Posts Tagged ‘Commission on the Status of Women’

Many NGO participants denied visa to attend Commission on the Status of Women in New York

March 21, 2019

Kena Betancur / Getty Images

reports on 20 March 2019 that many women who were slated to participate in the UN Commission on the Status of Women have been denied visas, especially lawyers, activists, and women who deliver reproductive health care services from African and Middle Eastern countries that fell under Donald Trump’s travel ban.

The US is obliged under a 70-year-old treaty to not restrict people or NGOs from attending the UN headquarters. BuzzFeed News is yet to receive a response from the US Mission to the UN regarding the total number of visas that have been denied this year. [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/03/18/irans-election-to-a-un-gender-equality-body-should-not-obscure-the-real-work/]

The International Service for Human Rights said it was aware of at least 41 women who have been denied visas to attend the conference this year — but this figure is said to be only “the tip of the iceberg” and likely to increase.

Women who wanted to attend CSW this year from countries like Iran, Sudan, Zimbabwe, and Syria were asked to provide supporting documents like marriage certificates, proof of property ownership, letters stating employment status, proof of finances, and even proof of birth certificates or proof showing that they have children, according to the petition.

Lyndal Rowlands, advocacy officer with the UN-accredited organization CIVICUS, told BuzzFeed News that among all the people that were denied visas, women from countries that fell under the Trump administration’s travel ban were disproportionately affected. “Last year and this year we have also heard of women from Pakistan and Nepal who were denied visas,” she said. …Most of the women applying for visas, Rowlands said, had not traveled to the US before — a deliberate decision by organizers who wanted a diverse range of women present at the United Nations, not just pundits and experts who travel all the time but women who work at the grassroots.

It’s essential that women who are at the front lines working on women’s rights are present when their rights and the rights of the women they serve are being discussed,” she said. “Governments and UN officials that attend the conference can make better policies when they are informed by the experiences of women who face some of the biggest uphill battles when it comes to fighting for gender equality — for example, delegates who were unable to attend include lawyers and advocates who represent women who have been imprisoned for their activism, [and] women who deliver reproductive health care services.”

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/nishitajha/un-women-conference-visas-denied

Iran’s election to a UN ‘Gender Equality’ body should not obscure the real work

March 18, 2019

UN Commission on the Status of Women opening session, March 2019. Photo: Li Muzi/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images. All rights reserved.

Anne Marie Goetz in Open Democracy of 13 March 2019 goes in more depth on what the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York can do and points our that  “Never before has social protection – pensions, health insurance, social security, child benefit, parental leave – been addressed by the CSW. Achieving progress on these issues is threatened by both religious and market fundamentalisms – though a number of states including Lebanon, Namibia, and Uruguay are resisting this backlash.“…

The US, Bahrain and Malaysia have reiterated during this week’s CSW discussions that the family – not the state – is the main source of social protection for many women. This is what I’d call a ‘family fallback’ approach which, combined with cuts to public services, requires women to expand their mothering roles to pick up the slack. Some countries, including Russia and Saudi Arabia, defend this maternal focus as a national cultural preference. The US is now among those supporting this view, arguing that any proposals on women’s rights should only be applied ‘as nationally appropriate’. This allows the notion of ‘national sovereignty’ to trump global standards on gender equality.

But the US position is so extreme that Shannon Kowalski, advocacy and policy director at the International Women’s Health Coalition, told me it’s expected that “major fractures will emerge” even with its conservative friends. Few developing countries can stomach the Trump government’s drift towards abstinence as the foundation of family planning.

Moreover, the US’s refusal to participate in the 2018 Global Compact for Immigration discussions has alienated countries such as the Philippines, Mexico and Indonesia, which have proposed, for instance, that social security benefits earned by immigrant women should be portable and redeemable when they return home.

A diverse counter-movement against the current global ‘illiberal drift’ is also visible at this year’s CSW. The ‘Buenos Aires Group’, consisting of many South American states (notably Argentina, Chile and Uruguay), has emerged as a defender of LGBTIQ rights and a skeptic about privatisation of public services. This year Tunisia and Lebanon, in the Arab states group, and South Africa, Namibia, Liberia and Cape Verde in the ‘Africa Group’ of countries, are championing progressive positions on women’s rights as well. This support from the Global South vitally shows that the gender equality agenda is not just the concern of the usual suspects in the North – Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and the EU.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/5050/religious-and-market-fundamentalisms-threaten-gender-equality-un-summit/

UN Commission on Status of Women misses again opportunity to tackle plight of Women Human Rights Defenders

June 16, 2016

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and women’s rights. Its 60th session this year focused on women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development. Despite mounting evidence of targeted violence against women human rights defenders (WHRDs), particularly those working on development issues, the Commission on the Status of Women failed at ensuring their adequate protection says the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) in a report of 12 May 2016. ISHR-logo-colour-high

The role and contribution of WHRDs around the world in human rights and development policies and programmes must be a guarantee by all States,’ said Ms Pooja Patel, programme manager at ISHR. ‘It is disappointing that the Agreed Conclusions did not go further to call for a safe and enabling environment explicitly for women defenders, and that the text was adopted without any acknowledgement of the particular risks faced by women human rights defenders’.

The UN General Assembly resolution 68/181, adopted in 2013, outlines a series of steps for States to better protect women defenders. This was echoed by CSW in 2014, however, negotiations in subsequent years have seen such references taken out.

Noelene Nabulivou, who spoke on a panel on the role of women human rights defenders held during CSW noted, ‘The 60th Commission on the Status of Women missed another opportunity to adequately support and defend women human rights defenders, despite increased public calls and momentum this year,’

She added that..’Women human rights defenders are targeted, imprisoned and killed for their work every day. Soft language and fence sitting do not help. Governments must publicly stand with those at the dangerous front-lines of gender equality, women’s human rights, and economic, ecological and social justice, and clearly reject those rolling back decades-long gains. Where there is violation of the human rights of WHRDs there must be clear political response – from south, north and all between.’

Just days before the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) met in New York, the murder of Honduran activist, Berta Caceras, made evident the high risks involved in protecting land and environment rights while confronting corporations.[https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/exceptional-response-from-ngo-world-on-killing-of-berta-caceres/]

Source: CSW: Progress urgently needed to recognise WHRDs and SOGI | ISHR

Women human rights defenders want to be taken serious by UN body

June 15, 2015

Some 325 organisations have signed up to a joint Statement which expresses outrage at the way that they have been excluded from both the negotiation of the political declaration and the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) Methods of Work resolution. [http://www.wave-network.org/content/nothing-about-us-without-us-statement-csw-methods-work-resolutions].

BACKGROUND:
The UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) each year provides a global platform for exchange and networking for women’s organizations working on furthering women’s rights all across the world, but this year’s session (March) was also the occasion to present the ‘Future organization and methods of work of the CSW which provides less space to NGOs to influence the outcomes of the session, through increasingly limited access to official negotiations and space to contribute to outcome documents.  It seems that governments are intent limiting the (sometimes) robust participation of non-governmental organizations, restrict recognition of the human rights of women and girls and the norm-setting role of the CSW in this regard and skirt responsibility for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.

The statement says: “It seems they are intent on discussing everything about us, without us….Let us be clear: we do not come to the CSW to attend side events. We come to the CSW to hold our governments to account to the commitments they have made to guarantee gender equality, eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence against us and achieve the full realization of all of our human rights. We come to the CSW to advance progressive policies that, if implemented, will make a meaningful difference in our lives. If the CSW no longer provides us with a forum for policy change and accountability that fully involves us, we will stay at home.

Website Link which includes the 325 organizations that signed the Statement:
http://www.dawnnet.org/feminist-resources/sites/default/files/articles/nothing_about_us_without_us_0.pdf

via: http://www.wunrn.com