Subject: [fem-women2000 94] Women's Human Rights Dialogue starts now
From: iwtc <>
Date: Mon, 08 Nov 1999 14:09:16 -0800
Seq: 94

November 8, 1999

Dear Friends,

As many of you may know, WomenWatch has organized the Beijing+5 Global
Electronic Forum--a series of online working group discussions created to
provide input into the review process of the United Nations.

We would like to invite you to join and participate in the ON-LINE WORKING
ACTION).  The discussion begins next week and will be facilitated by the
Center for Women's Global Leadership. The success of the working group
depends on an interactive and lively debate. We feel that the sharing of
your work and experiences will add greatly to the dialogue.

The Beijing Platform for Action is one of the most comprehensive
articulations of government commitments to the human rights of women and
gender equity. The Platform Mission Statement affirmed "the fundamental
principle" that the human rights of women and the girl child are an
inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights. The
text of the Platform calls for the implementation of strategies to ensure
the rights of women and girls in all areas: legal rights, health, economic
life, political decision making, education, situations of war and personal
safety. The task following the conference was the translation of these
commitments into reality. The five-year review of the Beijing Platform
presents an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of a human rights based
approach to women's issues/lives and on the challenges facing the women's
human rights movement. Woman's human rights advocates have achieved
recognition of the idea that women's rights are human rights in the Beijing
Platform and other important documents of the decade. Yet reality lags far
behind such rhetoric. In spite of courageous and innovative actions by women
all around the globe, the concerted action and allocation of resources

A rights based review will provide an opportunity to assess the progress
made in the implementation of strategies to address both gender specific
violations and those with a disproportionate impact on women. The Beijing
Platform addressed the issue of women's human rights in two ways:

1. Strategic Objective i. - Human Rights of Women
2. Articulation of women's human rights in the other critical areas of

The "Claim Women's Human Rights" Working Group will discuss whether the
strategies set out in both these areas have been realized.

The Working Group will focus on the following questions:

1) What are the trends since 1995 in attitudes and values that support the
human rights of women and girls? What progress has been made?
What concrete steps have been taken?

2) What are the obstacles to full realization of these rights?

a. Resistance to the Platform for Action strategies
b. Contradictory government policies and practices
c. Lack of political will and and/or resources
d. Macroeconomic realities that mitigate against and violate the
human rights of women and girls

3) What must be done in the future?

a. Benchmarks of progress
b. Minimum standards for women's human rights in particular areas
c. New regional and international mechanisms required
d. Assessment of resources needed

The Working Group will meet 8 November - 17 December 1999. We proposed the
following schedule for our discussion together:

Week One: What are the trends in changing attitudes and values toward
women's human rights since 1995?

Week Two: What progress has been made in the ratification and implementation
of basic human rights instruments especially CEDAW?

Week Three: What concrete actions taken to strengthen and expand women and
girls knowledge of their rights through programs to promote legal literacy
and human rights education about and for women?

Week Four: What actions have been taken to promote equality and
nondiscrimination in the areas of: political participation, indigenous and
migrant rights, health and reproductive rights etc.?

Week Five: What actions have been taken to promote equality and
non-discrimination in areas of economic rights, land and inheritance rights,
access to basic services etc.?

Week Six: What else needs to be done to secure women's human rights? What
should the UN do?

We look forward to discussing and sharing your experiences and ideas for
claiming women's human rights.


Please go to and "sign up" for
the CLAIM WOMEN'S HUMAN RIGHTS working group.


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