Subject: [fem-women2000 166] WA2000 CSW: Daily News #2 - English - 01/03/00
From: lalamaziwa <>
Date: Wed, 01 Mar 2000 08:38:43 -0500
Seq: 166

March 1st 2000 =ad New York CSW
Daily Bulletin Number 2


Sexuality and human rights

PFA Paragraph 96 says "the human rights of women include their right to
have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related
to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of
coercion, discrimination and violence. Equal relationships between women
and men in matters of sexual relations and reproduction, including full
respect for the integrity of the person, require mutual respect, consent
and shared responsibility for sexual behaviour and its consequences."
This undeniably also refers to sexual preference. This is why the ECE
Regional Preparatory Meeting called on, without reservation by the Holy
See, ECE governments to "review and repeal laws that criminalize
homosexuality, since such laws contribute to creating a climate which
encourages violence against women who are, or are perceived to be,
lesbians."  The ECLAC - Lima Consensus calls on governments to
"Guarantee the protection of women's human rights, including sexual and
reproductive rights, and addresses violations of these rights with
particular attention to all forms of gender-based violence and its root
causes, including the reproduction of a culture of violence."
Additionally, it calls for the formulation and improvement of programmes
designed to safeguard women's health and uphold their sexual and
reproductive rights. Five years after Beijing may be seeing an upswing
in the rights of all women to enjoy greater freedom in their sexuality.
We look forward to a CSW that consolidates and improves upon these gains.

Appropriate ICTs

So what's GKII ?

The 2nd "Global Knowledge Conference" will be held in Kuala Lumpur ,
Malaysia 7-10 Mar . Where are Women on the Agenda?. This 'watershed'
conference will focus on empowerment access, & governance as it's main
themes. It aims to produce a 3 year action plan, complete with financial
& political comitments. IWTC (Church Centre, 3rd Floor) will host a
meeting on Thursday, Mar 2nd, 5-7pm to discuss linkage issues with the
BPFA. More info on GKII from :


Between tradition and power

Since 1984 Berhane Ras-Work, president of the Pan-African Committee on
Practices Affecting Women and Childhood Health, has waged battle against
harmful practices affecting women. Harmful practices include marriages
of child brides, sexual mutilation and nutritional taboos. Just a few
examples, traditions 'forbid' pregnant women to eat fish, and 'allow'
Mauritanian men to force-feed young girls to make them sexually more
attractive. Berhane Ras-Work says: "So men keep the best food for
themselves and they satisfy their own sexual fantasies". Today, the
Committee has several tasks. The first is to provide the 26 national
committees with individualized strategies for combating bad practices
against women. Secondly, it influences governments to adopt policies and
laws. To date, the Ivory Coast, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, Ghana, Ethiopia,
Djibouti has introduced legislation. "There is much still to be done. We
have to continue the struggle", Berhane Ras-Work adds. To that end, the
Committee together with the OAU (Organization for African Unity), is
drafting a Convention against harmful practices to be presented to
governments for adoption. At the same time, work continues at the
village level because of the increased danger to women's health. AIDS
has added a tragic dimension to these practices. "Old rich men buy
virgins to have sex without the risk of contamination." Thirdly, the
economic dimension is critical. As Berhane Ras-Work says: "what can a
grandmother and a mother choose? The paradox is, that to marry their
daughters off at the age of 9 years, and to mutilate their genitalia, is
a way of giving them a chance". Indeed, a girl that has not been
circumcised is not eligible, so she cannot marry, and therefore cannot
have access to an income. On the other hand, the Committee has to
"convert the circumcisors". In March 1999 in Guinea, a campaign was
launched which resulted in 30 practitioners stopping their work despite
it being very lucrative.

There has been steady progress since the first two global women's
conferences, in Mexico and Copenhagen. Governments and NGOs have entered
into dialog. The general public has become aware of this crucial issue.
"The Beijing Platform for Action, adopted in 1995, recognizes these
practices as a form of violence against women, and as the  violation of
the rights of Women and Children. It has been a real catalyst.

Joelle Palmieri, WomenAction 2000

Official Process

PrepCom2 Structure

We are starting to receive information about how the PrepCom portion of
the CSW (starting 2nd week) will be organized. Executive Committee will
lead the process. The 10 members are: Rose Odera (Kenya), Patricia Flor
(Germany), Christine Kapalata (Tanzania), Sonia Leonce-Carryl (St.Lucia),
Monica Martinez (Ecuador), Kristen Mlacak (Canada), Rasa Ostrauskaite
(Lithuania), Dubravka Simonovic (Croatia), Asit Bhattacharjee (India),
Msako Kaji (Japan). The Chair of the Bureau will recommend to the
Governments to work in two "Informals". This means NGOs will be allowed
to observe the delibrations unless governments decide otherwise.

NGO Caucus

Institutional Mechanisms

Yesterday, the Caucus noted that many of the NGO alternative reports
draw attention to the extreme vulnerability of existing national
institutional mechanisms. The caucus stresses the importance of
governments establishing partnerships with NGOs and CSOs as part of
their national machineries to enable them to identify obstacles.

Health Caucus

The Health Caucus will meet daily at 1:30-3:00pm at the Church Center.
March 1 will be in the 10th floor. March 2nd will be in the 8th floor.
Renate Bloem will chair the Caucus on March 3rd. The Health Caucus plans
to form coalitions with other caucuses, including HIV/AIDS, human rights,
environment, youth, mental health, globalisation and the sustainable
development committee on women to get certain agreed-upon language, as
it evolves, into the final CSW document.
Workshop on Trafficking of Women and Girls

This workshop was convened yesterday by Soroptomist International and 
Miramed Institute (supported by Unifem). Soroptomist International has
launched a campaign "Stop Trafficking" which  was presented at the
workshop. More than 40 women attended. Speakers in the panel were:
Christine Crawley (Women's National Commission UK, longtime  member of
the European Parliament) reported on trafficking of women from a EU and
UK perspective, emphasized problem of trafficking of women from Eastern
Europe. Anele Heiges (Miramed Institute) reported on work of Miramed in
Russia: providing statistical data based on opinionnaire in Russia,
supporting programs to estabilish civic groups and leadership in Russia,
organizing internet chat rooms. Last speaker was Cecilia Blewer
(Coalition Against Trafficking in Women) who reported on the status of
the trafficking issue in various international human rights instruments.
She stressed the importance of a clear definition of the concept of
trafficking in terms of "with and without consent of the victim".

NGO Activities

Linkage Caucus - NGO amendments to the CSW PrepCom "Outcomes Document".

The "NGO coalition in support of the BPFA" has prepared a document with
textual amendments to the proposed outcome sdocument, treating the full
document and all issues. The caucus  will meet everyday 5-6 PM in
Conference Room B (except 2nd March.).
Contact for further input and sign-on in support of
the document.


Panel discussion on Globalization
1 March 2000 - 1:15 - 2:45 pm, UN Building, Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium.
Organised by International Federation of University Women (

Panel discussion on The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women and Shari'a law
March 2, 1:15-2:45, Conference Room 1. Arabic translation provided. 

Women in armed conflict
March 3rd and 6th 10:45am - 12:15pm: Outcomes document and Monday 15th
March 10:45am - 12:15pm: Presentation of recommendations elaborated and
endorsed by NGOs in Budapest and Geneva. Venue: the UNIFEM Conference
Room, 304 East 45th Street, 15th floor.

ILO Maternity Protection Convention
March 1, 2000, 1:00-12.00 a.m. 11th Floor, Church Center. 

Health Caucus Open Forum
The health caucus will co-sponsor an open forum to share best practices
on promoting equality in health for women on March 9th, 6:15-7:30pm.
Location to be announced. 

Francophone Caucus
1st March 4:00pm, UN Room B. Francophone women's meeting.

Lesbian Caucus
UN Room B, Wednesdays and Fridays, 3 pm

Access to Technology
In an intervention on 27 March at the CSW, the World Blind Union called
on the member states to ensure that women with disabilities are
guaranteed an equal opportunity to be educated and rehabilitated and to
make maximum use of both traditional and new technology in the labour
market. Particularly women in developing countries who are deprived of
education in reading and writing and are overlooked in programs designed
to rehabilitate people to participate in the economic and social life of
their countries.

Women in Central and Eastern Europe and CIS countries
The KARAT Coalition is organizing the following events on March 9th 
a presentation of the alternative reports from Albania, Macedonia,
Moldova, Poland and national recommendations from Bulgaria, Czech
Republic, Hungary, Yugoslavia (on violence).

WA 2000 Team
Women Action Daily News production team: K. Banks, V. Berroa, B. Finke,
I. Leon, S. Masters, Y. Matsumoto, J. Palmieri, L. Pugh, J. Small.
WomenAction is a global information, communication and media network
that enables NGOs to actively engage in the Beijing+5 review process
with the long term goal of women's empowerment, with a special focus on
women and media.

This newsletter is made possible through generous financial support from
WomenWatch, the Swiss Development Agency and the Shaler Adams

You will find the Daily News at
You will find the full texts of the documents at

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