For Immediate Release

June 12, 2000

Feminist Majority Foundation Participates in Beijing +5

The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) joined hundreds of NGOs and women’s rights leaders from around the world at the United Nations Special Session of the General Assembly entitled Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the Twenty-First Century (Beijing +5) in New York last week.

FMF International Campaign Organizer, Ossai Miazad, and Afghan Refugee Giti Shams kicked off the Beijing +5 Conference during the opening Welcome Rally at the United Nations Plaza by addressing the crisis facing Afghan women and girls. Thousands of swatches, distributed by FMF, were worn by speakers and participants to raise awareness of the Feminist Majority Foundation’s Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan throughout the special session events.

The Feminist Majority Foundation organized several cutting-edge sessions for NGOs during Beijing +5. Cherreka Montgomery, Director of Global Outreach, spoke at the Tuesday, June 6th session entitled Faces of Extremism: Countering Right Wing Attacks on the Human Rights of Women Worldwide to encourage women’s rights activists to be aware of the many forms of extremism and to know that not all extremists carry guns or are found in Islamic countries.

On Wednesday, June 7th, just a day after news broke on the FDA’s proposal to restrict mifepristone, the Feminist Majority Foundation held the only session about mifepristone entitled The Fight for Mifepristone (RU486): Making a Medical Breakthrough Available to Women Worldwide. FMF President Eleanor Smeal stressed the importance of making mifepristone available to women in the United States without encumbering restrictions that would limit access.

A concurrent session titled Oil, Drugs and Corruption: Measuring Their Impact on the Lives of Women and Foreign Policy, took place on Wednesday afternoon and focused on Afghanistan, Burma and Sierra Leone. A link was established between oil pipelines, diamond mining, drug trade and human rights violations against women and girls. The panelists encouraged activists at all levels to be well informed, and insist that corporations maintain a level of human rights sensibility as they invest abroad.

The National Council for Research on Women’s closing plenary in their four-day conference “Women and Globalization” featured FMF President Eleanor Smeal who shared her ideas in Carrying the Movement Forward. She spoke on key issues such as mifepristone, the Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan, and other emerging issues affecting the mobilization of women’s rights worldwide.

FMF’s final session represented the only Beijing +5 meeting held to solely discuss the ongoing crisis for women and girls in Afghanistan. A special screening of Shroud of Silence set the tone for a very provocative discussion on humanitarian aid and foreign policy matters. The discussion featured Feminist Majority Foundation strategies to restore women and girls’ basic human rights, access to healthcare, education and employment.

For action kits to help Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan, visit FMF’s Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan. And to learn more about mifepristone, visit our Reproductive Rights website.

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