Subject: [fem-women2000 380] NGOs RESPOND TO WOMEN 2000 U.N. OUTCOMES DOCUMENT
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Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 06:45:41 -0500
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 Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2000 16:43:36 +0200

For Immediate Release
June 10, 2000


After an all-night negotiations session, the United Nations General Assembly
on Saturday, June 10, approved the Outcomes Document related to the
implementation of the Platform for Action adopted in 1995 in Beijing, China.

The following is a statement by leaders of the Non-Governmental
Organizations (NGOs) as issued from the Linkage Caucus, a coordinating group
that links NGOs across the various issues and geographic regions of the

(Beijing + 5 UN General Assembly Special Session, New York, June 9-10, 2000)

As women from around the world who have been active in the "Beijing + 5"
Review process nationally, regionally, and internationally, we re-commit
ourselves to working for implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action
and for the advancement of the human rights of all women.  While there have
been positive aspects to this review process, we want to register our
disappointment with the Outcomes Document agreed to by governments at the
United Nations today.  We appreciate the hard work that many have put into
this process and applaud those delegations that have fought to defend and
advance commitments to women.  However, we regret that there was not enough
political will on the part of some governments and the UN system to agree on
a stronger document with more concrete benchmarks, numerical goals,
time-bound targets, indicators, and resources aimed at implementing the
Beijing Platform.

Still, some important steps were taken. First and foremost, the Political
Declaration reaffirms that governments have the responsibility to implement
the Beijing Platform for Action, and thus, the platform remains the
reference point for governmental commitment to women's rights in all 12
critical areas of concern.  Some of the other areas advanced in the document
are outlined below.

We will continue to utilize the Beijing Platform as well as other world
conference documents and reviews in our work for women's empowerment and
rights. We will also work to hold governments accountable to the Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (which 165
countries have ratified), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and all
other human rights treaties and standards.  These instruments entail binding
obligations on government signatories to respect, promote, protect, and
fulfill the human rights of women and girls, many of which are elaborated in
the Platform for Action.  The commitments contained in all these documents
are universal, inalienable and indivisible.

The Beijing + 5 review provided opportunity and space for public assessment
and discussion of the critical areas of concern. As a result, we have been
able to air important issues locally and globally.  Many governments have
made reports on what they are doing to implement the platform, and women's
NGOs have produced over 100 alternative reports engaging in public debate
about what still needs to be done.  Some of the regional meetings for this
review resulted in documents which women can use to advance women's rights
nationally and regionally.  Even the obstacles that we have encountered in
this review have taught us what we need to do to improve the current
political climate in the world and to counter the intransigent minority who
still oppose women's rights. And as always, women have taken this space to
network and share experiences and strategies across cultural, racial,
national and other boundaries.

It is women's movements that have placed women's empowerment and rights on
the world's agenda over the past 25 years.  Once more women have come to
this review in record numbers as we did for the World Conference in Beijing.
And it is women who will continue to take the leadership in working for
these goals.   We will not be turned back.  We welcome support and
partnership with men, with governments, the United Nations and other
institutions as we continue the struggle to realize economic justice and all
human rights for all women in all our diversity in the next decade.

Some of the issues strengthened in the Women 2000/Beijing +5 Outcomes
document are:

 A: Health
リ Maternal mortality - makes it a health sector priority - Para 107 (a) bis
リ Education programs - enables men to practice safer sex - Para 107 g quater
リ Provides gender aspects of diseases such as malaria & TB - Para 107 a
リ Affirm the goals of the International Conference on Population and
Development + 5
リ Health Sector reform - includes impact on women's access to health
services - Para 115 d
(Still under discussion pending agreement are access to abortion, sexual and
reproductive health and rights, and adolescents' access to services)

 B: Violence
リ Honour Killings & Forced Marriage - Addresses these issues for the first
time in an international consensus document- Paras 103 d & 130 a
リ Dowry related Violence  - Strengthened language calling on governments to
take comprehensive measures to eliminate it - Para 130 a
リ Marital rape - Legislation and stronger mechanisms are called for to
address all forms of domestic violence-  Para 103 c

C: Globalization
> Recognition of negative impacts on women & gender differences, ensuring
equal access to social protection - Para110a & 118k
> Equal participation of women in macro economic decision making-125 G

D. Economy
リ Right to inheritance & property rights - Para 102 k
リ Access to housing - Para 135 d
リ Gender budgets - Para 30 & 109 a
リ ILO declaration on women's rights at work - Para 127 b

E. Human Rights
リ Ratify optional protocol to CEDAW - Para 102 g
リ Gender related asylum  - Para 102 l
リ Equality between women & men migrants - Para 132 b
リ Increased recognition of specific needs & rights of indigenous women 103 e
& g, 128h

F. Political Empowerment
リ Quotas & other measures to increase women's participation in political
parties and parliaments- Para 117 a bis

NOTE:  Copies of the full document are available on-line through at the UN Press Room button under Documents

Contact:  Charlotte Bunch, Director
Center for Women's Global Leadership
Weekend:  212-475-1895
Office: 732-932-8782

June Zeitlin, Executive Director
WEDO:  Women's Environment and Development Organization
Weekend: 718/852-4666
Office: 212/973-0325

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