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Commission on the Status of Women 2013: European and North American NGOs present second common position on the draft conclusions - 11 March 2013

[New York, 11 March 2013] A new draft of the conclusions on the elimination and prevention of violence against women and girls has been put forward yesterday by the facilitator of the official negotiations between national delegations at the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). European and North American NGOs gathered again in New York as a caucus and delivered their common position on this new state of play of the draft conclusions, while sharing concerns and highlighting progress. Here is their position, where they highlighted 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 also download the position here.

Position of the Europe and North America NGO Caucus of 11 March 2013

CSW draft Agreed Conclusions version 10 March 2013 rev3

1. The Caucus asks all Member States to strongly reaffirm and strengthen their commitment to all existing international and regional instruments, and implement them at national level, 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. The Caucus welcomes the definition of violence against women as stated in the new para 4 supra.

2. The Caucus calls on all Member States to stop invoking any custom, tradition or religious considerations and ensure a consistent protection of women’s human rights throughout the world, with no exception. The Caucus therefore supports para 7, 7 bis, and p alt which lists many forms of violence against women and girls, including torture and child, early and forced marriage. In this respect, the Caucus strongly opposes proposed para 7 ter and 12 quin which are in complete contradiction with the goal of CSW, as they condition the realisation of commitments to the sovereignty of Member States and their various cultural and religious backgrounds.

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 para 3 quat., bb and gg. The Caucus welcomes the new para from Qatar but would like to see all women with disabilities being considered, not only girls.

4. The Caucus calls on all Member States to acknowledge the diversity of families and welcomes para n quat which should ‘strengthen all families’ and ‘promote the significant roles of the families’ in preventing violence against women.

5. The Caucus welcomes the use of agreed language in the conclusions regarding prostitution as a form of violence against women, referring to 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”. The Caucus therefore welcomes the framing ‘women and girls in prostitution’, as used in para 5 and bb. Indeed, 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 trafficking and prostitution. In this perspective, the Caucus would like to see Member States ‘take measures to address the root factors that encourage trafficking and prostitution’, in para p alt bis.

6. 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. The Caucus supports para n, o, n bis, 9 quat. In particular, the Caucus supports the reference to ‘comprehensive sexuality education’ in para t cleaned up. It also supports para ee bis which asks for access to all contraceptive methods. It supports para dd which asks for emergency contraception, safe abortion, and forensic examinations ‘for those women who might pursue legal action’. Finally, the Caucus supports para w which stresses the importance of engaging men and boys in taking responsibility for their sexual and reproductive behaviour.

7. 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 therefore welcomes and supports para c bis, ee and 5 bis.

8. The Caucus also recalls that UN agreed language is “violations” of women’s human rights and not “abuses” of human rights. The Caucus supports new para 7 sext supra and b ter on feminicide/femicide.

9. The Caucus calls on Member States to reaffirm and strengthen the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, and the UNSCRs 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. The Caucus therefore supports para 2 ter, 3 bis, d, d quat and d quin. The Caucus calls on the Member States to reaffirm the UN Charter’s objective to rid the world of the scourge of war, and therefore supports para 12 quat.

10. 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 therefore supports para s and s quin, which specifically address cyber stalking and cyber bullying.

11. 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, 11 bis, y and m ter. The Caucus also calls for measures to eradicate sexual harassment and violence against girls in formal and informal educational settings, and for codes of conducts to be implemented towards education professionals and included into para t ter. The Caucus urges Member States to invest in accessible quality public services, as states in para l.

12. 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.

13. The Caucus stresses the need to work in partnership with women’s organisations and supports para 10, 10 supra, t cleaned up and q.

14. The Caucus demands that the post-2015 development agenda includes gender equality as a stand-alone goal as well as a mainstreamed issue in all the agenda, and demands goals, clear targets and indicators for the realisation of gender equality and the elimination of violence against women and girls. The Caucus strongly supports para 14 and 6 bis.

15. Finally, the Caucus calls on all Member States to support and protect those who defend the rights of women and women human rights defenders, and therefore strongly supports para k ter.

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