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Commission on the Status of Women 2013: European and North American NGOs present a common position on the draft conclusions - 07 March 2013

[New York, 07 March 2013] While the negotiations between Member States started today at the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), European and North American NGOs gathered as a caucus and delivered their common position on the current state of play of the draft conclusions. The conclusions of this 2013 CSW are on the elimination and prevention of violence against women and girls, and the Europe-North America NGO Caucus highlighted in its position the main key issues that are crucial for women’s rights and should be addressed in the conclusions, based on the agreed international language. You can download the position here.

Position of the Europe and North America NGO Caucus of 7 March 2013

CSW draft Agreed Conclusions version 4 March 2013 rev2

1. The Caucus asks all Member States to strongly reaffirm and strengthen their commitment to all existing international and regional instruments (including documents related to the Beijing process, the ICPD programme of action, CEDAW and its protocol, Conventions on the rights of the child and on the rights of persons with disabilities, Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, UNSCRs on Women, Peace and Security), and implement them at national level.

2. The Caucus strongly supports original para 7 and p of the zero draft and amendment p alt concerning stopping invoking any custom, tradition or religious considerations and urges Member States to ensure a consistent protection of women’s human rights throughout the world. In this respect, proposed para 7 ter is in complete contradiction of the goal of CSW. The Caucus also stresses that “child marriage”, “early marriage”, “forced marriage”, as well as “marital captivity” should be included in the conclusions.

3. The Caucus stresses that the full integration of women and girls’ multiple identities through a intersectional perspective including factors such as race, ethnicity, religion or belief, health, civil status, housing, migration status, age, disability, class, sexual orientation and gender identity, is a crucial condition for addressing the multiple forms of discrimination and violence that many women face. We support amendment 3 quat. and original para gg of zero draft.

4. The Caucus welcomes the acknowledgment of prostitution as a form of violence against women. However, language should be based on the UN 1949 Convention, stating that “Prostitution and the accompanying evil of the traffic in persons for the purpose of prostitution are incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person”. Therefore, the use of terminology such as ‘sex work’ or ‘forced prostitution’ is not consistent with UN language. We stress that prostitution is one of the most archaic manifestation of the unequal power relation between women and men and therefore, measures must be taken to protect all women and girls in prostitution and address the demand for prostitution and trafficking.

5. The Caucus urges Member States to fully include the concept of “women’s sexual and reproductive rights”, in conformity with agreed language. The violation of women’s sexual and reproductive rights is a form of violence against women and sexuality education for girls and boys is key to ensure equality between women and men. We support original para n (including amendments from Australia) dd and o, amendment n bis, new para aa, amendment 9 quat., amendment eebis), as well as amendment w alt) which stresses the importance of engaging men and boys in taking responsibility for their sexual and reproductive behaviour.

6. The Caucus supports the use of the term “intimate partner violence” as well as “domestic violence” so as to ensure the protection of all women abused in a relationship notwithstanding the civil status of the relationship. The Caucus also recalls that UN agreed language is “violations” of women’s human rights and not “abuses” of human rights.

7. The Caucus calls on Member States to reaffirm and strengthen the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, and the UNSCR 1820, 1888 and 1889. Women and girls face various forms of violence in conflict and post-conflict situations, including the use of rape as a weapon of war, and such violence should be condemned.

8. The Caucus believes that measures must be taken in order to prevent/prohibit any sexism and trivialisation of violence against women and girls in the media. The Caucus supports amendment s ter) and s quat).

9. The Caucus calls for measures to ensure that all workplaces are free of exploitation, violence, harassment and sexual harassment, in collaboration with unions. The Caucus supports para 10, y, y bis and m ter.

10. The Caucus stresses the need for well-funded, sustainable, accessible and non-discriminatory multisectoral public services to respond to all forms of violence against women and girls. The Caucus supports para aa) and ee).

11. The Caucus would like to see ‘cyber-violence’ and ‘sexting’ mentioned as specific forms of violence against girls, as well as sexual harassment and violence against girls in formal and informal educational settings.

12. The Caucus demands that the post-2015 development agenda includes goals, clear targets and indicators for the realisation of gender equality and the elimination of violence against women and girls. We strongly support para 14.

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