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UN Commission commits to women’s rights

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UN Women welcomes the outcome of 57th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, held in New York, this week

By Team FI

The UN Women today welcomed the Agreed Conclusions of the 57th session of the United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which concluded on Friday. In a press release, the UN Women have appreciated the document adopted by the Commission, which not only condemns the pervasive violence against women and girls but also focuses significantly on prevention – “through education and awareness-raising and addressing gender inequalities in the political, economic and social spheres.”

According to the press release, the document has underlined the importance of “multi-sectoral services for survivors of violence, including for health, psychological support and counseling, social support in the short and long term.”

Referring to the outcome as a testimony to the commitment of UN Member States to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls, the UN Women stated that by adopting this document, the respective governments “have made clear that discrimination and violence against women and girls has no place in the 21st century.”

In 2003, when the Commission took up violence against women and human rights, Member States had failed to reach to an agreement.

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood on Wednesday had called the proposed document un-Islamic. According to women’s rights activists, the Vatican, Russia and some Muslim nations had formed “an unholy alliance” to weaken a UN statement calling for tough global standards on combating violence against women.

Women’s organizations across the globe had expressed their alarm at the “constant negotiation of the language in the outcome document”. Women’s human rights are not to be negotiated away, said the press release endorsed by over 200 women’s groups and organizations and more than a hundred individuals, insisting that negotiations should not be re-opened “on the already established international agreements on women’s human rights.”

The 57th CSW had also seen the organizations and individuals of Arab Caucus express their concern over the positions taken by some Arab governments on violence against women. They accused their leadership of “increasingly using arguments based on religion, culture, tradition, or nationality to justify violence, discrimination and allow the violations against human rights and continue with impunity.”

The Arab Caucus representatives from non-governmental organizations underlined the fact that “the taboos and politicization of issues around sexuality are major hindrances to gender justice and the elimination and prevention of violence against women and girls in our countries. The denial of the existence of youth and premarital sexuality, extra-marital sexuality, sex work and same sex practices constitutes a dangerous threat to the well-being and public health in our societies.”

AFP news report suggests that western nations, particularly from Scandinavia, toned down demands for references to gay rights and sexual health rights to secure the agreement after two weeks of tense negotiations between the 193 UN member states.

Some 6,000 non-government groups were present in New York for the CSW meeting.