Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Explaining the Principle of Substantive Equality

IWRAW Asia Pacific presents CEDAW Quick & Concise video series to explain the  CEDAW principles. This video explains the principle of Substantive Equality.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

The story of an undocumented journey in the Sonora- Arizona desert.

My book by Ilka Oliva Corado

It´s not easy to sit here, in front of this computer, and try to write about my book. I´ve been avoiding this moment because I expected it to be this way, and I wasn´t wrong. It´s a challenge because, again, I have to face my memory which is surely unconsciously keeping away memories of experiences that marked my life and which emerge when I least expect it. These memories stop right in front of me, challenging me, they find me unarmed and without willpower to fight, because I no longer want to question, or explain, and not cling on toexcuses as a castaway.

A long time ago when I was a little girl I used to sell ice-cream in a market and I was totally invisible and outcast, rejected and abused. This marked my life in a negative way and I remained on the defensive all the time and everywhere. I didn´t even realise it, until the blog started growing and the number of readers extended to different countries, I felt uncomfortable being in the spotlight and receiving congratulatory comments about my writings. I do not enjoy it and rejecting recognition is something I usually do, something few people understand, maybe only those who when I was selling ice-cream, called me by my name and not just “ice-cream girl” as most of them did. I hide from applause and I do not put myself on display to be photographed toasting to the health of the privileged– and the opportunists-, I run from celebrities, famous people and when a meeting is unavoidable I make an effort to make sure the contact is in an unseen place because I do not want people to accuse me of wanting to ride their fame. It´s not because I care about what they will say about me, all my life, I never cared what people say about me. But rather, it´s something I cannot avoid, something clearly marked in my way of being and my way of thinking, which indisputably has something to do with my invisibility as a street-vendor.

The market and my ice-cream cooler was my school.They are my north and my south, they taught me to deal with the exclusion and they showed me that the path of impossibilities is always uphill and that to the deluded of the gutters, the fantasies will be a forever rejection.

I strive not to do anything to dishonour the ice-cream girl, I don´t give a damn about disappointing the world but failing the ice-cream girl is a question of life and death.

So, when I received messages from readers of my blog or my writings in independent media, my mood soured, I did not know how to live in the limelight and it has been very difficult for me to understand that there is a part of me that is visible, and that is my words. They are the purest part of me, the most loyal, they are only thing that undresses me and puts me in front of the mirror to facemyself: human, scarred, impure, transparent, and imperfect. Maybe, because of this, I feel uncomfortable because the letters expose me in front of others, without mercy of my modesty and without a mask that is forgiving of my defects and fears.

I have been able to overcome it little by little, writing is an exercise that helps me a lot, my therapy. I have been able to understand that with the light the responsibility increases and the armour strengthen, because even though I write in a corner of my room where I chose to put my desk and I prepared a nest where to rest my wings, when my letters seek a place in my journal they are exposed to the world and I have no control of them, because they are my wings flying across the horizon and I let them be and I admire them free.

Getting to this moment of holding the book in my hands has been an arduous journey of ten years during which I went through a deep depression to reach tranquillity, from the storm to the calmness, this book arrived at the time it had to, not at a time I needed it to, in its own time, it wrote itself, I did not have to think about it, I did not plan it, it spurted as burst veins during long lethargic winters of confinement that made me feel withdrawn, absorbed, weak, and failed.

Curing the wounds of the soul seemed like an impossible task, a prolonged struggle because it is not comfortable and needs a lot of courage and letting go of embarrassment in order to see your own skin seeping and in rags jump back. Raising from the gutter and muster strength to face the demons inherent of an undocumented crossing.

It is more comfortable and easy to get excited bystimulating the erogenous zones until reaching pleasure alone in front of a mirror, without any type of modesty of seeing the body in flames, or getting undressed in front of someone else and together reaching prohibited orgasm, than alone facing total dispossession of prejudice, labels and complex wounds of the soul that are able to keep afloat our greatest fears that become ice-bergs and keep us in the cold of solitary confinement.

The story of an undocumented journey in the Sonora- Arizona desert is the compilation of the 11 chapters that formed the series Journey in the Sonora- Arizona desert and which, surprisingly to me, were published in different countries across the globe. It was also translated to Portuguese, I never thought it would reach such heights of exposure and that it would allow me to touch the hearts, conscience, fears and experiences of the other people, like me, that are undocumented or people who have never left their country of origin and because of this series were able to know a little bit about what it is like to live the experience of an undocumented migration.

My story tells of crossing Mexican territory and the Sonora and Arizona deserts on the border of Mexico and the USA, a journey of thousands, bitterness that many try to forget, experiences that consume, crushes, silence, and ruins you. In this book I speak of the hell of fleeing the Border Patrol and the three days of crossing the desert.

I could not have told it before, these ten years slowly healed my wounds, and when I sat down to write, it was because my soul was in complete peace. I had overcome and I was able to tell the story in an objective way, you can never forget what you have lived, more so the traumatic parts, I have never, even for a minute forgotten that experience however it no longer consumes me. At that moment the words would emerge without confusing emotion in-between, without anxiety, without fear, without disturbances, and they wrote themselves, freely and consequently. Inevitably I’m the main character of this experience however I’m not travelling alone, other people accompanied me, other thousands of human beings who, like me, are being confronted of the disgrace of the border.

I wrote from my heart what most people see portrayed on television, in a biased report in the newspaper or from an essay that was comfortably written by someone with a university degree or in a thesis as part of paid field work. My version is the people´s version, without immunity, my version is the blood version, fear, sweat, nightmares. My version is the raw stare of a reality reflected in my expression, in my grey hairs, in all the years I stammered because it was impossible to express myself because of my levels of anxiety. My version is the many years of sleepless nights due to nightmares. My version is hating myself, undermining myself, feeling worthless after the border. But here I am with my head held high and my scars exposed, with my own voice, the voice of my demons and my emotional achievements.

I don´t think it´s necessary to explain that it was not published by any famous editorial because I am undocumented, that even though I knocked doors in my own country and in the USA, not even one door opened, not in my own country, probably because of having emigrated, one of those who leaves and are only interested in the financial support. What could possibly a migrant of all trades offer to literature? What could an editorial possibly win by publishing something by a house cleaner, without important contacts supporting her? I firmly refuse to enter the game of contacts and favours, my way is to knock doors with my own fist, andwell, if they open, great, if not, I continue, I have enough experience of this type of exercise, I have never forgotten that I am an invisible person and all it has taken me due to my weaker condition, pride of which, I hold my head high.

In the USA I also knocked countless doors of editorials and the answer was always the same, being undocumented means I don´t exist. I don´t exist in my own country for having emigrated and I don´t exist in the country where I reside for being undocumented. If I think back, I have never really existed, and if I start counting one by one all the times I have been discriminated in my life just like millions like me around the world, and maybe this is what have called attention to my words in other countries, because outside of my confinement there are millions more being discriminated and facing their own demons and those that have been set upon them. And it is not making myself a victim, this exposure is real and we see it all around and it hasn´t just happened to me and I´m not pretending to make it mine, I´m just telling the story out of my own point of view.

The book was published in an electronic version in Greece, a country I will probably never see, in that part of the world people are probably learning about what happens on the border between Mexico and the USA thanks to my testimony. I have not earned one penny from this publication because the editor offers reading for free online, it does that in order to question the reader if having a free version they would bother paying for the text. I am not going to give it much importance, it is human nature that we want to read something for free and use the money we would have spent to buy an ice-cream to eat in the park or buy two beers, there is a higher level of conscience in those who have the two options and decide to support the author economically in order to continue being motivated by writing. I a human and I would love to receive economic motivation for my writing, who wouldn´t? However my blog is for free, I do not restrict the access to anybody, anyone who would like to can copy my texts, I only ask that they keep in mind the source of information and the name of the author. I live of my job of a thousand trades. If over there they are reading for free and decide not to support economically is less important, the important thing is that they are learning of what is happening on the border, this was my main objective, of reporting.

It was amazing to see my book published on another continent and in a country so far away, in an electronic version. What would it be like to hold it in my hand in a printed version? Again my fleeting cloud pokes me when I least expect it, it questions me why they did not publish on printed paper. I thought about it for a few days and then decided not to give up and I learnt without contempt that for being invisible and for preferring the effects of the contacts it was normal that my words were not considered for an editorial publication. Just as easy as it would be to make a phone call or to write an email asking more than one person that they would speak of me, that convenience of not doing things for oneself, however I was not able to, ever.

I learnt that my thing has always been and will always be invisibility, that´s my trench, so I did the publication as an author and went through Amazon.

Amazon offers the tool of publishing electronically and on paper, I opted for the paper option because the electronic version, which is the most popular in the USA, is quite difficult, many requisites that as undocumented I cannot complete, but also because I am more interested in the printed version. That was how I decided to publish on Amazon, which prints the amount of copies that the client buys. It is a rustic version of a book in comparison with the elegance of an editorial that exclusively dedicates themselves to this, however I do not dismiss the quality and more importantly still, the content It cannot call attention on a first glance, however the essence is in the blood, the suffering, the love of life and the huge achievement of emotional gain in spite of everything.

It is no secret that my life has been an uphill journey and that I have fallen on countless times and on many of those brought down and ready to give up, I never imagined that the letters would be my most loyal expression and with which I would manage to be, to have my first book in my hands is a feeling that I cannot express not with my voice nor with my words. There are moments when only tears can suit the happiness and the sadness of the heart. I cried a lot when I held the first copy in my hands and at that moment I looked back on the long and tiring journey I travelled, I don´t regret anything, I lived what I had to live in order to be me.

I am not going to tell you to buy the book, I am not going to pursue you as the days when I sold ice-creams, following the people in the market, which in the end made my voice hoarse after many years of shouting down the aisles, at the bus station, in the village, with my cooler on my shoulder on my waist. What do you want? What are you going to get? Ice-creams! Ice-creams! Ice-creams! I have peanut flavor, pineapple, nance, creamy milk flavor, blackberry, zapote. What do you want? What are you going to get?

No, I have not written this to ask you to buy my book. I have written it because it could be only my personal experience but it is also that of millions and it is my obligation and responsibility to thank the light that the letters have given me and take advantage of this moment of being able to report, because this book is a social report that no all will understand and that many will not want to know of, however it was, it is and it will be because the undocumented migration is something of every minute, of every twenty four hours of the day and of every single day of the year.

I write because it reaffirms that I am on top of the struggle and that I keep resisting and that I believe in a better world.

I do not write this in order to receive congratulatory message because of my book, for this great achievement, because I dared and it was time to write a book. The congratulations are sweet and they make you feel good, of course they are appreciated.

The text is here so that whoever would like to have it knows that it is a social report that is written with my blood and every pore of my undocumented being, and it doesn´t talk about pretty butterflies nor the petals of the daises.

With this text I have overcome a frustration I did not existed and I have learnt why I was refusing myself to write about my book, I was afraid of returning to my young years and that instead of holding a cooler in my hands, I would have been holding a book that I was offering to the people in the aisles of the market. This blog today show how I thought of writing my book, that it was like offering bread just out of the oven, like the fruit of a street vendor, like receiving the worthless glares of those years long ago that so many people gave me seeing an insignificant girl selling ice-creams.

I felt sudden embarrassment because I did not want to see myself needed again, with hunger, with worries of adults overshadowing my young life. This book of 100 pages has removed the mask of an internal chaos so deep I did not even know it existed.

I have never felt embarrassed about selling ice-cream in the market and of nothing that I am, however my childhood and adolescence were filled of frustration of indifference of others and of having to be obliged to always shout and pretend to be happy- as a clown- in order to offer my ice-creams, even though on the inside I was dying, necessity is a hard life they say and I know it. Shouting and pretending to be happy helped me survive those years when instead of selling ice-creams I needed hugs and guidance. My smile that attracts people because they say I´m a person of light, for me means resistance, my own invincible persistence because even in the toughest moments of my life I dared to smile, even though I was hungry, cold, with my head bowed and ignored, I have kept believing that this world ca change and that I can contribute something for that to happen.

This book is the same as my ice-cream cooler, I will not offer it, I will not pursue people to buy it, I will not ask people to do me a favor, that the support the author and neither will I describe it as the best text they can find.

It is just there and if you would like to buy it, do it, not for me but fort hos millions of invisible people who I´m giving a voice through my report. If you do not wish to have it, don´t get it, no one is forcing you, manipulating you or asking you to spend money on this text.

I have not made any public presentations because I am not willing to receive acknowledgement in exchange for my words- there are lots of invitations from otherworldly beings- and I will not allow that opportunist hang on to it, I have not done it and I´m the creator of it, I will not let others take advantage of it. And never ever, even if the opportunity comes to do it, it will only be because the time and place, in conscience and integrity has all come together. I will not let opportunist take advantage of the report of someone invisible in order to taint those millions who have yet not found their voice. I am sorry if I am being frank and direct but I just cannot behave any other way.

This book is available on all the different platforms of Amazon.com on all the continents where it can be found. It is also available on creatspace.com and onbarnesandnoble.com

I have my first book, I cannot stop sharing my happiness with you, I had to do it my way, wild and alternative. Actually, it happened in August, the month of torrential rain, the month of the jocote bud and the flowering of the chipilín in my hometown of Comapa. The time of the gladuolis flower in the village of my childhood, where my eyes were enthralled by the majestic mountains of a green bottle color. Time of mud on the streets where I walked for so many years with my ice-cream cooler in my beloved city of Peronia. Time of the sunflowers, the singing of the crickets and cicadas, the light of the fireflies in the country where I am today a tenant.

Posdata: I am just starting to present my second book Post Border. –It took flight-.

Translation from Spanish to English by: Emelie Viklund.
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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Child Marriage - Global Problem

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sustainable Human Rights Cities

Sustainable Human Rights Cities – Cities of Dignity - Cities of Freedom in The Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals – pdhre@igc.org
PDHRE, People’s Movement of Human Rights Learning, an NGO In consultative status with the UN, has been for the last 25 years a champion of introducing at the community level, in many forms, an ongoing process of learning human rights, to be understood by the learners as a way of life…-- a powerful strategy for economic, social and human development.
For that purpose, since 1997, PDHRE has been facilitating the development of human rights cities - the first one in Rosario, Argentina, a community of more than a million people- evoking in most region of the world discussions that lead to action on the practical meaning of Human Rights to daily life…-- people learning the relevance of the Holistic, comprehensive , interconnected and interrelated human rights framework that leads toward transformation and meaningful change.
The learners, women and men come together to shine the light on a newly curved road on which they walk to discover new horizons, where human rights are being realized for all step by step! . They are guided by the knowledge they have acquired, examining, analyzing and claiming ownership of -HUMAN RIGHTS AS AWAY OF LIFE – some say human rights as a home!! --A place where people develop critical thinking and systemic analysis, learning to decipher between symptoms and causes and the essence of real equality.
Such a process of ongoing learning is to insure that the future of humanity will be void of the imposing autocratic 3 “P”s: Patriarchy, Politics and Power that are shamelessly obstructing the development of a world that is: Free from fear and need. In the learning process women and men join to break through the vicious cycle of humiliation never again to exchange their equality for survival as they join in moving charity to dignity!!
To make this experience and action part of the SDG - Sustainable Development Goals, we have been discussing with several top UN authorities and agencies, including international CSOs and several Ambassadors to the UN, the need to integrate such learning across the P2015 agenda, so that people around the world, for whom this public policy on SDG is being created, the imperative of human rights learning become an integral, organic, an absolutely necessary part. It is important to note that a special international FUND will need to be crated to support these activities.
We believe that in its vision and mission and the contribution it stands to make this is a unique and exciting plan, The proposed extraordinary combination of its partners and underlining purpose is overwhelming yet possible.
To achieve these objectives and goals in a practical way we are proposing the following plan
1. Identify 10 International, development civil society organization, each working in about 100 countries around the world, where local activists attend to the specific implementation and actions of these organizations’ development agenda.( --avoiding Neo colonialism )
2. UNDP Calls for a meeting/retreat with leaders of these 10 organizations to include: UN Women, UNFPA and UNICEF, several Ambassadors to the UN with some UN high officials, such as Amina Mohammed. ( The CSO now in discussion are : WCC , Civicus, Care, Save the Children, PLAN International, Oxfam, the Huairou Commission, Greenpeace, Fian, and PFH-Exchange –health organization. Several more will be Identified.)
3. The 10 chosen CSOs that will agree to join this extraordinary initiative, will be asked to identify together 10 countries in which all of them work-- at least one in every international region, where they all work. Each CSO will accept the overview and general responsibility for the program in one of the ten countries. Their responsibility will be to assume, with possible collaboration with UN agencies – and more- to facilitate the development of:


4. From the start each of the SHRC will be developed also as a HUB of learning, action and experience to be used to demonstrate the commitments of local communities to implement the SDG, guided by the human rights framework. Learning and actions to be undertaken in the City will be radiated to one or two villages and/or towns to lay the foundation of future national participation and be understood as such from the outset.
5. Local representative of each of the CSOs in each of the 10 countries will become members of the steering committee that will be designing the process and selecting ways and means that will have the specific city become a Sustainable Human Rights City within its religion, culture, economic and social issues, and historic memory.
6. Forms and procedures of ongoing reporting and communication between an appointed international executive committee and the representative of the 10 internationals development organizations, will be created to document and analyze the process in each of the 10 cities. These will be collected and analyzed for the purpose of learning how practically human rights can become fully integrated, as called for by the UN/SG of the implementation of the P2015.
7. Data collected recorded and examined will enable the designing of a detailed blue-print to develop within 5 to 10 years, in about 100 countries around the world, 100 Sustainable Human Rights Cites and national Hubs.
In summation: The expressed objectives and goals of these efforts and community activities is to have a world that all its inhabitants, the many billions of us, learn, know and understand the meaning of human rights to the future of their community and this of humankind!! – and take action. An ongoing process for all to know human rights is similar to as preventive health care.. where women and men joining to transform the future of humanity, being guided by the light of the holistic and practical human rights framework for which we have no other option what every or specific entry point for evoking such transformation is.
It is expected that as part of developing these initial activities an international body composed of well known personalities and activists will be crated to give credibility and visibility to this noble effort to make sure that in the whole wide world no one will be left behind and the meaning and relevance of human rights to people daily lives will be known and practices by all as a way of life!.
1. Empower citizens to know their human rights in order to claim their human rights.
2. Include and inspire Girls, Boys, Men and Women living with human dignity, in community, in harmony with one another and with the natural world.
3. Are an evolution, not a revolution.
4. Use collaboration and consensus to change the underlying values and attitudes that contribute to violence and misery.
5. Encourage free and frank dialogue, truth and reconciliation.
6. Citizens seek long-term changes in behaviour, not a short-term focus on violations of human rights.
7. Understand that genuine wealth lies in sharing our collective experience and wisdom.
8. Commit to meaningful participation for all in the political, economic, societal and cultural life of the community.
9. Learn and act according to our universal human rights, which define a shared moral and legal framework for living in dignity within our varied communities.
10. Is a community of lifelong learning, without a “finish line.”
11. Evolve from within the community, accommodating its unique cultural norms and behaviours, and its own approaches to consensus and coalition building.
12. The commonality in each Human Rights City is to enable “freedom from fear” and “freedom from want” within their own communities.
13. Learning together also means unlearning the inhumanity, violence and injustice that plague the human condition.
14. Learning from the experiences of people is as valuable as traditional teaching to embed the qualities of humility, empathy and mutual respect that underlie human rights.
15. The voices of people deprived of human rights—and thus of their human dignity—are indispensable guides to learning our shared duties to the community.
16. Through dialogue, interaction and learning we move from information to knowledge to achieve social and economic justice within a human rights framework.
17. Learning human rights in cities and communities harnesses the energies of all people to develop a shared global culture of human rights.
18. Embrace inclusive, participatory and responsive systems of governance.
-- Satya Brata Das, PDHRE People’s Movement for Human Rights Learning, 14 May 2014

By PDHRE , Peoples Movement for Human Rights Learning
Contact person: Shulamith Koenig – pdhre@igc.org
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Friday, September 5, 2014

Abortion Stigma, Human Rights & the Post-2015 Development Agenda

In 1994 at the ICPD, governments from around the world recognized unsafe abortion as a major public health concern,[1] and affirmed that reproductive rights include the right to make decisions concerning reproduction free from discrimination, coercion and violence, which were reaffirmed again in 1995 at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.

Yet as of 2014, unsafe abortion continues to be one of the leading causes of maternal mortality and morbidity, where an estimated 47,000 women die each year, accounting for approximately 13% of maternal deaths worldwide,
[2] and an additional 5 million women are annually hospitalized because of abortion-related complications.[3]

Abortion-related stigma is one of the primary factors that places safe, legal and accessible abortion care and services out of reach for individuals worldwide,[4] particularly in the Global South and particularly for young, poor, and unmarried women. Moreover, while socio-cultural factors entail that abortion stigma may take different forms in different places, abortion stigma is a global issue, demonstrated by the rise of legal and policy restrictions in places as diverse as the United States, Spain, Lithuania, and El Salvador, among others.

Why is abortion stigma so pervasive? It largely draws its strength from gender stereotypes used to deny individuals access to abortion, particularly the stereotype ascribing women to the role of motherhood. This stereotype implies that women “should prioritize childbearing and childrearing over all other roles they might perform or choose. […] nothing should be more important for women than the bearing and rearing of children.”
[5] As a result, abortion stigma and gender stereotypes, which in some cases are exacerbated by religious fundamentalisms, negatively impact the way a given society perceives abortion, as well as those who seek or have had an abortion, those who work in abortion care, and those who actively support abortion rights. At the legal and/or policy level, in turn, abortion stigma plays out in either justifying restrictive laws, or in preventing politicians or government representatives from speaking out on abortion rights, for fear of being perceived as too “radical” or “controversial,” and losing popular support. No space better illustrates this challenge than the intergovernmental deliberations regarding the Post-2015 Development Agenda, where UN bodies and governments have set out to establish the development framework that will replace the Millennium Development Goals, and where discussions surrounding universal access to safe and legal abortion have been virtually inaudible.
This silence, however, is unacceptable. In limiting individuals’ access to safe and legal abortion, abortion stigma and wrongful gender stereotypes fuel discrimination against women, and violate their human right to reproductive choice, as enshrined in article 16 of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

20 years ago, governments reaffirmed individuals’ rights to bodily integrity, autonomy, control over their fertility and privacy. This September 28, join us in calling on governments to speak out against abortion stigma, uphold their human rights commitments on eliminating wrongful gender stereotypes,[6] and ensure the inclusion of the human right to safe and legal abortion in the Post-2015 Agenda!


“Criminal laws penalizing and restricting induced abortion are the paradigmatic examples of impermissible barriers to the realization of women’s right to health and must be eliminated. These laws infringe women’s dignity and autonomy by severely restricting decision-making by women in respect of their sexual and reproductive health. Moreover, such laws consistently generate poor physical health outcomes, resulting in deaths that could have been prevented, morbidity and ill-health, as well as negative mental health outcomes, not least because affected women risk being thrust into the criminal justice system. Creation or maintenance of criminal laws with respect to abortion may amount to violations of the obligations of States to respect, protect and fulfil the right to health.”  Interim Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right of Everyone to the Enjoyment of the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health (2011), Para 21, A/66/254.


“States parties’ obligation is to address prevailing gender relations and the persistence of gender based stereotypes that affect women not only through individual acts by individuals but also in law, and legal and societal structures and institutions.” CEDAW Committee, General Recommendation No. 25, on article 4, para. 7

During Montevideo Conference on Population and Development Latin American and Caribbean States agreed to "ensure, in those cases where abortion is legal or decriminalized under the relevant national legislation, the availability of safe, good-quality abortion services for women with unwanted and unaccepted pregnancies, and urge States to consider amending their laws, regulations, strategies and public policies relating to the voluntary termination of pregnancy in order to protect the lives and health of women and adolescent girls, to improve their quality of life and to reduce the number of abortions". Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development (2013), Para 42.


"Reproductive rights embrace certain human rights that are already recognized [...]. These rights rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health." Beijing Platform for Action (1995), Para. 95

  • Cusack, Simone and Rebecca Cook (2010), Stereotyping Women in the Health Sector: Lessons from CEDAW, Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice 16.1 (Fall 2010): 47-78.
  • Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (2014), Statement of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: Beyond 2014 ICPD Review.
  • International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion (2014), Safe abortion and the post-2015 agenda.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014


[Brussels, 28 August 2014] The composition of the new European Commission is going to be confirmed at the meeting of the EU Heads of States this weekend. Almost all Member States have however already proposed their candidates for Commisioner and at the moment only 4 women have been designated out of 28. This means that not even 15% of the Commission would be women, less than half as many as in the outgoing Commission Barroso.
For the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) the question arises: is this the Europan Union we want?
The EWL, the largest umbrella organisation of women’s associations in the European Union (EU), is simply outraged. This is a clear disgrace to democracy and equality between women and men; ideals that form the core values of the EU. Women’s rights organisations across Europe cannot accept that the future Commission is not representing the diversity of the European society, by obviously ignoring 50% of the population. The EWL and its members say loud and clear: “No thank you! This is not our European Union”.
We demand from European governments, in particular Member States which have never appointed a woman as a Commissioner*, to fulfil their obligation with regards to the EU’s core values and to contribute to a gender equal Commission.
We call on the future president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Junker to ensure that the final composition of the Commission will represent what European citizens, both women and men ask for: a democratic, gender equal and sustainable European voice.
We also call on the future president to express his genuine political will to achieve equality between women and men in Europe and appoint a European Commissioner for women’s rights and gender equality. This is an essential step to guarantee more visibility to the active role of women and their right to be equal to men within a society based on democracy, social justice, human rights and dignity. Moreover, as there is room to appoint a Commissioner responsible for fish, why not appoint one for women’s rights?
*Member States that have never put forward a woman for the position of European Commissioner

  • Belgium
  • Croatia
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Hungary
  • Malta
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia

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