Kadın Dayanışma Vakfı), Turkey 
Fundacion para Estudio e Investigacion de la Mujer (FEIM), Argentina
Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP)
Gay Japan News
Global Allies for Human Rights, Disarmament and Development in Africa (GAHADA Partners)
Gender and Water Alliance
Gender at Work
Global Health Awareness Research Foundation (GHARF)
Global Fund for Women
Global Justice Center
Global Network of Women Peacebuilders
Greater Los Angeles Chapter of National Committee of UN Women
Group Development Pakistan
Help & Shelter, Guyana
Huairou Commission
The Hunger Project
Institut de recherche et d’études stratégiques de Khyber (IRESK)
Institute for Science and Human Values, Inc.
Institute for Women's Empowerment, Hong Kong
Institute for Women’s Leadership, Rutgers University
Institute of Bioethics, Human Rights and Gender (ANIS), Brazil
Interfaith Center of New York
Interfaith Consortium for Ecological Civilization
International Alliance of Women
International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN)
International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
International Federation of Business and Professional Women
International Network of Liberal Women (INLW)
International Peace Bureau
International Public Policy Institute
International Trade Union Confederation
International Women’s Human Rights Clinic at Georgetown Law
International Women's Anthropology Conference
International Women's Rights Action Watch
International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW Asia Pacific)
International Women's Rights Project, Canada
Isis International
İstanbul Feminist Collective
Izmir Women Solidarity Association, Turkey
Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights
Jamaica Household Workers Union
Kalyanamitra, Indonesia
KARAT Coalition
La Ligue du Droit International des Femmes (LDIF)
Latin American Network of Catholics for the Right to Decide
Lawyers for Justice and Peace (LJP)
MARUAH, Singapore
Media Equity Collaborative
Medical Women's International Association (MWIA)
Millennia2025 Women and Innovation Foundation, PUF
Montgomery County NOW
Namibia Women's Health Network
National Association for Resource Improvement
National Coalition on Affirmative Action (NCAA)
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA
National Council of Women of Canada
National Council of Women’s Organizations
National Organization of Women, Barbados
Nepal International Consumers UNION
Netherlands Council of Women
Network of Expertise on Gender, Resilience and Interdependent Economics
NGO Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW)
NGO-Coordination post Beijing Switzerland
Ni-Ta-Nee NOW
Niger Delta Women's Movement for Peace and Development (NDWPD)
Nodo Mexicano. El Proyecto del Milenio, A.C.
Northeast Williamsport NOW
Norwegian Association for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (Sex og Politikk)
Osez Le Féminisme
Overseas Development Institute, Social Development Programme
Oxfam International
Pacific Women’s Watch (New Zealand), Inc.
Partners for Law in Development, India
Peace X Peace
PEN International
Pennsylvania National Organization for Women
People's Movement For Human Rights Learning (PDHRE)
Perak Women for Women (Malaysia)
PILIPINA Legal Resources Center, Philippines
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Public Service Alliance of Canada
Purple Roof Women’s Shelter Foundation
Quality of Citizenship, Jamaica
Red de Educación Popular Entre Mujeres de Latinoamerica y el Caribe (REPEM LAC)
Red de Mujeres Afrolatinoamericanas, Afrocaribeña y la Diáspora
Red Feminista Frente a la Violencia Contra Las Mujeres (REDFEM), El Salvador
Red Nacional de Jóvenes y Adolescentes para la Salud Sexual y Reproductiva (RedNac), Argentina
Red Thread, Guyana
Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean (CATWLAC)
Regards de Femmes
Rights for All Women (RAW), Denmark
Roks, The National Organisation for Women's Shelters and Young Women's Shelters in Sweden
Rozaria Memorial Trust
RUMPUN, Indonesia
Rumpun Tjoet Nyak Dien, Indonesia
Rutgers WPF, Netherland
S4 Foundation, Guyana
Safe4Athletes, Los Angeles Ca.
Shirakat - Partnership for Development
Shirkat Gah - Women's Resource Centre, Pakistan
Siglo XXIII, El Salvador
Sisters Inside
Sisters in Islam
Sistren Theatre Collective/Groots Jamaica
Socialist Feminist Collective
Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD)
Society for Promotion of Education and Development (SPED)
Soroptimist International
SOS line for victims of violence “by your side,” Greece
SOS Sexisme, France
South Hills NOW
SRIA Rwanda Ltd 
SUARAM (Malaysia)
SVAMV – Association (faîtière) suisse des familles monoparentales
Swayam, Kolkata, India
Taller Salud, Puerto Rico
Temple of Understanding
Tenaganita (Malaysia)
Terre des Jeunes du Burundi
To Love Children Educational Foundation International, Inc. 
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
United Methodist Women, Global Justice, Community Action and Public Policy Offices
United Methodist Women, Washington Office of Public Policy
Urban Justice Center
Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation (VIDC)
Virginia Gildersleeve Fund (VGIF)
Vision Spring Initiatives, Nigeria
White Ribbon Campaign
WIDE, Network for Women´s Rights and Feminist Perspectives in Development
Widows for Peace through Democracy (WPD)
Womankind Worldwide
WO=MEN Dutch Gender Platform
Women Against Rape Inc., Antigua/Barbuda
Women against Violence Europe (WAVE)
Women against Violence Network Serbia
Women Enabled, Inc.
Women & Gender Equality Commission of Guyana
Women Graduates USA
Women for Women's Human Rights (WWHR) - New Ways, Turkey
Women Graduates-USA
Women Living Under Muslim Laws
Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (WOCAN)
Women Peacemakers Program
Women Studies Center, Punjabi University Patiala, India
Women Transforming Cities International Society
Women Won't Wait Campaign
Women's Aid Organisation (WAO), Malaysia
Women's Association of Romania
Women's Centre for Change (WCC) Penang, Malaysia
Women’s Coalition, Turkey
Women's Coalition for Justice and Democracy
Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO)
Women's Federation for World Peace, Intl.
Women’s Front, Norway
Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR)
Women's Intercultural Network (WIN)
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Philadelphia/Delco Branch
Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau (Philippines)
Women's Refugee Commission
Women's Resource and Outreach Centre (WROC), Jamaica
Women's Sports Foundation
Women's World Summit Foundation (WWSF)
Workers Hub for Change (WH4C)
World Federation for Mental Health
World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women
World YWCA
WUNRN, Women's UN Report Network
Zonta International Club Dhaka

Joanne Abbensetts
Hassan Said Abdourahman
Waheed Ahmad
Niaz Ahmed
Gwendolyn Albert
Florence Allen
Molly Anderson
Jodi Anthony
Sally Armstrong
Dr. Mary-Wynne Ashford
Katy Beaver
Dr. Wolfgang Benedek
Guerda Benjamin
Cynthia B. Blake
Joddah Bokhari
Amber Bonnici
Paola Brambilla
Marti Britt
Rosalind Buck
Charlotte Bunch
Noreen Campbell
Elaine Chan-Scherer
Marllyn Chang
Hilda Rømer Christensen
Corina Ciechanow
Nadine Commergnat
Emmeline Craig
Aslı Davas
Theresa Derlan Yeh
Claire Desaint
Audrey Desnoes
Mary Diamond 
Denise Dias
Emily Doherty
Jocelyn Dow
Josephine Dublin-Prince
Crystal Easton
Cynthia Enloe
Dundeen Ferguson
Cynthia Fuchs Epstein
Uche Ewuzie
Lana Finikin
Dr. Helga Foster
Laurice de Gale
A. P. Gautam
Elizabeth Gibbons
Eunice Graham
Stephanie Grant
Shera Grant Clarke
Joan Grant Cummings
Barbara M. Hall
Leila Hessini
Maliha Husain
Leila Jagdeo
Eunadie Johnson
Deborah Kasman
Beata Koropatwa
Dr. Dashurije Koshi
Rebecca Landy
Kate Langlois
Michelle Lee
Dr. Nancy C. Lee
Bette Levy
Shirley Lewis
Georgia Love
Mary MacDonald
Houzan Mahmoud
Havi Mandell
Eleonora Barbieri Masini
Terri Matlock
Norah Matovu Winyi
Caron McCloud
Shiloh Sophia McCloud
Dr. Lyla Mehta
Vera Mehta
Tufail Mohammad
Martha Morgan
Marcia L Morehead
Hasna Moudud
Dr. Fulata L. Moyo
L. Uma Mulnick, DC
Qamar Naseem
Mr Amjad Nazeer
Joyce Neu
Hilary C. Nicholson
Claytine Nisbett
Hina Noureen
Carole A. Oglesby
Muradiye ORAL 
Meral Özaygen
Dr Rukhshinda Parveen
Joanne Payton
William Pervaiz
Elly Pradervand
Angela de Prairie, MNM MA
Lily Pulu
Danuta Radzik
Vanda Radzik
Md-Mamunur Rahman
Betty Reardon
Marilyn Rice-Brown
Dr. Kay Richmond
Sonia Robinson
Dr. Marilyn P. Safir
M. Angelica Sepulveda Salinas
Mary Schilder
Maggie Schmeitz
Mab Segrest
Tina Siebers
Kathleen Sloan
Fatou Sow
Ann Stacy
Jerilyn Stapleton
Irene Sullivan
Anne-Marie Swalens
Tenin Toure
Linnette Vassell
Annette Wagner
Michaela Walsh
Judith Wedderburn
Marie C. Wilson
Everjoice Win
Katherine Witteman
Alexandrina Wong 
Rev. Bond Wright