Leading women’s rights and human rights leaders are calling on the Bush Administration to reaffirm the historic women’s rights platform that is currently being reviewed at the United Nations. Ten years ago at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, the Platform of Action on Women’s Rights was signed by 189 countries. On the excuse of introducing the following amendment “while reaffirming that they do not create any new international human rights, and that they do not include the right to abortion,” the US now threatens to delay reaffirmation of the entire Platform of Action.
“The U.S. should reaffirm, not retreat from, women’s rights and equality,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority. “Globally, this is about saving women’s lives.” Women’s rights and human rights leaders see the US stance against unequivocally reaffirming the platform as going against the administration’s rhetoric supporting women’s rights in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Platform of Action committed governments to protect women’s freedom of political participation and access to education, employments, and health care, and to protect their human rights.