Posted on 30 January 2014
In this edition of U-Talk we hear both sides of the debate argument on abortion
Julie in Paris asks: “The U-turn by the Spanish government on abortion is seen by some as a backwards step for womens’ rights in Europe. What do you think?”
The first response is from Virginie Mercier of the French- based anti-abortion campaign March for Life.
“The issue of abortion is not only about women’s rights but it’s about the right of the unborn child. The child in utero already has his/her own freedom, his/her own body and his/her freedom to live,’‘ Mercier said.
“So, I think that this is not only a question of women’s rights and in that respect, the Spanish reform project is far from being a step back. On the contrary it really is progress for humanity because it’s about the recognition of the humanity of the child conceived in utero.
“Any scientist will tell you that there is life right from conception. Our group is campaigning for zero abortion, because as soon as there is a human life, it’s not acceptable to recognise the right to take human life. We are asking the French government to put in place a real policy to foster and to help pregnant women in need that differs from the current systematic recourse to abortion.
“So, we’re seeking the abrogation of the current French law on abortion and we demand new measures for the welfare of children,” Mercier concluded.
Countering those arguments Viviane Teitelbaum, president of the European Women’s Lobby said: “Today the issue of sexual and reproductive rights and therefore in that context, the right to abortion is a democratic issue.
“For me it goes far beyond the choice of women as it relates to democratic values…… and the very concept of gender equality. Therefore the right to abortion should remain a choice.
The proposed reform of the law in Spain is a step back, it’s not a small step back, this is a very significant step back. In the meantime, the European Parliament has decided that abortion should remain an issue for national governments and the EP will not legislate on this issue.
“An embryo of a few weeks is not a child who chooses to live or not. There’s no question about that. But we do believe that we must protect life and to do so, we have to start by protecting the lives of those who already live.
“And this should lead us to think about the importance of sexual and emotional education. We have to think about contraception as well. Of course, this is not an easy choice that’s why women have to b healthy and in good physical condition, they have to be supported in their choices. That’s what we want,” Teitelbaum said.
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Posted on 30 January 2014
Posted on 10 October 2013
Maurizio Molinari, writes here for Equal Times, an online publication following an interview conducted at the EWL with Policy Officer and Campaign Coordinator Pierrette Pape and Anna Bates, EWL Communications and Media Officer.
Maurizio Molinari for Equal Times
The European Women’s Lobby was joined by a coalition of 53 MEPs last week to call for an end to what they describe as “an obstacle to equality between women and men and a violation of human rights”.
This obstacle is prostitution and the EWL’s campaign, ‘Together for a Europe Free from Prostitution’ has so far attracted the support of around 200 organisations in 32 countries since launching in December 2012.
EWL has stressed that it does not mean to criminalise sex workers, but is instead calling on EU member states to crack down on those who enable prostitution: pimps, traffickers – and clients.
Other recommendations include the development of alternatives and exit programmes for sex workers, the prohibition of the purchase sexual acts, public awareness and education, prevention policies in the countries of origins of trafficked women and the promotion of equality and positive sexuality.
“We believe that, for the overwhelming majority, women don’t choose prostitution,” says Pierrette Pape, Campaign Coordinator for the EWL. “Otherwise why would one need, even in countries where prostitution is legalised, exit strategies?
For this reason, Pape says there is no middle ground when it comes to tackling something that the EWL considers a form of abuse.
“In the EU there are two opposite approaches to prostitution: regulationism, in countries such as Germany and the Netherlands, where prostitution is decriminalised; and abolitionism, implemented in Sweden, Norway and Iceland, where pimps and prostitute users are prosecuted.
“We are all in favour of the latter, as it’s crystal clear that prostitution is, at the end of the day, a form of violence against women.”
This hardline stance is completely rejected by the International Union of Sex Workers, a UK-based trade union affiliated with the GMB (the general workers’ union).
In an open letter to the EWL published at the beginning of October, IUSW accuses the organisation of showing “a total disregard for the lives of women in the sex industry.
“Criminalising clients will not stop prostitution, nor will it stop the criminalisation of women. But it will make more dangerous and stigmatising for those of us who work as prostitutes.”
The IUSW also accuses the EWL of perpetuating a number of false convictions on prostitution without taking the opinions of sex workers into account.
But the EWL says that it is working to dismantle the twin myths of the ‘happy prostitute’ and the idea that legalising prostitution serves as a silver bullet to the problems it poses.
“If there are happy prostitutes,” says Pape, “they are a tiny minority, and laws should be beneficial to society at large.”
“As far as decriminalisation is concerned, we’ve seen how the Dutch model does not work, and only produces more crime and more exploitation.”
According to figures quoted by the EWL, 80 to 95 per cent of women working as prostitutes suffered some form of violence beforehand, such as rape, incest or paedophilia.
EWL also claims that nine out of ten prostitutes would like to stop but don’t know how to leave.
But the IUSW refutes this claim, charging that the statistics quoted by the EWL were not peer reviewed and come from unreliable sources.
With regards to the role of the European Union, Pape is calling on member states to “take a joint position to put an end to this plague.”
She refers to Article 83 of the Treaty of Lisbon and to the 1949 UN Convention for the suppression of the traffic in persons and of the exploitation of the prostitution of others as legal grounds for action.
“Eighteen member states have already signed the convention but when we talk about effective implementation it’s a different story,” she says.
Posted on 10 October 2013
Policymakers show “lack of political will” to tackle root cause of sex trafficking By Cécile Gréboval - 9th October 2013 The Parliament Magazine
" The average woman in prostitution is between 18 and 20 years of age, trafficked from Romania, fearful of recourse to the police; pimps lead their ’businesses’ like any other entrepreneurs, and the purchase of sex is just like any other trade market"
Prostitution is a form of violence against women and must be treated as such, writes Cécile Gréboval.
The grim reality of prostitution and its inextricable links with trafficking were highlighted in a seminar organised by the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) in the European parliament on 1 October.
This timely seminar was organised in advance of parliament’s women’s rights and gender equality committee vote on the ’prostitution, sexual exploitation and their impact on gender equality’ report.
While recent Eurostat figures confirm that women and girls represent 96 per cent of victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation, there is a lack of political attention and will to examine the root cause for such trafficking: prostitution.
Examining EU member states, Sweden and Germany have developed opposite legislation on prostitution, with the same aim of tackling trafficking and organised crime. During the EWL seminar, police officers from both countries shared their insights into the effectiveness of the contrasting policy models in place in each country.
Germany embraced a ’practical’ approach in 2000, aimed at controlling the system of prostitution by decriminalising procuring and encouraging the integration of women in prostitution into the regular labour-market.
The protection of the rights of prostituted persons while clearing the way for a targeted crackdown on organised crime was central to this stance. At the same time, Sweden, inspired by a more human rights-based analysis, viewed prostituted persons as victims entitled to specialised support, by mobilising political will to tackle demand (by banning the purchase of sex) to render supply redundant and eliminate the primary root cause for both prostitution and trafficking.
According to chief superintendent Helmut Sporer, from Augsburg’s criminal investigation department in Germany, the normalisation of prostitution has increased the vulnerability of prostituted persons, while transforming Germany into a popular sex tourism destination.
The average woman in prostitution is between 18 and 20 years of age, trafficked from Romania, fearful of recourse to the police; pimps lead their ’businesses’ like any other entrepreneurs, and the purchase of sex is just like any other trade market.
Sweden meanwhile, has halved street prostitution in 13 years without increases in more hidden forms of exploitation; the numbers of men who purchase sex has dropped by almost half, and the population’s support for the law, initially a meagre 30 per cent, has risen to 70 per cent.
It is time to take these lessons on board. Over 50 MEPs signed our call for action at the European level on 1 October, framing prostitution as a form of violence against women which needs to be treated as such.
It is also time to listen to survivors, who from bitter experience shared this insight; "What is bought and sold in prostitution is not sex. It is sexual abuse. Prostitution is the commercialisation of sexual abuse".
Cécile Gréboval is secretary general of the European Women’s Lobby
Posted on 27 September 2013
A group of MEPs and NGOs have issued a call for gender, economy and ecology perspectives to be included in the UN’s new sustainable development goals (SDGs).
It is essential that the analysis and recommendations from the perspective of civil-society environmental and women’s rights organisations are taken into account when governments and UN agencies are preparing their priorities for a framework of goals and targets for development following the Rio+20 summit in June 2012, as well as the post-2015 follow-up of the millennium development goals.
Well before 1992, and the now-famous Earth summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, women’s groups in every region of the world have been leading work on all areas that contribute to sustainable development - social, environmental and economic - particularly focusing on gender equality and human rights. However, 20 years after Rio there has been far too little progress. In 2015, the United Nations will adopt a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs), thus establishing the broad framework for the global development agenda for the next few decades.
The recent high level panel of eminent persons’ report of the post-2015 development agenda shows a heightened and disturbing reorientation of development toward the interests and priorities of corporations, further marginalising and minimising the concerns of women all over the world, as well as their communities. In this period of economic and financial crisis, as well as other crises of human rights violations, militarism, food, fuel, climate change and environmental degradation, the influence of transnational corporations has never been as strong nor as networked in its resolve to protect profits above all else, and preserve structural inequalities that secure such gains.
The current economic system creates greater inequalities. While the wealthy consume more natural resources and are responsible for increasing levels of environmental damage, the poor are suffering from degradation of their agricultural land, forests, water supplies and biodiversity, and alteration of natural weather cycles due to climate change. Too much public funding goes to perverse subsidies for unsustainable and speculative activities such as the fossil fuel and nuclear energy sector. In times of economic crisis, austerity measures are often a greater burden on women than on men. Current prices of natural resources, energy and consumer products do not include externalities or future costs. The current economic decision making is too short-term; long-term benefits are not valued. Military budgets and tax-spending for bailing out banks are taking away necessary funding for social development and environmental protection.
Women form the majority of the world’s poor. The root causes of this unequal access to the world’s wealth are both economic and cultural. These causes are also embedded in deeply rooted patterns of discrimination, causing women to receive lower wages, own less property, and be more vulnerable to the hardships of poverty and environmental degradation. Sustainable development and women’s equal and full participation in society and economy is only possible when all women’s rights are ensured, including sexual and reproductive rights. All adolescent girls and boys, women and men should have the knowledge and the skills to know their bodies and their rights, negotiate sexual and reproductive decision making, access to health services, and be able to live free from violence and discrimination.
The contribution of nature and ecosystems, as well as unpaid care work, remains invisible in nations’ GDP. Intact ecosystems assure the survival of the poorest people, who depend for up to 70 per cent of their livelihoods on functioning ecosystems. Given women’s unequal care responsibilities their dependence on natural resources for survival in the form of water and wood gathering for their households in rural and urban poor contexts makes them more vulnerable to the depletion of natural resources. For example, if rivers are dried up, women and girls in poverty have to walk longer distances to collect water for their families. Therefore it is integral to include the integration between struggling against gender inequalities, ecological degradation and economic growth in both the new SDGs and in all climate action plans that are adopted.
Gender+E3 is an informal working group in the European parliament, composed of MEPs and NGOs within the field of gender, environment, economy and ecology. We understand that fighting gender inequalities is a crucial part for reaching a sustainable ecological and economic development. It is our greatest hope that the new sustainable development goals will recognise these issues. It is time to demand the integration of gender, ecology and economy.
Posted on 20 September 2013
[Brussels 20 September 2013] The case of the pimp called ’Dodo la Saumure’ has gripped Belgium, with the person at the centre of the case requesting that his human rights be respected. On Thursday 19 September, he was interviewed to defend his case, pretexting that the absence of strong Belgian policy against pimping should be an argument to not convict him. EWL Policy Officer Pierrette Pape has been interviewed to react to his words, and spoke on the RTBF news on Thursday evening.
Should you wish to follow the arguments presented by EWL Policy Officer and Project Coordinator Pierrette Pape, you can watch the interview online here.
Today, the Belgian court has confirmed the conviction of Dodo la Saumure as a pimp. Read the Belgian news here.
Posted on 19 September 2013
(17 September 2013) On the occasion of two major recent reports reviewing trends and progress on health inequalities in Europe – by the European Commission and the WHO Regional Office for Europe – the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) and its partners are calling for urgent and concerted action among all relevant actors to close the huge, persistent and growing health divide between the richest and the poorest in our societies. Despite this issue being high on political agendas for the last 10 years, only meagre progress has been achieved and in many cases the inequalities have been growing, partly due to the consequences of deliberate political actions in response to the economic crisis.
Gaps in life expectancy for both men and women narrowed over the last decade mainly due to a decline in infant mortality – but there still remains a significant difference between how long people live and how much of their years lived are spent in health (healthy life expectancy). In fact, the latest figures show that there are twice as many years lost due to ill health or premature death in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries in Europe.
“Why must anyone suffer only because he or she was born and has lived on the ‘wrong’ side of Europe?,” questioned Joanne Vincenten, Secretary General of the European Child Safety Alliance. “Increasing inequalities in living conditions are seen everywhere, even in more affluent societies. Take the example of Belgium where Medicins du Monde reports the alarming fact that today, in the 21st century, only 6% of Roma children living in Brussels, the capital of Europe, are vaccinated. And from our own work, injury and accidents for children already create the greatest inequity for children’s health and the growing economic divide likely means it will get worse,” added Ms Vincenten.
Both reports on health inequalities come timely to carry on key messages from EPHA’s 4th Annual Conference “Brave New World: inclusive growth and well-being or vested interests and lost generation?” which highlighted that “European decision-makers have – so far – failed to ensure that people living in Europe, their health and well-being are sufficiently protected and promoted, and that good and democratic economic governance is the tool to address it.”
This call from the public health community, social actors and ordinary people, is in stark contrast in their urgency to lack of sufficient attention to these issues in the State of the European Union address given by the President Barroso on the on 11 September – just months after the Citizens’ Summit, for the first time in the 60 years since creation of the EU, managed to channel Europeans’ voices and concerns into concrete, urgent demands directed to EU leaders, including Mr Barroso. Unsurprisingly therefore, serious questions are raised about the ability of the current political leadership in the EU to listen to and tackle the issues at the foremost of the minds of people living in Europe, and the consequent erosion of trust in Europe, its institutions and leadership.
“In the aftermath of the crisis, public spending on health services has reduced significantly in member states. Reductions in the availability and affordability of healthcare have gendered consequences, because women use these services to a higher extent than men. In addition, they may affect the gendered division of paid an unpaid labour to the disadvantage of women, whereby women are forced to cover for the lack of services. This trend has impacts not only in terms of health and health inequalities, but also on long term trends in relation to gender equality and well-being,” said Cécile Gréboval, Secretary General of the European Women’s Lobby.
Since the onset of the financial and subsequent economic crisis, a quake of dreadful social and health consequences has shaken European societies putting our fundamental rights and values into question, rights such as access to healthcare services and medicines or our right to water and sanitation, not to mention the impact on suicides, mental health, families and children and the dignity of those who are being pushed into poverty, exclusion and inability to participate in democratic processes affecting their living conditions. As a recent study (4) suggests, the views and preferences of rich Europeans are more likely to be reflected and fought for by political parties than those of poorer citizens.
“If we want to be serious and break up this stagnation in progress on closing the unjustified and preventable gap in health status between our richest and our poorest members of society, this is the moment to strike. The current economic situation should be an opportunity for change and bold visions, not inactivity and more of the same game,” said EPHA Secretary-General Monika Kosińska. “We know what the root causes that bring about health inequalities are and we must demand the leadership and commitment from our political decision-makers to transform nice words into hard actions, good governance and inclusive economic progress.We know the problem, the causes and the solutions – the real question is the political failure to do what’s needed,” Kosińska concluded.
Posted on 9 September 2013
(31 May 2013) Predsjednik Republike Ivo Josipović primio je danas izaslanstvo Europskoga ženskog lobija (EWL), najveće ženske mreže u Europi koja u Europskom parlamentu radi na promoviranju ženskih prava i ravnopravnosti među spolovima, a u Zagrebu održava godišnju skupštinu.
Lobi obuhvaća ženske udruge u svih 27 zemalja članica i tri zemlje kandidatkinje, kao i u 20 europskih tijela i predstavlja više od 2000 organizacija. Od svog osnivanja EWL se bori protiv nasilja nad ženama na europskoj, odnosno nacionalnoj razini, a zalaže se da 2016. postane Europska godina prestanka nasilja nad ženama.
Dajući potporu radu EWL-a, Josipović je naglasio važnost ravnopravnosti žena u društvu kao i važnost borbe protiv nasilja nad ženama kazavši kako je to jedan od ciljeva i hrvatske politike. No, upozorio je, nažalost, u dijelu društva i dalje postoje primjeri diskriminacije i nasilja prema ženama.
Na prijemu je zahvalila predsjednica EWL-a Viviane Teitelbaum te naglasila da 80 izaslanica Lobija iz 33 zemlje borave u Zagrebu na godišnjoj skupštini na inicijativu Rade Borić, potpredsjednice EWL-a i nacionalne koordinatorice za Hrvatsku, a u povodu ulaska Hrvatske u Europsku uniju.
Skupština EWL se održava pod visokim pokroviteljstvom Predsjednika Republike kojem je predsjednica EWL-a u znak zahvalnosti za podršku koju pruža radu Lobija poklonila šalicu i pregaču.
EWL se zalaže i za veću uključenost žena u politički život i procese odlučivanja, a cilj je povećanje broja ženskih predstavnica u europskim institucijama, kao i stavljanje pitanja ženskih prava i spolne ravnopravnosti visoko na agendu Europske unije.
Lobi se zalaže i za razvoj unutarstranačke demokracije u svim političkim strankama, o čemu je objavljena i zajednička deklaracija koju su potpisale članice EWL-a i zastupnice u Europskom parlamentu.
Cilj je 50-postotna zastupljenost žena u EU parlamentu i europskim institucijama, u odnosu na sadašnju 35-postotnu zastupljenost žena.
EWL se ove godine, 14. veljače pridružio i kampanji "One billion rising" i organizirao skup u Bruxellesu, na kojem je sudjelovalo više od tisuću aktivistkinja koje se, kao i u Hrvatskoj te diljem svijeta, plesale protiv nasilja nad ženama.
Lobi se zalaže za implementaciju Istanbulske konvencije Vijeća Europe o ženama koja se bavi prevencijom obiteljskog nasilja i pružanja adekvatne zaštite žrtvama.
U lipnju planiraju objaviti EWL barometar o nasilju nad ženama u zemljama članicama i organizirati različite aktivnosti i seminare kako bi podigli svijest o problemu nasilja, osobito onog seksualnog te upozorile članice na potrebu promjene legislative u skladu s Istanbulskom konvencijom.
Posted on 9 September 2013
Europski ženski lobi zastupa interese žena promocijom ženskih prava i jednakosti žena i muškaraca u EU
EWL čini više od 2.000 organizacija iz 30 zemalja – predstavnica 27 sadašnjih članica EU-a te Hrvatske, Makedonije i Turske.
Europski ženski lobi zastupa interese žena promocijom ženskih prava i jednakosti žena i muškaraca u EU i zemljama koje su na putu ulaska u punopravno članstvo EU-a. Zagreb je kao mjesto održavanja Skupštine izabran na prijedlog Ženske mreže Hrvatske, članice EWL-a, a time je dana podrška skorašnjem ulaska Republike Hrvatske u Europsku uniju. Na zasjedanju Skupštine Europskog ženskog lobija u Zagrebu bit će preko 100 delegatkinja.
Predsjednik Republike Ivo Josipović upriličit će prijam za sudionice Godišnje skupštine Europskog ženskog lobija (EWL), a Pravobraniteljica za ravnopravnost spolova Višnja Ljubičić pozdravit će sudionice Skupštine, istaknula je Rada Borić, potpredsjednica Europskog ženskog lobija.
See more at: http://www.civilnodrustvo.hr/index....
Posted on 27 August 2013
(Brussels 27 August) Rada Borić, EWL
Najveća mreža europskih ženskih organizacija Europski ženski lobi treba pomoć građanki i građana kako bi mogao nastaviti s radom.
Naime, ekonomska kriza u Europi trostruko je pogodila žene - smanjivanjem broja zaposlenih/poslova u sektorima u kojima dominiraju žene, ukidanjem socijalnih prava, pa slijedom toga pogođena su i tijela/mehanizmi za promicanje rodne ravnopravnosti.
"Europski ženski lobi je od svojega osnutka većim dijelom bio sufinanciran (do 80 posto ponekad) od Europske komisije, koja, iako od Lobija, ali i od drugih koji dobivaju grantove, zahtjeva strogo poštivanje rokova, sama kasni s dodjelom sredstava čak i kada su ona odobrena. Stoga, Lobi se morao i zaduživati. Tako su godinama rasli i troškovi, a adekvatan fond za financiranje Lobija nije lako jer je ipak riječ o mreži organizacija. Lobi sada čeka odgovor Komisije kako će izgledati financiranje za sljedeću godinu, i bojimo se da će biti ’rezova’", kazala je potpredsjednica Europskog ženskog lobija Rada Borić za Libelu.
Dakle, kako bi Europski ženski lobi mogao nastaviti s radom na zaštiti i promociji ženskih prava, posebice u zahtjevima za jedinstvenim europskim dokumentima koji sprječavaju i sankcioniraju nasilje nad ženama, zahtijevaju ’jednake plaće za jednaki rad’, dobre migracijske politike, ravnomjernu zastupljenost žena u politici i mnoge druge relevantne aktivnosti, EWL treba financijsku pomoć građana i građanki, budući da je adekvatna financijska podrška izostala od institucija.
"Postani ’prijateljica’ ili ’prijatelj’ Lobija! I mala uplata se računa. S 5, 10 ili 20 eura omogućit će nastavak rada Mreže koja je već bezbroj puta pokazala važnost za očuvanje i promociju ženskih prava u Europi i dala podršku ženama u Hrvatskoj", napisano je u priopćenju.
Članak je nastao u okviru projekta Europske mogućnosti za ruralne žene koji provodi CESI – Centar za edukaciju, savjetovanje i istraživanje u partnerstvu sa Udrugom žena Hera, Prostorom rodne i medijske kulture K-zona i Radijom Kaj. Projekt financira Europska Unija u okviru IPA INFO 2012. Mišljenja i stavovi izneseni u ovom članku ne izražavaju mišljenje i stavove Europske unije.
Tagovi: civilno društvo, europska komisija, europska unija, europski ženski lobi, financiranje, rada borić, sredstva, ženska ljudska prava