A Beijing +10 Update - Women Fill the UN and the US Fails Women

Tuesday, March 1, 2005


February 26, 2005 - (NYT) The most remarkable thing about Rwanda's Parliament is not the war-damaged building that houses it, with its bullet holes and huge artillery gashes still visible a decade after the end of the fighting.

February 2005 – The February issue of UNIFEM's electronic newsletter includes information about UNIFEM's activities during Beijing +10, and their plans for the International Women's Day celebrations around the world.

February 23, 2005 - (Reuters) The United Nations is investigating allegations that three Pakistani policemen raped a woman in Haiti while deployed on a U.N. stabilization mission, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

February 23, 2005 - (Windhoek) Namibia is enveloped in a litany of violence by way of an undeclared war daily being waged against innocent women and children, something that has become a norm rather than an exception. With these words Rosa Namises of the Congress of Democrats yesterday motivated her party's motion on Violence Against Women and Children in the National Assembly.

February 22, 2005 – (Boston Globe Editorial) ASHA'S VILLAGE was attacked before dawn. First the planes came with the bombs. Then armed men on horse- and camel-back rode in, shooting everyone in their path. As people screamed and gathered up their children the attackers quickly went hut to hut.

February 17, 2005 – (Boston Globe) How are women and girls likely to fare in Iraq under a new Shi'ite regime? Columnist Ellen Goodman takes a look at the issue and finds a complex web of traditions, opinions and religious interpretations that make for an uncertain picture for Iraqi females.

February 15, 2005 – (WeNews) Ten years after the U.N. called for the strengthening of women's legal rights around the globe, African women's rights are still often caught in the tangle between traditional and civil laws. The first of a seven-part series on the Beijing Platform.

February 15, 2005 – (UN News) Palestinian women are suffering massively from malnutrition, especially when they are pregnant and nursing, and have high rates of poverty as widowed heads of household, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a new report to a UN women's rights panel.

For more country-specific women, peace and security news, CLICK HERE

For more international women, peace and security news, CLICK HERE

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POLITICAL DECLARATION: Outcome Document of Beijing +10
As of 1 March 2005, the US government has not withdrawn a major amendment they introduced on 24 February 2005 to the draft text of the political declaration, prepared by the Bureau of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

If the US government withdraws their amendment, there is an expectation that it will deliver an explanation of position, as it has in previous Beijing +10 regional reviews.

The US' proposed amendment is in bold:
“Reaffirm the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action Adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women and the outcome of the 23rd Special Session of the GA.” [while reaffirming that they do not create any new international human rights, and that they do not include the right to abortion.]

All other members of the Commission on the Status of Women have publicly maintained their support for the Bureau's draft declaration.* Some of the most out-spoken governmental critics of the US amendment, include the governments of the European Union, Canada and New Zealand. As New Zealand stated in its intervention on 1 March 2005:

“We are not here to re-litigate or reinterpret Beijing. We are here to reaffirm it, to pledge our renewed commitment to its implementation and to support each other to do that.

New Zealand will not accept an outcome declaration that contains anything less than a clear, unambiguous and unqualified reaffirmation of Beijing. We are not interested in negotiating any qualifications to the reaffirmation contained in the draft prepared by the bureau.

New Zealand calls on all states to reaffirm the Beijing Platform for Action without equivocation. The international community has laboured too long over language in human rights treaties, declarations and resolutions. It is time to take action, and Beijing provides with us with the right platform for doing so.”
(Statement by the Honorable Ruth Dyson, New Zealand Minister of Women's Affairs)

* The draft declaration does include minor amendments, which have been accepted by consensus.

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Organized by the Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO)
This listserv is intended for those interested in the ten-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action. WEDO will send updates and information about the review process and events taking place around the world during the Global Week of Action (March 1-8, 2005). To subscribe send an email to Nicole@wedo.org.

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Organized by UNIFEM and Gender Links
UNIFEM and the Southern African Media NGO, Gender Links, are collaborating to run a series of cyberdialogues, in order to: 1) allow people not able to be in NY for B+10 to be kept abreast of issues and to give their comments; 2) use ICT as a medium to reach women around the world and engage them in the B+10 process; 3) reach out to a younger IT-savvy audience globally.

Seven real time online chats will be conducted, facilitated out of UNIFEM HQ in NY, beginning on 2 March 2005. Experts will be called on to speak briefly on specific topics and their comments woven into the chats. UNIFEM regional offices, such as the Nairobi office, are deeply involved, providing access to women's organisations and members of the public through cybercafes, the UN complex and other NGO venues. The Regional Programme Director has also succeeded in getting the participation of the World Bank who will also provide a substantial number of access points - they have contacted their global offices with the information and are urging people to log on.

For more information about the cyberdialogues, contact Kubi Rama at: kubi@genderlinks.org.za or kubi@mweb.co.za, or phone 27 (0) 82 378 8239.

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To-date, over 400 organizations and networks have signed on to the civil society letter on the reaffirmation and implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action.

The International Planning Group for Beijing + 10 (IPG) has sent the global sign-on letter with the first 335 signatories to all of the governmental Missions at the UN, as well as to the UN Secretary-General and the UN Deputy Secretary-General. The IPG for Beijing +10 will continue to collect signatories and to use the letter in advocacy at the UN throughout the 49th Session of the CSW.

To sign on to the letter and to view the signatories, CLICK HERE.

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The UN Office of the Special Advisor on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women (OSAGI) has compiled a list of women, peace and security-related events during CSW49/Beijing +10. Some highlights from the calendar have been listed below.
The full calendar is available at http://www.un.org/womenwatch/osagi/

Women, Armed Conflict and Occupation: Israeli Perspective
Impact of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict on the lives of Jewish and Palestinian Women in Israel
Haifa Hotline for Battered Women and Isha L'Isha – Haifa Feminist Center
Wednesday, 2 March 2005, 1:15-2:45pm, Quaker House, 247 E. 48th @ 2nd Avenue
To RSVP, contact mailto:kara@peacewomen.org.

Women in Burma: Any Progress Since Beijing?
Burma UN Service Office
Thursday, 3 March 2005, 1-3pm, Drew Room, Church Center, 777 UN Plaza

Women, Peace and Security in a Militarized Context
WILPF and Canadian Voice of Women for Peace
Friday, 4 March 2005, 1:15-2:45pm, Church Center, 11th floor

UN Security Council Resolution 1325: Women Building Peace: An Interactive Workshop
NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security and the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Tanzania
4 March 2005, 3:00- 5:00 pm, Conference Room B, United Nations

Progress, Gaps and Challenges in Providing Reproductive Health Services for Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and The Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children
Wednesday, 9 March 2005, 1:15- 2:45pm, Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, UN

For timely information on the Review and Appraisal of the Beijing Platform, CLICK HERE.

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Would you like to get involved with the Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security?
25 February 2005

The Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security (CCWPS) is a national coalition of individual and organizational members of civil society, government and Parliament whose mission is to work toward the goals established in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.

Following a steering committee meeting last week, the CCWPS will formulate four new subcommittees that support the themes of the resolution.

The subcommittees are:

1. The promotion of women in peace processes
2. The protection of rights of women and girls
3. Gender training for peacekeepers and peacekeeping operations
4. Communications, awareness and outreach on resolution 1325

Should you be interested in joining one of the above subcommittees to work with civil society and government representatives on these issues, email Jodie McGrath, Coordinator of the CCWPS, at: mcgraj@sen.parl.gc.ca.

Membership of the sub-committees is currently limited to Canadians or those residing in Canada.

The Canadian Committee on Women Peace & Security will be launching their own website shortly. In the meantime, for more information about the CCWPS, contact the above mentioned Jodie McGrath, Coordinator of the Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security at: mcgraj@sen.parl.gc.ca.

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Rising Up in Response: Women's Rights Activism in Conflict
Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights
Rising Up in Response: Women's Rights Activism in Conflict, Urgent Action Fund's first major publication, is now available! The report focuses on women activists' encounters with international actors -- especially peacekeeping forces and international funders -- and aims to increase direct support to women's rights activists in armed conflict. The author, Jane Barry, writes, “Women's rights activists make up the bulk of the frontline human rights and humanitarian response to armed conflict. They are there long before international actors arrive – and they will be there long after they leave. Their work is fundamental in every phase of a conflict. Any externally-driven conflict intervention that does not acknowledge and support this response fails in its mission to serve conflict-affected populations.”

Rising Up in Response is available at http://www.urgentactionfund.org/. To order copies, please contact urgentact@urgentactionfund.org or call 303.442.2388. Shipping fees may apply.

Report Launch at the Commission on the Status of Women
4 March 2005, Church Center for the UN, New York
Urgent Action Fund and Urgent Action Fund-Africa are holding a roundtable discussion and launch of their new report, Rising Up in Response: Women's Rights Activism in Conflict, during the CSW, on 4 March, from 1:15 - 2:45, at the Church Center for the United Nations, 777 UN Plaza, Eighth Floor, Boss Room. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Matthew Emry, matthew@urgentactionfund.org or 917-302-7675.

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Iraq: Decades of suffering, Now women deserve better
Amnesty International, Stop Violence Against Women Campaign
22 February 2005
Women and girls in Iraq live in fear of violence as the conflict intensifies and insecurity spirals. Tens of thousands of civilians are reported to have been killed or injured in military operations or attacks by armed groups since the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The lawlessness and increased killings, abductions and rapes that followed the overthrow of the government of Saddam Hussain have restricted women's freedom of movement and their ability to go to school or to work. Women face discriminatory laws and practices that deny them equal justice or protection from violence in the family and community. A backlash from conservative social and political forces threatens to stifle their attempts to gain new freedoms. The general lack of security has forced many women out of public life, and constitutes a major obstacle to the advancement of women's rights.

This report is part of Amnesty International's Stop Violence Against Women campaign. It focuses on the many ways in which women and girls in Iraq have suffered from government repression and armed conflict in disproportionate or different ways from men, and also how they have been targeted as women. It also shows how discrimination is closely linked to violence against women, and the particular ways in which women have suffered from the breakdown in law and order in many parts of the country since the overthrow of the government of Saddam Hussain.
Among the recommendations made in this report, Amnesty International calls on the Iraqi authorities and members of the National Assembly to ensure that the new constitution and all Iraqi legislation contain prohibitions on all forms of discrimination against women, and that effective measures to protect women from violence are introduced and supported.

For the full report, CLICK HERE.

For Amnesty's press release, CLICK HERE.

For more information about Amnesty International's Stop Violence Against Women Campaign, visit:

For NGO and civil society reports, papers and statements, UN and government reports, and books, journals and articles on women, peace and security issues, CLICK HERE.

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Mutual Trust between North Korea and the U.S is the Way to Achieve Nuclear Disarmament in North Korea: Korean women's voice for peace on the Korean peninsula
14 February 2005
1. Korean women, who have been hoping to see Korea become a land of peace, without war and weapons, and who have long worked for the peaceful reunification of Korea, are very concerned about the declaration that North Korea has nuclear weapons. 2005 is the 60th year since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the screams of the victims still ring in our memory. We cannot accept the existence of nuclear weapons, which are fundamentally against life and peace.

…4. We therefore oppose any economic sanctions or military attack against North Korea in retaliation for its declaration of possession of nuclear weapons. Such methods will strengthen tensions and insecurity and elevate the risk of war. The North Korean nuclear issue absolutely must be resolved through peaceful and cooperative methods. The key to resolving the nuclear problem is to create an environment of mutual trust in which there is no longer a need for nuclear weapons. The most important element is “trust”; if there is no trust, complete verification will be impossible and it will take a long time to solve the problem. It is also important to have a new environment in which nuclear weapons are irrelevant and unneeded.

…7. We women of South Korea, in this “60th year of liberation” and “60th year of division” of Korea, will work to advance inter-Korean cooperation and exchanges, and to build support among the people of Korea and the international community for peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue.

We believe that our determined efforts for peace are the way to overcome the pain of division and war, to put an end to the cold war legacy, and to realize a Korean peninsula where peace and reconciliation prevail. We ask the support of the international community to make this hope come

For the full statement, CLICK HERE.

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We want the same rights that women enjoy in other countries:
Appeal by the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq regarding 8th March 05- International Women's Day
3 February 2005
Women and women's organizations worldwide are preparing to celebrate International Women's Day on March 8. The Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq is also preparing itself inside Iraq and abroad to celebrate IWD.

We congratulate women in Iraq and worldwide on this great day and call on women and men in Iraq and the Iraqi Kurdistan to hold celebrations on this day.

Women in Iraq have not struggled to get rid of the Baath regime (one of the most dreadful regimes humanity has ever known) only to be jailed in their homes, will-less, deprived of basic rights, threatened with death if they express an opinion or exercise their rights.

…Now that we are only days away from celebrating the 8th March, we have to unite our ranks to make this day a day where women and men in Iraq can come together to defend women's rights and struggle for their freedom and equality with men.

Let's make the 8th of March a day to unite women all over Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan with women worldwide in the struggle to extend women's rights to include
* the right to work
* the right to education
* the right to choose one's place of residency
* the right to live safely and securely, to be protected against domestic violence
* the right to choose a partner without coercion or threat
* the right to travel without imposing companions on us

Let's make 8th March a day to escalate our demand for an end to US occupation and an end to Islamic terrorism, to legislate a secular constitution in Iraq which separates religion from the state and to implement modern civil laws on all residents of Iraq, regardless of their gender, ethnicity and religion.

Let's hold gathering in every village, suburb, city, school, university and working place where women and men celebrate the IWD to make women's voices heard. We demand a free and equal world!

For the full statement, CLICK HERE.

For another recent statement by the OWFI concerning the recent elections in Iraq, “The recent election game will not improve the situation for women”, CLICK HERE.

For NGO and civil society reports, papers and statements, UN and government reports, and books, journals and articles on women, peace and security issues, CLICK HERE.

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UN Commission on Human Rights (CHR): 61st Session
14 March - 22 April 2005, Geneva, Switzerland

The UN Commission on Human Rights (CHR) will be meeting 14 March – 22 April for its 61st Session, bringing together 53 States members and over 3,000 delegates from member and observer States and NGOs.

Though gender is a cross-cutting issue with relevance to all items on CHR's provisional agenda, of particular importance from the Resolution 1325 perspective is agenda item 12 on the integration of the human rights of women and the gender perspective and its sub-item 12a on violence against women. According to the schedule of the CHR, these items will most likely be treated on the 5th and 6th of April.

WILPF is one of hundreds of NGOs that will be participating in the CHR, delivering statements, and organizing side events, among other planned activities. WILPF has prepared two written statements for the upcoming session of the CHR, on the “Question of the Violation of Human Rights in the Occupied Arab Territories, including Palestine,” and “On the Elimination of Violence Against Women.”

Both statements are available at: http://www.wilpf.int.ch/statements/sindex.htm#chr

Below are excerpts from WILPF's statement regarding Agenda Item 12 on the “Integration of the human rights of women and the gender perspective,” sub-item (a) on Violence against women:

…WILPF calls on the members of the Commission and all States to act on the recommendations set forward in UN Security Council Resolution 1325, specifically to:

* Incorporate the provisions found in UNSC Resolution 1325 in the body of the CHR resolution on violence against women, as well as in the resolutions on internally displaced persons, trafficking of women, protection human rights defenders, and all country-specific resolutions.
* Request that all Special Rapporteurs, and in particular, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, substantively treat the implementation of UNSC Resolution 1325 in all country-specific reports.
* Ensure that all Member States before coming before treaty-based committees, and especially the Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Human Rights Committee, are aware of the provisions contained in UNSC Resolution 1325 and report on their implementation of 1325, as it applies to their commitments under the treaties.

For the full statement, CLICK HERE.

Pax Romana and the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) established the Web Monitoring and Documentation (WMD) project last year during the 60th session of the Commission on Human Rights (2004), in an attempt to make the UN human rights meetings and mechanisms more accessible, transparent, participatory, effective and accountable. This year the WMD will provide services for the 61st UN CHR, as well as other UN human rights meetings such as the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Working Groups when necessary and possible. In addition to posting all documents on a daily basis during the CHR, the WMD project will also organize the information into value added data and provide essential news and reporting from the CHR.

Web Monitoring and Documentation (WMD): http://www.unchr.info/

For more information about the CHR in general, and the 61st session specifically, visit: http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/chr/index.htm

For more information about WILPF's plans during CHR, please contact Susi Snyder, Secretary-General of WILPF, at: susi.snyder@wilpf.ch.

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1325 Workshops at the 49th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women
The NGOWG invites you to attend our workshops on using SCR 1325 as a powerful tool to support your work on women, peace and security. The workshops will feature the work of women's organizations from the field on 1325 and will be held:

• Friday, March 4, 2005: 3:00pm - 4:45pm at UN Conference Room B, co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Tanzania

• Monday, 7 March: 1:15 - 2:45pm at the Church Center, 8th floor in the Boss Room

Action: Check the CSW calendars for more information, available at: http://www.peacewomen.org/un/Beijing10%20/beijing10index.html

Questionnaire: Results to be included in Five Years On Report
The NGOWG has released its questionnaire seeking information on your use of SCR 1325. Please take no more than 15 minutes to respond to the questionnaire and further implementation of SCR 1325. The results of the survey will be included in a SCR 1325 Five Years On Report to be released in October 2005.

• Action: You can find the online questionnaire on our website: http://www.peacewomen.org/un/ngo/5YearsOn/Questionnaire.html

National Action Plan alert
The NGOWG wants to hear your opinions on developing national action plans for implementing SCR 1325. If you have comments, information or suggestions on national level action plans for SCR 1325, please contact us.

• Action: Email Cora True-Frost at coratruefrost@peacewomen.org, or call at +1 (212) 682-3633, ext. 3121

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Action Alert
Due to news from our contacts with women activists in the DRC, the NGOWG urges you to contact your representatives to urge international action regarding the ongoing conflict in DRC.

• Action: Read the NGOWG's statement, available on our website.
o Please also contact your country's permanent representative to the UN (list of all permanent representatives available at: http://www.un.int/index-en/webs.html) to inform them of your concern.

For more information about the NGOWG, CLICK HERE.

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Gender Guidelines for Mine Action Programmes
UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS)
February 2005

Excerpts from the Preface:

The United Nations has endorsed the strategies of gender mainstreaming and gender balance to achieve the objective of gender equality. The United Nations Gender Guidelines for Mine Action Programmes are intended to help United Nations mine action policy makers and field personnel incorporate gender perspectives in all relevant mine action initiatives and operations. The development of the guidelines has been informed by the Inter-Agency Steering Committee on Gender and Mine Action, a working group of the Inter-Agency Coordination Group on Mine Action, chaired by the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and comprised of representatives from the United Nations Department for Disarmament Affairs, Department of Peacekeeping Operations/Best Practices Unit, Office of the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, United Nations Office for Project Services, United Nations Children's Fund, United Nations Development Programme, and International Committee of the Red Cross, with input from the Survey Action Centre, a non-governmental organization.

The guidelines are being presented as a working document. Their distribution and use will be monitored by the Steering Committee for a period of one year, and feedback-guided revisions will be incorporated into an updated version UNMAS will coordinate an outreach process including the development of training materials and workshops for United Nations mine action personnel.

To download the new UNMAS Guidelines, visit: http://www.mineaction.org/countries/_refdocs.cfm?doc_ID=2182

For NGO and civil society reports, papers and statements, UN and government reports, and books, journals and articles on women, peace and security issues, CLICK HERE.

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1. Women, Peace and Security News
2. Beijing +10 Update: Women Fill the UN and the US Fails Women
3. Feature Initiative: Would you like to get involved with the Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security?
4. Feature Reports: Rising Up in Response: Women's Rights Activism in Conflict (Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights) & Iraq: Decades of suffering, Now women deserve better (Amnesty International)
5. Feature Statements: �Korean women's voice for peace on the Korean peninsula� & �We want the same rights that women enjoy in other countries� (Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq)
6. Feature Event: UN Commission on Human Rights (14 March-22 April 2005)
7. Action Alerts from the NGOWG on Women, Peace and Security
8. Feature Resource: Gender Guidelines for Mine Action Programmes (UN Mine Action Service, UNMAS)