The Campaign for Stronger Gender Equality Architecture Reform (GEAR) called for the creation of a centralized UN women’s agency last week. The activist groups leading the campaign include Amnesty International, Center for Women’s Global Leadership, International Planned Parenthood Federation, and Women’s Environment and Development Organization. The campaign was launched last week during the 52nd Commission on the Status of Women, which ends on March 7. Kiani was still stoned to death on July 5, 2007. Ebrahimi’s death was stayed due to the public outcry, and last week the Iranian judiciary amnesty commission released her from prison.
The GEAR statement to the Commission said that although the UN has made considerable contributions to women’s rights, it “lacks an effective mechanism to deliver on many of the essential commitments made. It has several small under-resourced agencies focused exclusively on women’s issues and other larger agencies make critical contributions to women’s human rights and gender equality, but it is still usually a small part of their mandate, and often receives low priority.” Women’s eNews reports that in 2006, the total amount of money for divisions of UN agencies that focus on women was $65 million. However, the budget of UNICEF was over $2 billion.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon unveiled his campaign to end violence against women at the Commission last week. Charlotte Bunch, the executive director of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University, told Women’s eNews, “If there was a stronger gender entity, the UN would have been able to take decisive action and coordinate an institutional response [against gender violence] more quickly.”