Subject: [fem-women2000 544] US Statement 2000/10/09
From: lalamaziwa <>
Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2000 23:42:58 +0900
Seq: 544



USUN PRESS RELEASE #136(00)         October 9, 2000

Statement by Ambassador Linda Tarr-Whelan, United States Representative 
the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, Third Committee,
October 9, 2000

Madam Chairperson: 

It is with great pleasure that I am here today.  As we look
ahead, we need to recognize that a lot remains to be
accomplished to improve the lives of women around the world. 
At the same time, we must acknowledge that much progress has
been made since the Fourth World Conference on Women held in
Beijing in 1995.

But, let us stop and think for a moment about the significance
of that World Conference in '95.  The Declaration and Platform
for Action adopted in Beijing was the strongest policy
statement on women's empowerment ever made by the
international community.  It was the first time a UN document
directed at advancing women was framed in the context of human
rights and economic independence.  It recognized that human
rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights.
It outlined actions to enable women to participate fully in
decision-making at all levels in political, economic, and
social institutions.  And, it consistently encouraged women to
do so in full partnership with men.

Five years later, Madam Chairperson, the international
community came together to assess the progress made since the
Women's Conference in Beijing --to take stock of actions taken
by governments to improve the livelihood of women.  And, no
less important, Madam Chairperson, to discuss and adopt
further initiatives to implement the Beijing commitments.

As we surveyed the endeavors undertaken to achieve the goals
of the Beijing Platform for Action, we all soon realized that
even though significant positive development could be
identified, barriers remained.  The focus then turned to
further steps that needed to be undertaken to further
implement the goals and commitments made in Beijing.

I am sure that we can all agree that negotiations were not
always easy. However, while we all encountered some bumps
along the way, the 23rd Special Session of the General
Assembly entitled "Women 2000: Gender equality, development
and peace for the 21st century", which came to be known as
"Beijing + 5", not only reaffirmed the commitment to the goals
and strategies for the advancement of women adopted in Beijing,
but identified new areas of concern.  New goals were agreed
upon to help women in areas such as health care, domestic
violence, trafficking, education, access to credit, and
participation in politics.

Madam Chairperson, the fact that over 4,000 delegates and
grass-roots organizers came together last June to discuss
women's issues was in itself a momentous occasion.  The idea
that women's rights are human rights, has finally solidified. 
Some twenty years ago, it was a radical thought. Today, it is
a statement frequently used by many around the globe.  It is
no longer a "concept", it is a fact embraced by many.

Today, Madam Chairperson, honor killings, bride burnings, and
female genital mutilation are no longer regarded as "cultural"
matters but human rights abuses.  The trafficking in human
beings, especially women and children, which Secretary of
State Albright condemned in her remarks during Beijing + 5, is
now seen as an international scourge.

While the United States would have liked to see stronger
language in certain areas of the Beijing + 5 outcome document
--for example with regard to sexual orientation and
reproductive health and reproductive rights, we were pleased
with the language in many other areas.  We believe that the
final document contains very good language on issues such as
the elimination of violence against women, which addresses the
issue of so-called honor crimes. Many thought that violence
against women, which first received attention in Beijing,
might be weakened in the +5 process.  This section, in fact,
was one of the areas with the most progress.  The document
reaffirms that violence against women and girls, whether
occurring in public or private, is a human rights issue.  It
emphasizes that there is insufficient awareness of the
consequences of domestic violence, how to prevent it, and the
rights of victims.  The document criminalizes violence against
women, particularly domestic violence.  It goes beyond Beijing
in terms of calling for steps to be taken against any person,
organization, or enterprise.

The Outcome Document also highlights HIV/AIDS, an issue that
was not specifically addressed in 1995.  It calls on men to
assume their responsibility in family planning and practicing
safer sex to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS and states that women
and girls should have access to sexual education and all types
of health care, education and disease prevention throughout
their lives.

Questions about globalization, and the contributions of women
to international business and the global economy were not on
the world stage in 1995 either.

Let me turn for a few moments, Madam Chairperson, to the
question of the heinous crime of trafficking in women and
children.  I would like to underscore here the words of
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at the 23rd Special
Session when, referring to the trafficking in human beings,
she said that "this crime has gone global, distorting
economies, degrading societies, endangering neighborhoods and
robbing millions, mostly women and children, of their dreams."
We must continue to work together forging partnerships on
every continent to share information, coordinate legal actions,
and find and close criminal networks.  Putting an end to
trafficking requires a multi-national effort.  Let us join
hands and send a message to those out there that are in the
business of ruining the lives of thousands of women and
children that we will not stand for it.  But, only working
together, can we succeed in this endeavor.

In the area of education, we strongly supported language
calling for accelerated action to close the gender gap in
primary and secondary education by 2005; to ensure free
compulsory and universal education for both girls and boys by
2015; and for the elimination of policies that have been
proven to worsen and perpetuate the gap.  Let us work
arduously, Madam Chairperson, to fulfill these goals. 
Education is one of the bastions of sustainable development. 
It is one of the most valuable means of achieving gender
equality and the empowerment of women.  The political will
must be there, however, to undertake educational reform.

With regard to women in the labor market, Madam Chairperson,
we were pleased with the document's call for the need to take
action to increase women's participation and to bring about a
balanced representation of women and men in all sectors and
occupations by, among others, encouraging the creation or
expansion of institutional networks to support the career
development and promotion of women.  It is not enough, Madam
Chairperson provide women and girls with the opportunity for
education.  There must also be equal opportunity in the labor
market, and we must all continue to work towards equal pay for
equal work or work of equal value.

Included among the objectives adopted at the Special Session
was the promotion of women in the global economy.  US
delegations attending meetings in different fora will work
towards the advancement of this objective.  I would like to
enumerate here some of the guiding principles that we have set
for ourselves, as we participate in international

*   Promote the participation of women in transborder trade.
*   Expand the use of electronic commerce by women.
*   Increase participation in business skills training.
*   Improve access to financing.
*   Provide special assistance to women from minority groups, and 
*   Promote the participation of women in government procurement.

We hope, Madam Chairperson, that all member states represented
here will help us bring these objectives to fruition.  Only
working together can we make them a reality 

Before closing, Madam Chairperson, I would like to say a few
words about globalization.  Globalization is revolutionizing
the way the world works, and can bring tremendous benefits to
developing countries -by stimulating trade, for example, or by
applying new information technology to education. We must all
acknowledge that globalization is a fact, not a policy option
that can be turned off or reversed.  At the same time, we
recognize that not all developing countries have been able to
take advantage of the benefits of globalization to the same
degree.  As some countries race ahead, others face the risk of
falling farther behind.

Within countries, not all groups share in the benefits.  Due
to historic patterns of discrimination, some vulnerable groups,
including women, do not have equal access to these benefits,
or the proper preparation and training that will enable them
to participate fully in the positive aspects of the new

For example, women lag behind men in education, technological
training, access to credit, and land ownership.  In many
places, women are still not free to participate fully in the
economy.  And, due to gender biases in institutions, women
workers and women in business are often less able to take
advantage of economic opportunities, including those enhanced
by globalization.

As I previously said, however, globalization is not a policy
option.  It is up to each nation to pursue sound policies such
as promoting education, private sector development, and the
free flow of information designed to help all their citizens,
including women, to take advantage of the opportunities of
economic globalization.

I would like to emphasize that globalization in itself cannot
be viewed as either the cause or the solution to poverty
.Globalization makes government commitment to good governance
and sound economic and social policies more important than

However, we believe that developing nations should not face
this task alone. As agreed in Okinawa, the international
community must work together with developing countries in
areas such as trade capacity building, debt relief, expanding
digital opportunities, and untying official development
assistance.  Further, the international community must also
help developing countries build policies and institutions that
foster freedom, opportunity, security, the rule of law, and
more effective delivery of education and health services, as
well as environmentally sustainable management of natural

In closing, Madam Chairperson, it was an honor for me to be
part of the Beijing + 5 process and to work with all of you to
make the adoption of a Declaration and Outcome Document
possible which emphasizes a holistic, human-rights based
approach to gender equality, and recognizes that society as a
whole benefits from increased equality for women.  Let us
continue to work together towards the improvement of the
quality of life for women around the world.

Thank you, Madam Chairperson.


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