The United Nations is currently holding the 47th session of its Commission on the Status of Women in New York City. Feride Acar, Chairperson of the Committee on CEDAW, the women’s rights treaty, said, “No country in the world has fully implemented the human rights of women.” “CEDAW is one of our most important tools for combating inequality and discrimination against women worldwide,” said Norma Gattsek, Feminist Majority Foundation representative at the UN session.
Speaking on the important trends and issues in the implementation of CEDAW, Acar said that the CEDAW Committee has observed that neo-nazism and neo-fascism and the resurgence of ethnic nationalism and religious fundamentalism “target women of such groups as [the] most likely preys of their oppression and aggression.” Acar also said, “We are now able to see clearly that [in] societies with different levels of economic development and cultural backgrounds, temporary special measures such as incentives and quotas have been uniquely effective in promoting women’s participation in politics and decision-making positions as well as in the economy. In others premature removal of quotas has resulted in reduced numbers of women in such positions.”
In addition to the Commission’s session on Violence Against Women, The NGO Committee on the Commission on the Status of Women held a panel discussion yesterday on “Reproductive Rights as a Tool Against Gender Based Violence.” Issues such as forced sterilization of Roma women in Slovakia, the imprisonment of Nepali women for having abortions, and women’s lack of access to family planning in Mali were discussed in depth by the panel. One overriding theme to all of these talks was that the denial of a woman’s reproductive rights is an act of violence against women.
The Center for Reproductive Rights (formerly the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy) is urging people to sign a petition to support the release of over 50 women in prison in Nepal who are continuing to serve prison sentence for abortion and related offences, even though the government of Nepal recently decriminalized abortion. These women do not have the right to due process and are also living in appalling and inhumane conditions where they lack access to food and medical care, according to CRR.
TAKE ACTION Sign the online petition to release these women