Thursday, March 14, 2013

Message from the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict

Uphold Women’s Rights at the 57th Commission on the Status of 

Dear Delegate,

We, the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in 
Conflict, call on you as a member state taking part in the 57th 
United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, to uphold 
international obligations towards women’s rights and conclude the 
session with a strong communiqué that will pave the way for 
accelerated action to end gender violence.

Members from the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender 
Violence in Conflict, including Nobel Peace Laureate and Campaign Co- Chair Jody Williams, joined allies in New York last week to call on 
member states for strong action to stop rape in conflict.
As negotiations towards a final outcome enter the second and final 
week, we are alarmed that a number of states are using the 
Commission to reverse hard-won progress the global community has 
made in the past couple of decades to eliminate violence against 

At a very minimum, the Commission on the Status of Women must uphold 
the universally agreed-upon language on women’s rights including 
CEDAW, the General Assembly’s Declaration on the Elimination of 
Violence Against Women (1993), the Beijing Platform for Action 
(1995), and UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000).

The Campaign is deeply concerned about efforts to remove reference 
to language specific to these international agreements on women’s 
rights from the Commission’s final documents. In particular, certain 
states adamantly claim that religious or cultural traditions should 
take precedent over ending violence against women. As an 
international Campaign with members in more than 125 countries, we 
stress that religion or culture must never be used as an excuse to 
perpetuate gender violence.

Furthermore, we are concerned that some states are again making 
sexual and reproductive rights a point of contention, and equally 
disturbing, are objecting to language that will define rape to 
include forced sexual acts with a partner.

Gender violence is a global epidemic, ranging from domestic violence 
to systematic rape in conflict. To end a UN Commission intended to 
address gaps in current responses to gender violence with weakened 
global cooperation to end violence against women, sends a message to 
perpetrators that they can continue their crimes with impunity. 
Survivors deserve more from the international community.

It is imperative that the international community reaffirm its 
commitment to women’s rights. We remind you that current discussion 
of new targets for when the Millennium Development Goals expire in 
2015 is ongoing, and the statement from the Commission will impact 
this process.
We urgently call on member states of the Commission to show strong 
leadership to prevent violence against women and rape in conflict, 
to protect women and girls from violence, including through 
provision of needed psychosocial and medical services, and to 
provide survivors with access to comprehensive justice mechanisms 
including prosecution of perpetrators.

In order to advance both national and international justice 
mechanisms to address serious crimes of gender violence, we call on 
you to support the adoption of an amendment proposed by 
Liechtenstein that would further justice for survivors by supporting 
the complementary and necessary work of the International Criminal 

As thousands of women and survivors of gender violence have gathered 
in New York for this historic moment as the United Nations 
prioritizes ending violence against women, and millions more around 
the globe watch intently, we hope you will listen to our collective 
call for action and emerge with a final statement that provides a 
clear path of action to end the epidemic.

Jody Williams
Nobel Peace Prize, 1997
Co-Chair, International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in 
Chair, Nobel Women’s Initiative

Autonomous Women's Center, Serbia
Association for Women’s Rights in Development
Catholics for Choice
Fonds pour les Femmes Congolaises, Democratic Republic of Congo
Global Fund for Women, United States
Human Rights Watch, United States
Infoteka, Bosnia & Herzegovina
JASS Just Associates
Liga de Mujeres Desplazadas, Colombia
Observatorio Genero Democracia y Derechos Humanos, Colombia
Physicians for Human Rights, United States
Solidarité Féminine pour la Paix et le Développement Intégral, 
Democratic Republic of Congo
Sonke Gender Justice, South Africa
Women's League of Burma
Women’s League for Peace and Freedom
Women’s Media Center’s Women Under Siege Project
Women's Network Croatia
World Pulse

No comments:

Post a Comment