CSW Agreed Conclusions signed tonight. Annette Lawson March 15 2013
There is joy, relief and an outpouring of applause as Governments gathered in New York at the UN to work on a text aiming to prevent violence in all its manifestations against women and girls, reached agreement with their backs to the wire at this vital 57th session of CSW focusing on the prevention of violence against women and girls. Their negotiators certainly needed dinner and sleep since they had been working until the small hours overnight and had been at it again all day today (Friday 15 March 2013). Evidently Michelle Bachelet, the CEO of UN Women called in and inspired them to greater efforts to reach a good outcome because they were there not just for themselves or even for their governments but for the women and girls of the world. She has led this CSW to success. Later she announced she would be returning to Chile. Perhaps we will see her President again. And UN Women must find another world leader.
The result is due not only to marvellous work of the negotiators but also to the persistence and advice of the more than 600 NGOs gathered too, and the real partnerships forged between them and some governments – certainly between ourselves and our UK government.
The text has much to welcome in it that should really make a difference, enabling change and underpinning prevention with strong paragraphs on resourcing and the range of services that are required. Education is stressed and the need for boys and men to take responsibility for their actions is important as are the paragraphs that give powerful support to the NGOs, particularly to women’s organisations which have the expertise to work from grass roots through to the advisory levels of government in a collective mode. Recognition of women’s sexual and reproductive rights and to have their rights embedded in law and in practice is a great win. The ending of impunity from punishment of the perpetrators is stressed and there are strong paragraphs on international cooperation and on trafficking especially in relation to sexual exploitation. There is a good paragraph on the harmful effects of the exponential rise of porn on the web and of cyber bullying and cyber stalking as well as the positive uses of social media and of the internet for change in attitudes and behaviours.
it was made clear that religion, culture and tradition cannot be used to excuse violations of the human rights of women and girls and the wording that suggested States should have sovereignty over their actions, thus making a mockery of the global nature of the UN, was fortunately withdrawn at the last. However, the trading required to remove this immensely damaging clause has meant there are some disturbing gaps.
Alas, women who love other women are not included, the words, ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender orientation’ did not make it and nor did ‘intimate partner’ or ‘intimate relationships’, which would have given some recognition to violence occurring outside of marriage but within partner relations. Alas, too, the word, ‘prostitution’, is also absent. Given it forms part of the Beijing Platform for Action which is reaffirmed in the preamble, I am sure we can find ways to work around it and this sentence is in:
‘Accelerate public awareness, education and training to discourage the demand that fosters all forms of exploitation.’