Thursday, December 19, 2013

European Parliament Report on Human Rights Calls for Stand-Alone Goal on Gender Equality, Respect for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, and an End to Violence Against Women

[Brussels, 12 December 2013] On 11 December 2013, the European Parliament adopted its yearly report on the Annual Report on Human Rights in the World 2012 and the European Union’s policy on the matter. The EWL is pleased to see many recommendations in the report addressing women’s rights.

In particular, MEPs call for for a stand-alone goal for women’s rights and gender equality to be included in the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals, with a strong emphasis on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. Very interestingly: on the day before, MEPs voted an alternative resolution to the Estrela report on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), recalling the subsidiarity principle when it comes to health policies, and therefore denying any debate on the issue as the resolution canceled the vote on the report.

Moreover, the report on Human Rights "calls for efforts to be stepped up to ensure the fullest possible achievement, prior to the expiry of the deadlines, of the Millennium Development Goals as regards gender equality, maternal health and access to adequate health systems, education and sexual and reproductive health rights, especially for the most vulnerable groups such as girls and young women, on the basis of a solid commitment on the part of governments to enhance accountability and monitoring mechanisms for existing human rights obligations, promote access to justice for all and ensure effective participation for all, including the most marginalised and disadvantaged, in development, decision making and implementation."

So, if the Estrela report has not been adopted this week, nevertheless the European Parliament sends a strong message about SRHR as human rights.

Finally, the report calls for an immediate end to all acts of violence, sexual assault and other forms of degrading treatment against female protesters and women‘s rights activists and for serious and impartial investigations into all such cases and full accountability for those responsible.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013


UNITED NATIONS: “Those who deny women and girls their right to education, violate Islam,” Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Masood Khan told a UN audience. He said the religion was for all men and women without discrimination.

He observed that the terrorist attack on Malala Yousufzai showed that “the forces of darkness” were afraid of the education that gave courage to girls to stand up for their rights.

“Those who do so (deny girls’ education) violently, violate the right to life and the right to education,” he said while addressing a Unesco-sponsored discussion on the “Importance of education and sports in preventing gender-based violence” held at the UN Headquarters on the sidelines of the current session of the Commission on the Status of Women.

The Director-General of Unesco, Irina Bokova, presided. Emphasising that education is enlightenment, emancipation, empowerment and development, Mr Khan said Pakistan had always given priority to education for girls and boys, for men and women.

“In education lies the redemption of a nation and the entire international community. The attack against Malala was as evil as it was showed that the forces of darkness are afraid of the education that gives courage to girls as young as Malala to stand for their rights against all odds,” the Pakistani envoy added. He said Pakistani women parliamentarians, with the support of all political parties, were creating new legislative and administrative space for women’s education.

Masood Haider - March 6, 2013
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Wednesday, November 13, 2013


The Committee of NGOs from Latin America and the Caribbean on the Status of Women – CSW- was created along with those from 4 other regions of the world, with the goal of strengthening regional processes to influence gender equality and the women’s empowerment agenda. One of the principal activities of this new body is to organize forums for sharing and discussion that bring women’s concerns to governments’ attention during the regional meetings of the United Nations. 

The Committee represents non-governmental organizations of women from Latin America and the Caribbean in the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which was created in 1946, is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and is “the principal global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women.”

The Advisory Council of the Executive Committee of Organizations includes for the first period Mabel Bianco  of FEIM-Argentina (co-president), Lana Louise Finikin of Sistren Theatre Collective-Jamaica (co-president), Aidé García of CDD-México (vice-president), Delores Robinson of ASPIRE-Trinidad and Tobago (vice-president), Susana Chiarotti of CLADEM (treasurer), Rocío Rosero of REPEM LAC and ACDemocracia-Ecuador (secretary), Tarcila Rivera of Centro de Culturas Indígenas del Perú (member), and Dorotea Wilson of Red de Mujeres Afrolatinoamericanas, Afrocaribeñas y de la Diáspora and Colectiva Mujer (member).

The representatives of these organizations with consultative status in the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) are feminists with a long history of defending women’s rights in the United Nations Committee for the Decade for Women, now known as the Committee of NGOs on the Status of Women, and of which they will be constituent members. 

The foundational objectives of the CoNGO are to provide “a forum for information-sharing and profound discussions on issues and policies related to women under consideration by the UN and on other relevant studies on women, and with regard to specific programs in the context of Latin America and the Caribbean,” as well as “to work to incorporate a gender perspective in Latin America and the Caribbean through the UN system,” among other goals. 

The first official meeting of the Committee of NGOs took place on 16 October, in the city of Santo Domingo, on the occasion of the XII Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean.  From this initial meeting, it will go on working and will inform on the activities. People interested in contacting with it can do it through: 

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

CEDAW Committee adopted its 30th General recommendation

On the 18th of October the CEDAW Committee adopted its 30th General recommendation (GR)on women in conflict prevention, conflict and post-conflict situations. General recommendations are authoritative statements on the meaning and scope of the provisions in the CEDAW Convention with respect to the rights of women and the obligations of the State. It clarifies the application of CEDAW to emerging and priority situations affecting women.

Some key elements of this GR include:

-clearly identifies state obligation continuing in an unbroken continuum as it clarifies that States parties’ obligations continue to apply during conflict or states of emergency without discrimination between citizens and non-citizens within their territory or effective control, even if not situated within the territory of the State party.

- enlarges on the concept of due diligence in relating to human rights obligations of states by providing guidance to States parties on the implementation of their obligation of due diligence in respect of acts of private individuals or entities that impair the rights enshrined in the Convention, and makes suggestions as to how non-State actors can address women’s rights in conflict-affected areas.

- Covers all forms/categories of conflict and conflict prevention in cases of international and non-international armed conflicts,situations of foreign occupation, as well as other forms of occupation and the post-conflict phase, internal disturbances, protracted and low-intensity civil strife, political strife,ethnic and communal violence, states of emergency and suppression of mass uprisings, war against terrorism and organized crime, and other situations that may not necessarily be classified as armed conflict under international humanitarian law.

There are various other elements to this GR which we hope you will read in totality and use it to monitor and hold states accountable for violations to women's human rights during/post conflict situations.
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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Seven Points road map to Gender Sensitive Peace Building process in Syria

Geneva II is a Log frame for Peace , Democracy and Hope. 

Seven Points road map to Gender Sensitive Peace Building process in Syria

As the international negotiation efforts try to pave the way for Geneva II ,the Syrian Women Forum for Peace (SWFP) considers that Conveying Geneva II a window of hope for democracy and peace in Syria, if only women were involved in all of its stages. 

The SWFP approach to peace-building depends on the full involvement of all key players of the civil society, firstly women, we strongly believe that without the women's full support and participation, no peace agreement can succeed or implemented especially on the level of the local communities. 

We strongly believe that women’s voices shouldn’t only be heard because they are the victims of the war, but also, and most importantly because women are the most effective peace builders. As men take up arms, women hold communities together in times of war. This makes them stronger and better equipped to play a key role in securing real peace. 

Based on the international experience in conflict resolutions and peace building, The Syrian Women's Forum for Peace believe that the following seven points plan can be a good road map for gender sensitive peace building process in Syria . 

Point One: Conflict Resolution 

All efforts should be taken to ensure more systematic action for women’s participation and the accessibility of gender expertise to peace processes. 

Points Two: Post-Conflict Planning 

Efforts should be exerted to ensure better institutionalization of women’s participation (and apply gender analysis to) all post conflict planning processes so that women and girls specific needs and gender discrimination is addressed at every stage. 

Points Three: Post-Conflict Financing 

The international community should be ready to increase the financing for gender equality and women’s and girl’s empowerment in post conflict situations. 

Point four :Gender-Responsive Civilian Capacity 

In order to meet the women needs and skills to be part of the rebuilding of the state institutions to be gender sensitive ones, civilian capacity will include specialized skills. 

Point five :Women’s Representation in Post-Conflict Governance 

More technical assistance to conflict-resolution processes should made available to promote women’s participation as decision-makers in public institutions, ( use of temporary special measures such as positive action, preferential treatment and quota-based system) 

Point Six :Rule of Law 

Ensuing and working for rule of law during the stages of the conflict will systematically promote women's and girls' right to security and justice. 

Points Seven : Economic Recovery 

Efforts should be exerted to ensure that women’s equal involvement as participants and beneficiaries in local-development, employment-creation, frontline service delivery in post conflict situation. 

Syrian Women's Forum for Peace 
Damascus- Syria 
Tel: +963 11 27 72 334 
Mob: +963 9557 1 11 22 

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Shirin Ebadi: who defines Islam?

"Egyptian women are lucky in one way. They have witnessed the predicament of Iranian women and seen how the Islamic state has hijacked the Iranian revolution, changed the laws and reversed women’s gains. My advice to Egyptian women is “do not give way to a government that would force you to choose between your rights and Islam”. I believe that Iran was a lesson for the women in the entire region". Shirin Ebadi in conversation with Deniz Kandiyoti

Deniz Kandiyoti: The wave of protests in the Arab world present new openings as well as uncertainty and danger. As a defender of women’s rights who has been through revolutionary upheaval in Iran, how do you assess the possibilities and dangers?

Shirin Ebadi: I would like to concentrate on Tunisia and Egypt. There are important differences between these cases. The representation of women in civil society is stronger in Tunisia. The Habib Bourgiba government, although non-democratic, helped to promote secularism and changed the laws in favour of women. As a result, the situation of women in Tunisia is more favourable than that of other Arab countries. There are high powered women active in the public sphere. For instance, Sohair Ben Hassan, an extremely progressive and committed woman and one of the leaders of one of the largest Human Rights organisations in Tunisia is also the head of the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH). It is no accident that when the leader of the Islamic movement in Tunisia returned after twenty years of exile the first thing he said was that he was neither Khomeini nor the Taliban.

Deniz Kandiyoti: What about Egypt?

Shirin Ebadi : When I was in Egypt three years ago I was astonished by the number of young women wearing the hijab., They were saying that their parents were not respecting their national identity, that they had found their national identity. They were against the Mubarak regime. There were also communist and secular movements in opposition but they were easily harassed and couldn’t carry on with their activities. But they couldn’t prevent the Islamists from organizing- you can’t close down the mosques. As a result the non-Islamist opposition grew weaker, and the Muslim Brotherhood is now the most powerful opposition group in Egypt. But the example of Iran is frightening to the women of Egypt and they do not want to share the same fate. To alleviate such fears the Muslim Brotherhood said that the Egyptian uprising was not an Islamic uprising, but one in which Muslims and Christians have fought alongside one another. It promised to support and to participate in a non-Islamist government. Are they going to stand by their promises? Or will they change their stance if they consolidate their power? It is too early to judge. Egyptian women are lucky in one way - they have witnessed the predicament of Iranian women and seen how the Islamic state has hijacked the Iranian revolution, changed the laws and reversed women’s gains. Therefore they will stand up and fight for their rights. I believe that Iran was a lesson for the women in the entire region.

Deniz Kandiyoti: If you were to give a piece of advice to the women’s movement in Egypt, what would this advice be?

Shirin Ebadi: My most important piece of advice to Egyptian women is “do not give way to a government that would force you to choose between your rights and Islam”. Do not let them put you in that bind. Governments that invoke the name of ‘Islam’ in their self-definition will face people with this dilemma and this false choice. They will say “either you are Muslim and accept our laws or you are not Muslim”. That is exactly the way the government has operated in Iran. When you face someone who comes from a very religious family with this question, she gets a bit hesitant. Therefore, we must not reach a point when a government can accord itself the right to pose this question. Getting to understand Islam well and encouraging women to learn different interpretations of Islam is important. So when governments tell women “this is Islam’, they will be well-equipped to counter their arguments.

Deniz Kandiyoti : Yes, but surely there are authorities who speak in the name of Islam such as the ulama. Women can get educated but will they have any authority?

Shirin Ebadi: It is quite natural that the discourse of the ulama is a paternalistic discourse, but we have to be equipped with the same weapons to be able to prove that Islam can be something different. They may have political power and reject women’s interpretations, but bear that in mind that we are addressing the Muslim people. It is the Muslim population that has to be convinced that they can remain Muslim and have different laws and ambitions. This is the only true way to challenge the legitimacy of the conservative ulama since they get all their power from the people’s obedience. There is also the fact that part of the ulama will take the people’s side, and they will provide interpretations that the people accept. That is exactly what happened in Iran when very high ranking ulama offered interpretations that were totally against the official government line. People have understood that the government does not have a monopoly over Islam, and that is the beginning of people’s awakening.

Deniz Kandiyoti: Do you think that the women’s movement in Egypt and platforms for women’s rights will be able to form broad alliances?

Shirin Ebadi : If Egyptian women see their legal rights endangered, they will definitely get together, they will unite. It was the same in Iran. At the beginning of the revolution there were some people who were not even happy to talk to me. But now these same women speak articulately and with an even more radical voice than mine! Experience shows that when women face tyranny and injustice, they will become united.

Deniz Kandiyoti: Let me act as the devil’s advocate here. There are modern constitutions in many Arab countries that accord men and women equal citizenship rights, but when you look at personal status laws, you see that women do not enjoy equal rights in matters of inheritance, divorce or child custody, not to mention the issue of polygamy. It is therefore possible to argue that women are already deprived of equal rights, and yet this has not galvanized a momentum for unity.

Shirin Ebadi: Let me correct you on this point. None of the constitutions of Islamic countries accord women equal rights. Because there is always a clause that states the laws are conditional upon conformity with Islam. So the constitution may have the appearance of equality in terms of citizenship rights but in reality the laws remain dependent upon the shar’ia and the shar'ia gets interpreted by those in power. The main question that has always been unanswered in the constitutions of these countries is” who defines Islam”?.

Deniz Kandiyoti: Now we are witnessing the drafting of new constitutions. As a lawyer do you think that it is possible to draft constitutions that are able to address the inequality of women?

Shirin Ebadi: It all depends on the political process and how politics plays out. It goes without saying that constitutions should be approved by the majority of the people. Political parties have an important role to play in this respect but the problem in countries under despotic rule for years is that the political parties don’t have that much power and the development of politics has been truncated in general. On the other hand, you must also bear in mind that you can’t achieve ideal rights in a society in one go; it is a step-by-step process. Take what happened in Afghanistan. They wrote a new constitution and gave women a quota in parliament. They did this to bring women out of seclusion into the political world. But we saw that when one woman MP came out to talk about women’s rights in parliament, the other MPs forced her out. In reality, the quota for women has lost its meaning. It is possible to imagine that we can write an ideal constitution. But are we going to achieve the ideal situation with a change of law? I doubt it.

Deniz Kandiyoti: So you are basically saying that the law can only become reality when society is sociologically ready for it.

Shirin Ebadi: Yes, naturally. Because I am a lawyer, I like to talk about the role of law, but law should only be one step ahead of the culture of a society in order to bring improvement and progress. In other words, the rule of law should serve to improve society - and for that very reason it can only be one step ahead. That is why laws that are more than one step ahead get wasted, they remain on paper. For that reason, those rewriting laws must have excellent knowledge of their society and make sure they do not set unattainable goals.

Deniz Kandiyoti: As a human rights lawyer I imagine you endorse the gender equality goals set out in international standard setting instruments. Do you believe that it is possible to close the gap between the rights accorded to women in universal human rights frameworks and the current legal frameworks of Muslim countries?

Shirin Ebadi: Yes, but this can only be a gradual process. Take a society like Bahrain or Libya where polygamy is commonplace. How can you change that law overnight and ban polygamy outright? The first step is to pass a law that stresses that the Qur'an foresees this practice only when absolute justice can be established among spouses, and justice does not only consist of money and material support but also love and care. Therefore, polygamy could remain with more stringent conditions and the woman whose husband gets another wife should have the right to get a divorce. This is not an ideal law, in fact it is a long way from being ideal. But it is the first step. These limitations can condition society and make it more receptive to accept further changes. If they want to change that law overnight, a lot of men will get married anyway and won’t record it, and the women will remain silent. I repeat: we can write a law overnight, but what would be the fate of this law? Would it find favour among the people? The duty of a lawyer is to know the society well that it is writing the law for, and at the same time bear all the human rights criteria in mind in order to steer the society in that direction.

Deniz Kandiyoti: When you say “society” is not ready, do you actually mean men are not ready? Do you think that many women would object to a law restricting or banning polygamy?

Shirin Ebadi: Yes, polygamy is dangerous but men like it! Let me ask you a question: where does patriarchy come from? Does a man only learn it from his father? Has he not seen that his mother has obeyed and that her reaction was to go and cry quietly? Unfortunately, one of the bearers of patriarchal cultures are women, even though they are the victims of it. I compare this to haemophilia, a genetic illness passed from mother to son. Patriarchal culture is conveyed in the same way from mother to son. My argument is: don’t treat human beings as victims but tell them it is their responsibility to fight this culture. When you see women only as victims, you forget their responsibility.

Deniz Kandiyoti: One final thought. You have been talking about the necessity for a gradual process of legal reform .But this process has been going on for a very long time now. For instance, the Ottoman Civic Code proposed as long ago as the end of the 19th century made polygamy more difficult and conditional on the approval of the first wife. Similar reforms have been going on in many parts of the Muslim world. But Khomeini was able to reverse all these efforts overnight.

Shirin Ebadi: No, it did not take Khomeini one day to make these changes. If it had taken one day, people like me wouldn’t be here. Where would I come from? The law changed because they had political power. But society didn’t accept it. For that reason, people took their lives into their own hands and fought against it. At the beginning we were not a very large number for two reasons. One was a political reason. The left and some secular parties were saying that this was no time for discussing these matters, that these were marginal issues that would distract us from our main objectives. The biggest left wing party in Iran, the Tudeh party, told women to wear the hijab. You may be surprised but initially hijab was not compulsory in Iran, only women who worked in government bodies had to wear it, but in the street we could be unveiled. During that period, there was a young girl who was selling the Tudeh communist party paper and she was wearing hijab. Whenever I used to pass her I used to tease her by saying ”l will buy your paper if you take off your hijab” I teased her so much that she went and stood on another corner! But the second reason is that there were fewer educated women compared to now, and the majority were mainly traditional women. Gradually the traditional women came out of their homes and modernity was born on the streets. A woman who comes out on the street cannot be suppressed. A woman who goes to university cannot be suppressed. When a woman works and has her own wages she cannot be suppressed. Therefore, gradually our supporters increased. Women who at the beginning were our enemies are now more radical than I am and I am happy about it. I used to feel lonely at the beginning of the revolution. But now I think we are the majority. The pro-Khomeini faction has never succeeded. His culture has not been consolidated but enforced at the point of a gun. 

Deniz Kandiyoti: You mention the political dangers of secular parties claiming that women’s rights are a secondary matter and that this is not the right time to put them on the agenda, and also the passivity of some of the traditional women in the Arab world. Do you think that in order to become more militant they have to go through the same process of politicisation as the women in Iran?

Shirin Ebadi: There is no need for human beings to reinvent the wheel. We can learn from one another. We can look at Iran and see what happened there. In this respect communication comes as a great help. It is for that very reason that dictators hate open communication.

Deniz Kandiyoti : So are you optimistic about the prospects of women’s movements and women’s rights advocacy in Tunisia and Egypt?

Shirin Ebadi: Yes, I am optimistic. Although I believe that the situation in Tunisia is somewhat better I am also optimistic about Egypt. They will eventually achieve equal rights. They have a period of campaigning ahead of them, this will naturally take time. But eventually it will happen.

Deniz Kandiyoti: Do you see a day when there will be demonstrations of women asking for equal rights with men coming and walking along with them?

Shirin Ebadi: Yes, certainly in Iran. I had some male clients who came to women’s demonstrations, got arrested and went to prison. The fight for women’s rights and democracy are parallel. They are two sides of the same coin. And women who fight for equal rights are part of the fabric of democracy. Iranian men have understood that. They know that the victory of women’s rights is the beginning of democracy.

Deniz Kandiyoti: Women were mobilized during the protests in the Arab streets. They were out there in Bourgiba Avenue in Tunis and Tahrir Square in Cairo. But this has happened before. What guarantee is there that they will not be invited back into their homes after regime change?

Shirin Ebadi: There is no guarantee. This has been the experience of Iranian women who have been fighting for their rights for a century now. The only guarantee is the will of the people in their search for freedom.

Shirin Ebadi, 21 March 2011

About the author
Shirin Ebadi is an Iranian human rights lawyer who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003. In 1975–79 she served as president of Tehran’s city court, but was forced to resign after the 1979 revolution. In the 1980s, she founded the Association for Children’s Rights, and was briefly jailed for her exposure of plans to assassinate dissidents. Among her books are The Rights of the Child: a study of legal aspects of children's rights in Iran (1994), and The History and Documentation of Human Rights in Iran (2000).

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

India: Death penalty will not end violence against women

 We are opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception

13 September 2013

India: Death penalty will not end violence against women

Far-reaching procedural and institutional reform, and not the death penalty, is needed to tackle the endemic problem of violence against women in India, Amnesty International said today after four men convicted of the December 2012 gang-rape were sentenced to death by a court in New Delhi. 

The court found the four men guilty of gang-rape, murder and other related charges on 13 September. A 17-year old convicted in the same case was sentenced to three years detention in a juvenile home on 31 August. Another accused was found dead in his prison cell on 10 March. 

“The rape and murder of the young woman in Delhi last year was a horrific crime and our deepest sympathy goes out to the victim’s family. Those responsible must be punished, but the death penalty is never the answer,” said Tara Rao, Director of Amnesty International India. 

“Sending these four men to the gallows will accomplish nothing except short-term revenge. While the widespread anger over this case is understandable, authorities must avoid using the death penalty as a ‘quick-fix’ solution. There is no evidence that the death penalty is a particular deterrent to crime, and its use will not eradicate violence against women in India.” 

Cases of rape and other forms of sexual violence against women are still common throughout India. In April, the government passed new laws which criminalized several forms of violence against women including acid attacks, stalking and voyeurism. However, rape within marriage is still not considered a crime under law if the wife is over 15, and security forces continue to enjoy effective legal immunity for sexual violence. 

“Addressing this issue requires legal reform, but also sustained commitment by the authorities to ensure that the justice system responds effectively at all levels to reports of rape and other forms of sexual violence,” said Rao.     

“The attention that authorities have given to this case must extend to the thousands of other pending cases of sexual violence in India as well. Authorities must take steps – including appointing more judges to ensure swift but fair trials in all these cases.” 

Crimes against women are still under-reported. Authorities are yet to fully implement several progressive recommendations made by the Justice Verma Committee, including around police training and reform, and changing how reports of sexual violence are registered and investigated.   

“There must be concerted efforts to change the discriminatory attitudes towards women and girls which lie at the root of the violence. These measures will take hard work, but will be more effective in the long run in making India safer for women,” said Rao. 

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the execution. 

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sunila Abeysekera

 We bring here this sad news from our friends Iwraw Asia Pacific.

  Thanks  Sunila Abeysekera for the example of your life  that will remain in our memories.

We at Iwraw Asia Pacific mourn the loss today of Sunila Abeysekera, a leading activist, friend and leader who played a major role in women's rights activism during her role as Executive Director from 2008 to 2010. 

As a strategic thinker and ardent feminist and activist she mentored and supported staff and made a key contribution to fulfilling the vision and mission of our organisation in the South Asia and South East Asia region. She worked tirelessly to develop and support our national partners and advance our advocacy around CEDAW. 

Sunila's death is a loss not only to us but to all women's rights activists and organisations in Sri Lanka and all over the world. We will strive to carry forward her legacy of commitment to truth and justice and her fearless determination in challenging the ongoing oppression and subjugation of women. 

Sunila's legacy as a feisty feminist will live on in our hearts and we recommit ourselves to continue to work for the realisation of the full promise of CEDAW rights and obligations and the end to injustice in our world. Our prayers and thoughts go out to Women and Media Collective, Inform, UAF , APWLD and all the organisations of which Sunila was a part, as well as her to beloved family, friends and community. Let us carry forward her love for humanity and her radiant shining light. 

Rest in peace Sunila and thank you for enriching our lives and our work!.

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Thursday, May 30, 2013


May 30, 2013
Contribution by Farida Shaheed, Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights
Traditional values, religion and culture intersect women’s human rights in intricate and complex ways. For example, the CEDAW Committee notes that “In all nations, cultural traditions and religious beliefs have played a part in confining women to the private spheres of activity and excluding them from active participation in public life”[1] Scholars underline that so many practices and norms discriminating against women are justified by reference to culture, religion and tradition, that it can be said that “no social group has suffered greater violation of its human rights in the name of culture than women” and that it is “inconceivable” that a number of such practices “would be justified if they were predicated upon another protected classification such as race”.[2] The use of discourses of cultural relativism to challenge the universal legitimacy and applicability of human rights norms is also a serious concern noted by UN Special Procedures (A/HRC/4/34, in particular paras. 19, 42 and 68).
Hence, in examining the inter-relationships from the perspective of women’s human rights it is important to remember:
1. All cultures “share a common set of values that belong to humankind in its entirety, and that those values have made an important contribution to the development of human rights norms and standards”.
2. Such values are inscribed in the UDHR that, having incorporated diverse, though not all, cultural as well as political traditions and perspectives and having been adopted by consensus, “represents a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations” (UDHR Preamble) for the rights of all persons and communities and the obligations of states. Often considered to be international customary law, the UDHR provides the essential framework for cross-cultural dialogue and understandings on human rights.
The question is: if there is agreement on the universality of human rights why is there a need for a discussion on traditional values?
Firstly, there is no such thing as a "view from nowhere". All human thinking and reasoning is rooted in people’s cultural perspectives and understandings, including the traditions of continuously elaborating the contents and understanding of human rights.
This cultural rootedness of human thinking and cultural diversities makes it essential to ensure and to promote international human rights norms and standards amongst all communities of the world. It is equally vital that the continuing development of universal human rights standards be informed by the cultural diversity of the world’s peoples.
In this regard there are a series of question that need to be asked. Specifically in terms of this panel:
From a human rights perspective what is crucial is how to arrive at a point at which women own their culture, religion and tradition, including traditional values, as well as their human rights.
The dialectical and dialogical interplay between universal human rights standards and diverse localized realities raises a series of questions which need to be considered. Specifically in terms of this side panel:
To what extent is it possible to distinguish between traditional values and traditional practices when practices are the external visible manifestations of values?
Is there a common understanding of what, in practical terms, constitutes “traditional values”? At present there is no universally accepted understanding of the root word “tradition”, let alone “traditional values”
· It is important to recognize that every living tradition is subject to continual self-reinvention and to think of traditions, traditional values and cultures not just –possibly not even primarily – as links with the past but as trajectories to the future that enable people to become agents of their own development and self-realisation.
In this perspective a fundamental question is: Who is to define the parameters and contents of ‘traditional values’? Can there be a listing of traditional values that is indeed universal? Moreover, is such a listing, which risks stultifying further development around human rights, even desirable?
Viewing culture and attendant beliefs, including customs, traditions and religious interpretations, as “static” obstructs the realization of women’s human rights because it presupposes that particular values, practices and beliefs are “intrinsic” to a given culture and, therefore, immutable.
It is important, therefore, to unpack the terms ‘tradition’ and ‘traditional’ precisely because of the strong emotive quality and deep resonances tradition has with cultural identity and a sense of self.
From the perspective of women’s human rights, the right to access, participate in and contribute to cultural life enshrined in the UDHR and ICESCR means, amongst other things, that (A/HRC/20/26, para. 43) women must be able to embrace or reject particular cultural practices and identities as well as to revise and (re)negotiate existing traditions, values or practices, regardless of their provenance. Women must enjoy the freedom to create new communities of shared cultural values around any markers of identity they want to privilege, new cultural meanings and practices without fear of punitive actions, including any form of violence. In this same vein, the right to access and enjoy cultural heritage, including values passed on through tradition, encompasses the right to interpret and assign meaning to cultural heritage received from the past, including traditional values, and to contribute to establishing new values and traditions.
The essential question of who decides which traditional practices and values are to be upheld and which discarded signals the danger of making something as undefined and constantly evolving as “traditional values” the standards of human rights. Traditional values must not be used to fragment international human rights into a number of self-contained regimes. Further, just because something is said to be traditional is not enough for it to be accorded sanctity. Traditional values and reflected traditions and practices not in keeping with norms and standards of human rights must be overturned through internal debates and cross-cultural dialogues.
Human rights are always implemented and enjoyed within specific cultural, socioeconomic and political environments.[3] They have to be realized within, and are thus contingent upon, the factors and dynamics operative on the ground, including local knowledge and practices, and specific cultural traditions, values and norms. Ensuring the cultural rootedness of human rights, in particular women’s cultural rights, requires ownership of internationally established human rights among all communities. Human rights have to be “vernacularized”, including through “initiatives that ground human rights concepts in diverse cultural traditions, in a culturally relevant lexicon and philosophical vocabulary”.
The continuing development of human rights standards should be informed by the cultural diversity of humankind while recognizing that cultures are always dynamic: people’s perceptions, views and actions, rather than abstracted “culture”, drive social, economic, political and cultural developments. In the same way that all human rights standards constantly evolve, cultural beliefs and understandings, normative rules and values, as well as practices are continuously created, contested and (re)interpreted. In transforming their culture(s) by adopting new ideas and modes of operation, concerned people often continue to draw upon the moral and spiritual resources within their own traditions.
It is vitally important to ensure that all societies continuously reinforce the respect, promotion and protection of the human dignity and worth of all members of society through the norms and standards of human rights as developed and accepted by the international community.
From the perspective of women’s human rights, this entails ensuring that the nexus of traditional values, culture, and religion reflect human rights standards and norms and uphold women’s human rights.
In my report to the General Assembly last year, I have stressed that promoting realization of equal cultural rights for women is a way of helping to reconstruct gender in ways that transcend notions of women’s inferiority and subordination, thereby improving conditions for the full and equal enjoyment of their human rights in general. This requires a shift in perspective: from seeing culture as an obstacle to women’s human rights to ensuring women’s equal cultural rights; meaning that women’s perspectives and contributions must move from the margins of cultural life to the centre of the processes that create, interpret and shape culture and determine societal values, regardless of whether values are labeled ‘traditional’ or not. The tendency to marginalize women’s concerns and silence their voices must be overcome, obstructions impeding their equal participation in public life eliminated and their underrepresentation in the institutions and processes defining the culture, religious or spiritual traditions and values of their communities surmounted. Women must be recognized as, and supported to be, equal spokespersons vested with the authority to determine which of the community’s traditions and values are to be respected, protected and transmitted to future generations.
Measures are required to support and enhance the cultural legitimacy and symbolic validation of new tools, interpretations and values that enable practices harmful to women to be surmounted. It is particularly important to support women’s transformative initiatives: to listen to local women and build on the tools and terminology they use, including elements to be retrieved from cultural heritage that may have fallen into disuse. The right to take part in cultural life it must be stressed is intricately inter-linked with promoting women’s equal rights in the area of public and political life, as well as family life.
The task ahead is to find appropriate modalities that enable discussions and debates around traditional values and culture that promote democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms for everyone based on principles of equality as given in the UDHR. In this, I believe ensuring cultural rights for women on a basis of equality with men, plays a determinative role.

Thank you  

[1] Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, general recommendation No. 23 (1997) on women in political and public life, para. 10.
[2] Arati Rao, “The Politics of Gender and Culture in International Human Rights Discourse”, in Women’s Rights, Human Rights: International Feminist Perspectives, Julie Peters and Andrea Wolper, eds. (New York and London, Routledge, 1994), p. 167.

[3] Most of the rest of the presentation is taken directly from my report on women’s equal cultural rights for women; A/67/287. 
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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Unpaid work, poverty and women’s human rights

Unpaid work, poverty and women’s human rights

At the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly (October 2013), the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona, will submit a report concerning unpaid work, in particular unpaid care work and women’s human rights.

Unpaid care underpins all societies, contributing to well-being, social development and economic growth. It involves domestic tasks (such as meal preparation, cleaning, washing clothes, collecting water and fuel) and direct care of persons (including children, older persons and persons with disabilities) carried out in homes and communities. It is estimated that if unpaid care work were assigned a monetary value it would constitute between 10 and 39 per cent of GDP. However, it is generally unrecognised and under-valued by policy-makers and legislators.

How societies address care has far-reaching implications for gender relations, power relations and inequalities, as well as human rights enjoyment. The costs and burdens of care are unequally borne across gender and class: care is predominantly done by women and girls, and research shows that the time and difficulty of engaging in unpaid care work are linked to levels of poverty.

Heavy and unequal care burdens may curtail the enjoyment of human rights by women and girls, including their rights to education, work, social security and participation, as well as to rest and leisure. Systematically unequal distribution of care work and household chores between women and men also raises concerns in terms of the right to equality and non-discrimination and the obligations of States in this regard. Inadequate State policies and practices regarding unpaid care may also undermine or violate women’s rights to the highest attainable standard of health and an adequate standard of living. In addition, when care work is not adequately recognised or supported by the State, the rights of those who rely on care provision for their health, life and wellbeing may also be violated.

Despite considerable research on care, emanating largely from the disciplines of feminist economics and social policy research, the subject has rarely been tackled from a human rights perspective. The Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights’s report will ultimately aim to develop a normative framework based on human rights. The objective of the report is: (1) to analyse the effect of unpaid care on poverty, human rights and women’s economic empowerment; (2) to clarify the human rights obligations of States with regard to unpaid care; and (3) to provide recommendations to States on how to recognise, reduce and redistribute unpaid care work, with a view to realizing the human rights of women and tackling their disproportionate vulnerability to poverty.

The Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, invites States, United Nations departments and agencies, national human rights institutions, civil society organizations and other relevant stakeholders to send contributions to the reportin the form of research studies, reports and examples of relevant policies or programming.

Please send contributions in English, Spanish or French, in MS Word document, PDF or compatible format to:
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Monday, April 15, 2013

Elimination and Prevention of Gender-Based Violence through Rights-Based and Women-Oriented Approach

Elimination and Prevention of Gender-Based Violence through Rights-Based and Women-Oriented Approach
-- Chinese Women NGOs’ Statement
The 57th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women convened its annual session on the priority theme: Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls on March 4-15, 2013. Concurrently, the 12th China’s National People’s Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference took place. On this occasion, we, Chinese women, NGOs and activists who are dedicated to gender equality and the elimination of violence against women, represent the voices of women from the grassroots level and relevant workers from various organizations to bring forward the following views and appeals.

Violence against women and girls is a form of gender-based violence, which refers to violence rooted in unequal gender norms and power relations. This violence occurs in families or other intimate relationships, workplaces, educational institutions and public spaces, with women and girls suffering most. Gender-based violence can profoundly harm women’s and girls’ physical, psychological, and sexual health, as well as bring economic harm. Violence hinders the fulfillment of women’s and girls’ human rights, lowers their status in society, and can even cost them their lives. Gender-based violence also causes losses in productivity and to the human resources in families, society, employers/enterprises and the state. It consequently increases expenditures/costs to individuals, institutes and the state for medical treatment, care, social service and welfare, administration and judiciary proceedings. Gender-based violence is the result of gender inequality, and it perpetuates and reinforces existing gender inequalities and sex discrimination. Therefore, to build an equal, harmonious and just society, we must eliminate all forms of gender-based violence.

We have been greatly pleased to notice that the Chinese government has further undertaken its responsibility and commitment to prevent gender-based violence, abided by the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women adopted by 1993 UN General Assembly, the Beijing Platform for Action adopted by the UN 4th World Conference on Women in 1995, and the outcome document of Beijing + 5 (23rd UN General Assembly Special Session). In regard to laws and policies, terms prohibiting domestic violence have been written into many laws, such as the amended Marriage Law, Law on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Women, as well as some local laws and regulations. Consequently, a policy basis for handling and preventing sexual harassment in the workplace has been initiated, the prevention of sexual abuse of girls in schools has been written into the campus safety policy, and the China Action Plan for Combating the Trafficking Women and Children (2008-2012) has been drawn up. In the area of family planning, efforts have been made to meet women’s needs for their sexual and reproductive health and rights, and good practices and intervention models featuring multi-sectoral cooperation to prevent and stop domestic violence have emerged.

During the international 16 days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign from November 25 to December 10 in 2012, we collected opinions from about 6,000 women of various ages across the country, interviewed survivors of gender-based violence, psychological counselors, social workers, women rights activists, lawyers, policemen, procurators, judges, decision-makers, lawmakers and perpetrators. We realized there are still wide gaps between the goals set for eliminating and preventing gender-based violence and efforts made to realize these goals. There is also much work to be done in meeting victims’ varying needs. Hence, it is urgent for the state to make breakthroughs regarding the following aspects, with firm political will and practical, proactive actions.
• Implement international conventions and fulfill commitments to strengthen the state’s obligation and responsibility to eliminate gender-based violence and eradicate its root causes — gender discrimination and gender inequality – by reviewing all existing laws and policies with a gender perspective, discontinuing utilization of terms containing gender discrimination or appropriately substitute them, and establishing accountability mechanisms to prevent and address instances of government agencies’ personnel misusing their power to commit acts of physical, mental and sexual abuse.
• Draw up comprehensive, feasible and effective laws and policies for preventing violence and create specific, enforceable and accountable regulations and measures to prevent gender-based violence, to provide services to women and children affected by violence, and to punish perpetrators and transform their behaviors.
• Expand definitions of domestic violence in existing laws, to go beyond well-documented and severe physical abuse and explicitly include other forms of violence, such as violating women’s right to self-determination of their bodies and sexual life, their rights for reproductive health, forced interference in lesbians’ marriages and intimate relations, psychological abuse, and economic exploitation and control, so that all these forms of violence can be addressed effectively. To bridge the gap between existing laws and their implementation so that women suffering from gender-based violence in de facto marriages, cohabitating partnerships, and other intimate relations will also be able to realize their legal rights.
• Provide quality services that consider women’s needs and interests, change the outmoded bureaucratic practices and raise the awareness of personnel working in public service departments, law enforcement and judiciary on the rule of law. Raise awareness and strengthen capacity in handling violence-related cases and issues with professional and gender-sensitive attitudes and techniques. Put an end to indifference, avoidance of responsibility, and ineffective case processing.
• Integrate and disseminate experiences and models of multi-sectoral interventions to stop violence, enabling the synergy of all participants’ work to produce better results, and bringing these experiences and models into state laws and policies, thus creating standardized and institutionalized practices. Strengthen education by bringing prevention work to campuses and communities and raising public awareness through media. Enable social workers, and psychological and medical institutions to provide services to survivors and child witnesses, and alter perpetrators’ psychology, behaviors and habitual patterns. Police should enforce the law strictly, and reprimand and punish all perpetrators of domestic violence. Judges should issue domestic violence protection orders/physical protection rulings, and confirm the circumstances of domestic violence in court decisions. Courts and prisons should consider leniency to women who commit the self-defense murder of their perpetrators by reducing jail sentences or releasing women on parole. Employers and enterprises should establish mechanisms and policies to intervene in sexual harassment.
• Recognize the important role and experiences of civil society organizations, especially women’s NGOs, and help disseminate their good practices and engage with them as equal partners of multi-sectoral collaboration to combat violence against women.
Given all these facts, we believe that the following urgent actions need to be taken:
To formulate a state action plan on the prevention and elimination of gender-based violence, to raise legislators’ and decision makers’ attention and sensitivity to gender issues, to expedite the launching of new law and policies on preventing gender-based violence, to review, improve and augment the enforcement of existing laws and policies, and to conduct monitoring and evaluation of this enforcement, to improve the availability of sex-disaggregated data statistics on gender-based violence and public information accessibility; to promote good practices and the multi-sectoral intervention model; to transform the attitude and behaviors of perpetrators through education and community services.
To refine policies and to increase budget and resources for providing quality public services, to train various service provision personnel, law enforcement officers and judiciaries, so as to speed up the realization of equal service and remedy the severe shortage of services to disadvantaged groups such as rural women, disabled women, ethnic minority women, girls, sexual minorities and elderly women, to build a support and service system to ensure social insurance and social integration for violence survivors and sufferers. To encourage and support civil society organizations to conduct activities aimed at preventing gender-based violence, and to fund more pilot projects and action-oriented research.
Women’s economic empowerment and political participation are effective means for preventing violence. We call for: globally, the incorporation of gender justice and women’s empowerment into the Post-2015 Development Agenda with specific objectives and indicators related to gender-based violence; in China, the 12th Five-Year Plan for the National Economy and Social Development and macro-economic policies should be integrated with the Program for the Development of Chinese Women, to enable the pursuit of gender equality, to reinforce economic equity, social justice, transparent administration and democratic governance, thus enabling women and girls to equally enjoy the achievement of social and economic development, better master their own lives, and participate in decision-making on public issues that affect their interests.
Let us build a violence free world with equality and justice.
March 4, 2013
Initiated by:
Anti-Domestic Violence Network/Beijing Fan Bao
Common Language
Gender and Development Network in China
Gender and Public Policy Network
Media Monitoring Network for Women
Women’s Rights Activists:
CAI Yiping (Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era, DAWN)
CHUNG Lai Shan
LI Huiying
LU Ping
WANG Guohong
WANG Xiying (Beijing Normal University)
WU TaoYunnan Heart to Heart Community Care Center)
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Monday, April 8, 2013


Building on the success of women’s coalition efforts around the UN, we are building a coalition of feminist, women’s rights, women’s development, grassroots and social justice organizations to monitor and engage with these processes as a political opportunity to challenge and reframe the global development agenda and address the structural factors underpinning the multiple crises we currently face, which result in deepening inequalities, increased poverty and environmental degradation.
In 2015, the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Agenda will come to an end, and with it uneven progress toward achieving the goals at its core. At this juncture, the UN System, member states and civil society organizations have begun to discuss priorities for a Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Advocacy around the Post-2015 Development Agenda presents an opportunity for women’s rights and social justice organizations to contribute to shaping a development framework that can transform the lives of women and marginalized populations. In the context of the MDGs and other processes, women’s rights and social justice organizations have sought to highlight the nexus between gender equality, women’s empowerment and development, demonstrating how progress towards equality can lead to greater social, ecological and economic justice. These linkages are now widely recognized and women’s leadership is needed as governments prepare for the Post-2015 Development Agenda to ensure that progress continues.
A number of UN processes are underway to define a road map for the Post-2015 Development Agenda. These processes include:
- A high-level panel of eminent persons convened by the UN Secretary General (SG) which has been formed to guide the SG and the UN in shaping the post-2015 development agenda and in preparing the debate on this topic to be held at the 2013 UN General Assembly.
Global Thematic consultations organized by the UN Development Group. A total of 11 thematic consultations will deal with topics identified to be of particular importance to the post-2015 discussions including: conflict and fragility; environmental sustainability; economic growth and employment; education; food security and nutrition; governance; health; inequalities; and population dynamics; water and energy.
National consultations in as many as 100 countries organized by the UN Development Group
- A Post Rio+20 process led by governments, which includes an Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will be appointed by the General Assembly.
Policies that will have an impact on the development possibilities of many countries are also being discussed in other UN spaces, including the 20-year reviews of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD+20) and the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing (Beijing+20) as well as within the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as Parties negotiate a ‘post-Kyoto’ agreement.
Transforming the Global Development Agenda
We demand that the Post-2015 Development Agenda:
-> Be explicitly shaped by and grounded inhuman rights, including the principles of equality and nondiscrimination. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (among other international human rights instruments) as well as international consensus documents, including the Declaration on the Right to Development, the Vienna Declaration on Human Rights, the ICPD Programme of Action, and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, provide a clear normative framework for promoting and protecting women’s human rights and addressing gender inequality. They should form the non-negotiable basis of any post-2015 development framework.
-> Place gender equality, women’s human rights and women’s empowerment at its core. The new development agenda must outline specific strategies to eliminate gender-based inequalities in all areas of concern to women, whether social development, health including sexual and reproductive health, economic development, environmental sustainability, and peace and security. Inequality must be understood and addressed from an intersectional approach, recognizing the ways in which multiple factors – including race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, and disability – can increase and compound discrimination and marginalization.
-> Address the structural factors that perpetuate crisis, inequality, insecurity and human rights violations. In the wake of the financial crisis, which has had a disproportionate and particular impact on women, feminists and others have proposed transforming policy responses and rethinking the mainstream development model to promote greater equality, equity, security and sustainability. To this end, a post-2015 framework must ensure that macroeconomic policies and the international financial system work to advance gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s human rights.
-> Be developed with the full participation and leadership of women. Women’s organizations and social justice groups working for gender equality, human rights and women’s empowerment should be fully supported to meaningfully engage – at all levels of consultation. Grassroots women leaders from community-based organizations are key stakeholders in the development of a Post 2015 Development Agenda and should be enabled to negotiate for their own development priorities throughout this
-> Ensure strong mechanisms for accountability within countries and at the international level. Accountability should be universal, holding both northern and southern governments to account for their commitments to gender equality and women’s human rights. Robust financing for development is crucial. To this end, northern countries must be accountable to their ODA commitments, allocating 0.7% of GDP to development cooperation.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013



We, the undersigned organisations and individuals across the globe, are again alarmed and disappointed 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 continues.

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.

It is alarming that states are continuing to negotiate established standards that they themselves have agreed to as we are witnessing in the last few days of negotiation. 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 is 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.

Drafted by:
Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL)
International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW Asia Pacific)

Endorsed by:
Amnesty International
ANIS - Institute of Bioethics, Human Rights and Gender – Brazil
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)
Asia Safe Abortion Partnership
Fiji Women's Rights Movement
Namibia Women's Health Network
Rutgers WPF, Netherland
Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO)
Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR)

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