Subject: [fem-women2000 170] CSW44 - APWW Statement (28 February 2000)
From: lalamaziwa <>
Date: Fri, 03 Mar 2000 23:51:06 -0500
Seq: 170

Following is a statement to CSW44 Plenary delivered by 
Pam Rajput on Behalf of the Asia Pacific Women's Watch (APWW)


(Forty-fourth Session) and PrepCom.

New York, 28 February - 17 March 2000

General Debate - Agenda Items 3 and 4

Statement on Behalf of the Asia Pacific Women's Watch (APWW)

Delivered by Prof. Pam Rajput, Convenor, Steering Committee, APWW
February 29, 2000

Madam Chairperson, distinguished members of the Commission on the Status
of Women and honourable delegates to the CSW and dear sisters from the
women's movemenet.

The new century has begun with an important stocktaking all over the
world, an assessment of the condition and status of  half of humanity,
the world's women and girls, in response to the UN call for  a
performance report on what has changed since the Beijing Conference on
Women, which is being called the Beijing + 5 Review.  It is an auditing
opportunity of the pledges and commitments made five years ago.

I rise to speak, Madam Chairperson, before this august Commisiion on
behalf of  Asia Pacific Women's Watch, in deed on behalf of the  60% of
the women of the world that we are, and as I relect their voices, I am
sure these are the voices of the women of the world, as the concerns are
the same.

I may hasten to add that I am  consiously not using the words "grass
roots voices", as I feel that due to unsustainable, developemnt policies,
the grass is disappearing  - and what to say about the root? We speak
now of displaced  women, refugee women, squatter women, migrant women,
trafficked women, commodified women - where are their roots!!!

While aknowledgeing some gains since Beijing, particularlry a growing
acceptance and commitment towards addressing women's needs, the matter
of fact is that most governemnts, I may submit with due respect,
persisit in reporting de jure and not de facto.  Is the truth not yet
good enough?  Clearly it is not.  The Asia Pacific Regional Symposium
stressed that the past few years have been particularly  difficult for
our region. Challenges posed by new trends that perpetuate injustice,
threaten world peace and impede women's empowerment such as the negative
impact of globalistaion, the Asian finanaical crisis, the
intensification of armed and other forms of violent conflict, an
escalation in the use of religious, ethnic, cultural and other forms of
identity based constructcs to deny women equality, rights and resources
and lack of political will to empower women beyond policy statenents
anad legislation..

The region has seen an increase in  the number of  women living in
poverty. This has largely been caused by the impact of  international
influences including globalisation and the policies and practicies of
bodies such as the World Trade Organsiation, World Bank, Intenrational
Monetary Fund and multi-national corporations.  For many  women, these
policies and practices have resulted in unemployment, a deterioration in
wages and working conditions , the shift of labour from the formal to
the  informal sector and from regulated to unprotected sub-contratced

There is complete failure of the international community to develop
mechanisms for the  regulation and accountability of these new centres
of power.

As the countries reel under debt, there are cuts in the social sector. 
Safety nets are a lip service.  There is reduced access to affordable
quality health care; including primary health care; increased struggle
for means of livelihood.  Food security stands endangered.  Exactly five
years ago, in the 39th session of the CSW, I had said that Miss Universe
wants Pepsi, Miss World wants Coca Cola.  What does the poor women want?
Safe drinking water!  Either water is not available, or it is poisonous,
mixed with toxic waste.  How many can afford to drink mineral water?
(Which is more expensive than Gas and Diesel in the US). Have the
conditions changed since then?  Development with a human face is yet to
see the light of day.

It is equally important to take note of the increasing culture of
violence, trafficking, the escalating commodification of women and girl
children and violation of their human rights.

The review process invites recall of three words, "equality, development
and peace".  Peace, must be submitted, remains the forgotten word of the
three.  It is the BPFA that defaults by positionsing peace in the
theatre of war rather than injustice and thus absolving both national
and international reporting from acknowledging the hard facts.  The
possible leadership of women as builders and guardians of peace options
in human affairs or conflict resolution at any level is not really up
for review; they are still cast as victims of the breakdowns of peace or
armed conflicts. Voices are heard against nuclear weapons but nobody
talks of banning the production and trade of arms.

While noting the strengthening and enhancement of national machinaries
we lament the low level of political will, relative absence of genuine
monitoring and evaluation of other institutional mechanisms, as much as
resource commitment both at the national and international levels.

Having stated that, I may say that (and I quote from the AP NGO document)
"yet we draw strength from  a growing acceptance and commitment to
women's needs in civil society, governments and international
organisations; and recognise that the BPFA facilitated partnerships
between  NGOs working for women's empowerment, other civil society
actors, governments and the UN system.

As we from the women's movment commit to translate our vision into
reality and "to strive for societies based on individual and social
dignity in which women feel strong, active,creative, and empowered;
where the vital power of our bodies' functioning and healing remians in
tact; where our diverse abilities and talents are valued; and where we
may make decisions and choices, express ourselves and move about freely
and confidently, without fear of violence."

We call upon the governemnts of the world, the United Nations,
international agencies, non-state actors and civil society to have the
courage and commitment to translate the high hopes of the BPFA into
concrete actions that help us to move from the conflict, inequality and
injustice towards the pronciples of mutual respect, equality and justice.

Can we endevour to make the 21st century a century of EQUALITY, HUMANITY


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