WG-USA at CSW 57
We met, we listened, we presented, we discussed, we networked, we tweeted and blogged, we persuaded, we negotiated, but most of all we tried to accomplish the impossible at the United Nations in New York City in March.
More than 6,000 registrants and representatives from NGOs (non-governmental organizations) from 131 nations came together in an effort to provide solidarity for women’s empowerment globally. In spite of objections from certain regions of the globe that nearly prevented it from happening, the 131 nations, at the final moments of the Commission on the Status of Women 57 (CSW57), signed the document of agreed statements on the CSW 57 theme, Elimination of Violence Against Women. This document reaffirms that women and men have the right to enjoy all human rights "on an equal basis," recommits governments to comprehensive sex education, calls for sexual and reproductive health services such as emergency contraception and safe abortion for victims of violence, and calls on government to criminalize violence against women and punish gender-related killings.
Terri Robl, the U.S. deputy representative to the U.N. Economic and Social Council, called the agreement an important step but said the text is "only a beginning." While the document is not legally binding, Britain's U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said "it sets a certain standard by which all member states can monitor their performance and can be monitored by others."
The final document can be downloaded from the link on WG-USA home page, www.wg-usa.org, under CSW57.
WG-USA had members in attendance at CSW57 representing various NGOs several of whom made presentations at parallel events including the WG-USA parallel event on Unarmed Civilian Peace Keeping, which was well-attended, and the CFUW/WG-USA panel on Not-State Actor Torture. Links to these presentations will be available soon on our website. Reports from members attending sessions will also be available.
As one member wrote to another during the first week, “It is invigorating to hear from other women and listen to what they are doing in their countries to affect change.”