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NGO Documents for Beijing +5

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(Beijing + 5 UN General Assembly Special Session, New York, June 9,2000)

As women from around the world who have been active in the "Beijing + 5" Review process nationally, regionally, and internationally, we re-commit ourselves to working for implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and for the advancement of the human rights of all women. While there have been positive aspects to this review process, we want to register our disappointment with the Outcomes Document agreed to by governments at the United Nations today. We appreciate the hard work that many have put into this process and applaud those delegations that have fought to defend and advance commitments to women. However, we regret that there was not enough political will on the part of some governments and the UN system to agree on a stronger document with more concrete benchmarks, numerical goals, time-bound targets, indicators, and resources aimed at implementing the Beijing Platform.

Still, some important steps were taken. First and foremost, the Political Declaration reaffirms that governments have the responsibility to implement the Beijing Platform for Action, and thus, the platform remains the reference point for governmental commitment to women's rights in all 12 critical areas of concern. Some of the other areas advanced in the document are outlined below.

We will continue to utilize the Beijing Platform as well as other world conference documents and reviews in our work for women's empowerment and rights. We will also work to hold governments accountable to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (which 165 countries have ratified), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and all other human rights treaties and standards. These instruments entail binding obligations on government signatories to respect, promote, protect, and fulfil the human rights of women and girls, many of which are elaborated in the Platform for Action. The commitments contained in all these documents are universal, inseparable and indivisible.

The Beijing + 5 review provided opportunity and space for public assessment and discussion of the critical areas of concern. As a result, we have been able to air important issues locally and globally. Many governments have made reports on what they ~e doing to implement the platform, and women's NGOs have produced over 100 alternative reports engaging in public debate about what still needs to be done. Some of the regional meetings for this review resulted in documents which women can use to advance women's rights nationally and regionally. Even the obstacles that we have encountered in this review have taught us what we need to do to improve the current political climate in the world and to counter the intransigent minority who still oppose women's rights. And as always, women have taken this space to network and share experiences and strategies across cultural, racial, national and other boundaries.

It is women's movements that have placed women's empowerment and rights on the world's agenda over the past 25 years. Once more women have come to this review in record numbers as we did for the World Conference in Beijing. And it is women who will continue to take the leadership in working for these goals. We will not be turned back. We welcome support and partnership with men, with governments, the United Nations and other institutions as we continue the struggle to realize economic justice and all human rights for all women in all our diversity in the next decade.

Some of the issues strengthened in the agreed language of the Beijing +5 Outcomes document are:

A: Health

* Maternal mortality -make it a health sector priority -Para 107 (a) his

* Education programs to enable men to practise safer sex -Para l07 9 quarter

* Gender aspects of diseases such as malaria & TB -Para 135 d

* Affirm the goals of ICPD + 5- Para 115 a ter

* Health Sector reform -impact on women. s access to health services -Para 115 d

B: Violence

* Honour Killings & Forced Marriage -Addressed for the first time in an international consensus document. Paras 103 d & 130 a

* Dowry related Violence -Strengthened language calling on governments to take comprehensive measures to eliminate it- Para 130 a

* Marital rape -Legislation and stronger mechanisms are called for to address all forms of domestic violence- Para 103 c

C: Globalisation

* Recognition of negative impacts on women & gender differences, ensuring equal to social protection- Para 110a & 118k

* Equal participation of women in macro economic decision making-125 9

'D. Economy

* Right to inheritance & property rights -Para 102 k

* Right to housing- Para 135 d

* Gender budgets - Para30& 109a

* ILO declaration on women's rights at work- Para 127 b

E. Human Rights

* Ratify optional protocol to CEDAW -Para 102 g

* Gender related asylum -Para 102 I

* Equality between women & men migrants -Para 132 b

* Increased recognition of specific needs & rights of indigenous women 103 e & g. 128h

F. Political Empowerment

* Quotas & other measures to increase women's participation in political parties and parliaments - Para 117 a bis




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