[PDHRE logo]
People's Decade of Human Rights Education
PDHRE Home

Hot Topics

Globalization: Human Rights in Trade & Investment

Seminars on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Build a Human Rights Community!

 

Organization Overview & Activities Report 1995-2000

Human Rights Conventions: Summaries

About PDHRE

Current Projects

Sharing Methodology & Learning Materials

Dialogue & Discourse

Get Involved!


Related Links

PASSPORT TO DIGNITY

 

CHAPTER II

THE BEIJING PLATFORM FOR ACTION: CONCERNS, STANDARDS AND GOALS


In a few weeks, the leaders of the world will meet at United Nations Headquarters in a summit of heads of State and government. There they will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. 

As the world celebrates this anniversary, let us work together to ensure that the equal rights of men and women, enshrined in the Charter, become a reality.

Let us work together to implement the Platform for Action adopted here at Beijing. Let us tell the world -- and let us tell it with pride: The empowerment of women is the empowerment of all humanity!

(Boutros Boutros-Ghali Letter to the Fourth World Conference on Women- communiqué from UN Information Center Sidney, Australia - ref.# SG/SM/5732 WOM/869 18 September 1995 )


Women as the Driving Force of the Agenda

The history of women's rights as human rights is a prime example of the development and achievements of non-governmental activism. Non-governmental women’s organizations provided the soil and feeding ground within which important issues were able to mature and bear fruit. This informal activity was absolutely essential, and often revolutionary in its consequences. But progress in non-governmental activity for human rights is reinforced by the individual states meeting their international obligations within their specific domestic contexts. In a global environment that has tended to weaken the national states, solid achievements still depend on the active interaction between the states and civil societies for the protection and enhancement of women's human rights.

The international standards articulated in the human rights instruments constitute the norms by which international society should conduct its affairs, States should relate to their citizens, and people should relate to each other. The UN member states agreed to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPFA) at the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing (the Beijing Conference, intending it as a tool to facilitate the application and implementation of existing international norms and standards in the realization of the human rights of women.

The Beijing Platform is possibly the most comprehensive articulation ever of governments' commitments to the human rights of women and girls. While it did not establish any new rights, its power resides instead in the way it explicitly refers to fifty years’ of accumulated human rights principles and standards, and especially looks for ways to give them full force. When the Beijing Platform For Action " reaffirms that all human rights-civil, cultural, economic, political and social, including the right to development -- are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated..." (BPFA, Chap. IV, para. 213) it says nothing new. But it breaks new ground in its affirmation that "the human rights of women and of the girl child are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights." (Ibid.) and that their protection must be a top priority of States regardless of political, economic and cultural systems, with national and regional particularities, historical, religious and cultural and religious background playing a secondary role.

Furthermore, the Beijing process is one to which hundreds of thousands of activists worldwide contributed locally and globally. The event in Beijing was important and its importance was highlighted by the amount of media attention it received. But from the point of view of women all around the world, the gathering of women’s non-governmental organizations on the outskirts of Beijing in Hairou was the most important event, for during the years between the Vienna Conference and the Beijing Conference, the world was witness to an unprecedented international mobilization by the grassroots for the promotion, protection and implementation of women’s human rights.

The central purpose of the BPFA, which was decided by the governmental meeting, is women’s empowerment, i.e., identifying and overcoming the barriers that prevent women's full enjoyment of universal human rights. These barriers may be:

• Economic structures,

• Political practices,

• Social institutions or processes and

• Cultural traditions.

The BPFA declares any and all of these barriers to be in violation of the standards of human rights, international law and the Charter of the United Nations, and sets concrete goals for governments to aim towards removing these barriers.

The BPFA acknowledges that, despite the efforts of the International Decade for Women and the goals set by the Nairobi Forward Looking Strategies (1985),

"... much, much more remains to be done. While women have made significant advances in many societies, women's concerns are still given second priority almost everywhere. Women face discrimination and marginalization in subtle as well as flagrant ways..."

(Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Translating the momentum into action- Introduction to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, United Nations Department of Public Information, New York, 1996)

Boutros-Ghali described the landmark document as the product of "(the) women of the world (who) have been the driving force (shaping) this agenda and (moving) it forward". It was an intense global process involving women of all countries, all classes, all religions, all ages. 30,000 women attended the Beijing conference. Hundreds of thousands participated actively in the preparations. The BPFA relayed the vigorous and focused energies of a civil society that has been the propelling force of all contemporary human rights movements. The energy of this preparatory process was reflected in the tone and text of the Declaration and Platform, pointing definitively to an agenda for change that was demanded by the women who inspired and carried out the process.

The importance of the governmental meeting in Beijing was highlighted by the amount of media attention it received. But in some respects the gathering of women’s non governmental organizations in Hairou on the outskirts of Beijing was the most important event, for it was the expression and outflow of an unprecedented international mobilization of grassroots women for the celebration and promotion of their human rights.

Women’s Preparations For Beijing: The Example Of India

There is no doubt that the participation of civil society organizations accounted for the emphasis placed by the BPFA on women’s actual, daily lives, presenting equally mundane and daily –yet no less powerful– obstacles to their enjoyment of human rights. This emphasis is clear in the detailed exposition of the twelve areas of concern.

These articulate the unsolved problems, the nagging obstacles to women's equal enjoyment of human rights: these form the heart of the BPFA, its ‘Strategic Objectives and Actions’. In essence the BPFA is a highly specified strategic plan intended to lead to fundamental change in all areas of life.

One example of the process that led to this focus on daily lives is given in a special issue of Lokayan Bulletin (a described the two-year mobilization of grassroots activism in India. In December 1993 a group of donors in India provided funds for the setting up of a ‘Coordination Unit’ (CU) for Beijing. The CU’s brief was to set in motion a process by which participation from the grassroots could be ensured at the Beijing Conference, and women from all over – not just urban, middle class women – could have information about the Conference and provide input into it. The process thus set in motion was an unprecedented mobilization: in the short space of two years, several hundred meetings, dialogues, discussions, consultations, workshops were held all over the country on a wide range of issues. Many were in the nature of exploratory meetings: what, for example, did minority women, up till now invisible, feel about the current situation? How did they relate to other women and women’s groups in the country? What were the priorities and special needs of women from the northeastern states, an area torn apart by ethnic strife and state violence? What was the position of Dalit women and other women of "special categories"? This process produced a wealth of information and documentation that reflected the concerns of a wide range of women. It was perhaps the first time that such an exercise was carried out systematically. Equally for the first time, the perspective had shifted from the north, and voices of the south were heard in all their richness and variety in the documents.

In a village in Dumka district, Bihar women walked from over 10 kilometers from surrounding villages to participate in a meeting. They talked about the difficulties of collecting firewood and fodder, about the violence perpetrated on them by their families as well as by outsiders, about the insecurity of being thrown out of their husbands’ homes and lands, without a paisa to their name. "But we’re not just sitting and waiting for something to happen!" they said, "We have organized, formed collectives, protected the trees from being felled by contractors and planted trees ourselves"

(...)

Ramani Devi is a Maira-Paibi (torch-bearer) She travels around the strife-torn villages of Manipur, singing songs and bearing the torch of peace. " My son is missing for the last two years. But I have not given up my faith. It is peace that will bring change in our state, and it is women who will initiate this process."

(...)

In over eighty consultations held all over the country, women shared stories of struggle and survival. The meetings were at village, district and state levels... We had meetings in previously neglected or even alienated areas --- the North-East of our country, the hill districts of Himachal and Garhwhal, the desert, the coastline. The process of enabling the involvement and participation of women working at grassroots level.... has been historic and unprecedented. It has catalyzed initiatives in the ensuing months ... consultations (were held) at many different levels, with different forms of communication,

(...)

The constant challenge was to reach out information quickly and efficiently, bearing in mind that the entire exercise was to break new ground. A mundane and daunting task was to ... make the information available in an easy language and in formats that were easily understood by women from different backgrounds and experiences... to create a platform for different kinds of groups to come together to debate on issues and strategies, so as to lead to concrete action. Hence consultations at various levels, with different forms of communication, reaching out through cultural workshops and working through a participatory and group process.

(...)

Using "alternate" modes of communication was the key to outreach to grassroots women.(...) Searching for alternate media we planned several cultural jathas ( marches, celebrations) that would take the message from the hearts and voices of women through songs, skits, dances, around villages and towns throughout the country. These were forums for breaking language and other barriers, a chance for new creations. Through street theater, a different spirit entered into the process as women performed on the street corners of cities and at village squares.

(...)

The sammelans on tribal women, desert and hill women, dalits etc. were occasions for reflection and celebration.... Public hearings like the one on violence in Tamil Nadu or the one on fisherwomen in Kerala were testimonies of the different forms of violence experienced by women, not just physical, but also the impact of development policies, displacement, homelessness, loss of livelihoods... In these fora, thousands of women gathered to share in the preparatory process.

(...)

Consultations were held at village level, state level, national level and international level... the participation was ongoing...after the first round of consultations the issues began to take shape, areas were identified... more specific work began... participants were eager to know how others had addressed problems similar to theirs... eager to hear about the campaigns for property rights of women, about Agenda 21... structural adjustment policies... the experiences of women panches and sarpanches under the 73rd and 74th Amendments...the dying out of indigenous health practices and women’s loss of control over their own health... the effects of science and technology over women’s work ...CEDAW... GATT, the criminalization of politics....(matching local issues) with those highlighted at national and international levels. We attempted to initiate and sustain...a movement oriented process of networking and alliance building, creating ongoing mechanisms like the Gujarat Working Group, the Task force in Orissa, the National Federation of Dalit Women...

(Excerpts from Lokayan Bulletin 12.1/2 Delhi, July-October ‘95 -- Special Issue: Women Towards Beijing: Voices from India )

The Beijing Declaration :

Intergovernmental Commitment to Gender Equality

"We, the governments participating in the Fourth World Conference on Women...dedicate ourselves unreservedly to...the advancement and empowerment of women all over the world, and agree that this requires urgent action..." (Beijing Declaration, para.1 and 7)

The Beijing Declaration is a statement of principles and a call to their realization. The principles express the values, the fundamental choices to which a society commits itself, as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) committed the UN member states to the thirty rights acknowledged as common standards for mankind. The Beijing Declaration commits the member states "unreservedly" to the principle of the equality of women and men and to the full realization of all human rights for all women.

This commitment is reinforced by acknowledging that the states are "convinced that: (…) women's... equality ... and access to power, are fundamental for the achievement of equality, development and peace." (Beijing Declaration, para. 13). They further "recognize the need to take priority action for the empowerment and advancement of women." (Beijing Declaration, para. 21)

The states also declared that thet\y were

"determined to…ensure women's equal access to economic resources..." (Declaration, para. 35) and "that a gender perspective is reflected in all our policies and programs." (Declaration, para.38)

The Beijing Declaration is a short but very significant international document.

• It contains all the concepts and issues that inform the BPFA.

• It is a summary of the values and visions from which the BPFA was derived.

• It is the product of the historic human rights process which inspired the Beijing Conference and

the preparatory process which preceded it.

• And it inspires ongoing action to implement the BPFA, to fulfill the goals of the Nairobi

Forward Looking Strategies and to realize the human rights of women.

BOX ??

While declarations are not legally enforceable they are clearer statements of principles and

aspirations than binding international human rights instruments might be, to which governments

are legally bound to adhere. Indeed, when they negotiate the treaties or conventions,

governments are more likely to make and demand compromises, to use imprecise, ‘diplomatic’

language, sometimes even use double-talk which allows for later deviations. Clarity of principle

and lack of ambiguity in articulation give declarations a moral force that can, in the right setting,

make them more powerful than international law, although it normally takes the translation into

law to make them ‘stick’. The Beijing Declaration and the UDHR speak more directly to the

greatest aspirations of the peoples of the world than do the instruments designed to implement

the principles stated in the Declarations.

 

Few ordinary citizens study international human rights instruments, and they often remain

obscure to the general public. Declarations can be, and are, more widely disseminated. The

development of global civil society is making more accessible a significant part of the

fundamental knowledge that is basic to global citizenship. They are very public documents and

many of them have active constituencies in global civil society, making it difficult for

governments to dismiss or ignore the commitments to the global ethical principles that they

contain

END OF BOX

The MISSION STATEMENT, the Framework and Areas of CONCERN:

Reinforcement, Implementation and Goal Setting

The first chapter of the BPFA is a ‘Mission Statement’. A mission is action directed toward a

purpose. In this first chapter, the BPFA clearly designated the purpose of the actions to be set

forth and the overarching goals to be accomplished as the actions are undertaken and the

Forward Looking Strategies are fulfilled. The fundamental purposes are unambiguously declared

to be;

  • Full equality between men and women,
  • Empowerment of women,
  • Governmental and societal accountability.

Solidarity is another goal assigned to the BPFA:

"...the principle of shared power and responsibility should be established between women and men at home, in the workplace and in the wider national and international communities." (Beijing Mission Statement, para. 1) …working together and in partnership with men towards the common goal of gender equality around the world." (Beijing Mission Statement, para. 3).

It is significant that the concept of solidarity invoked by the Secretary General in his

Introduction is here interpreted to be solidarity not only among women, but between women and

men: in other words the campaign for equality is founded upon a true partnership of women and

men working together. The fundamental principle of gender equality, a goal that must be

mutually beneficial to women and men can best be realized by actualizing equality in the struggle

itself. Mutuality is at the very center of the notion of partnership and has long been a core

principle of feminism that has inspired both men and women to espouse and pursue the value

goal of equality in human rights.

The achievement of universal gender equality articulated in the Mission Statement is also placed

in the context of human rights. The drafters of the BPFA were clearly inspired by human rights

as reaffirmed by the Vienna Declaration. They also saw the BPFA as a means to achieve the

authentic universality of human rights implied in the goals of equality, development and peace.

"Equality between women and men is a matter of human rights and a condition for social justice..." (Beijing Mission Statement, para. 1)

Gender Equality and the Global Perspective

Gender equality around the world requires problem analysis on a global level, global action and a

global perspective in the conceptualizations of strategic goals. These three requirements are met

by the Global Framework elaborated in Chapter II of the BPFA. This Framework serves as a

statement of some of the most serious problem of continued worldwide

discrimination against women:

"Throughout their entire life cycle, women's daily existence and long-term aspirations are restricted by discriminatory attitudes, unjust social and economic structures, and a lack of resources in most countries that prevent their full and equal participation" (Beijing Global Framework, para. 38)

War and Terrorism are cited as major reasons for the perpetuation of this global gender

discrimination.

"excessive military expenditures...[that] have reduced the resources available for social development." (Beijing Global Framework, para. 13), and poverty. "Of the more than 1 billion people living in abject poverty, women are an overwhelming majority." (Beijing Global Framework, para. 16)

The framework also refers to "international economic developments", in particular

"structural adjustments...[that] led to a reduction in social expenditures, adversely affecting women..."(Beijing Global Framework, para. 18)

Structural adjustments are the conditions imposed by the international financial institutions to

increase national governments’ ability to repay international debts in those countries that have

incurred unmanageable debts towards development. The international financiers demanded a

reduction in government expenditures. While military expenditures remained virtually untouched

and sometimes increased, the savings came primarily from the social sector. The burden of care

for vulnerable groups thus shifted from governments to women who must find alternative ways

to provide food, shelter and medical care for dependent children, the elderly and the infirm.

The Beijing Global Framework observes that environmental degradation also contributes to

poverty (para. 35), especially among those "whose livelihood and daily subsistence depends

directly upon sustainable ecosystems." (para. 34) It also notes that the environment suffers from

"unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, particularly in industrialized countries, which...aggravate poverty and imbalances." (para. 35)

 

Poverty impacts more heavily and is more widely experienced by women because

" [economic policies] have not always been designed to take account of their impact on women and girl-children...the number of women living in poverty has increased…". ( para. 20)

Another environmental issue included in the diagnosis offered in the Beijing Global Framework is

the negative effect of ecological damage on women's health. The health concern emerges also in

the BPFA’s courageous confrontation of some of the social and cultural causes of the violation of

women's human rights, which the international community, including human rights advocates, has

never dared to denounce. Culture and social practice have been considered to fall outside the

realm of international legal concern, and until very recent times domestic violence has been

considered a "private" matter, not subject to interference by any public agency or authority. The

BPFA broke through a similar international taboo by insisting on addressing such issues as HIV

often transmitted by sexual behavior which cultural and social customs do not allow women to

refuse or control. The Beijing Global Framework recognizes that "[t]he rate of transmission of

sexually transmitted diseases...is increasing at an alarming rate among women and girls."

(para. 37)

A similar issue is religious extremism, which has been the inspiration of much violence against

women. Indeed,

"…any form of extremism may have a negative impact on women and can lead to violence and discrimination."(Beijing Global Framework, para. 24) V

Violence against women is among the major concerns which led to the BPFA’s intent focus on

the many problems of the girl child, noting that

"...discrimination and violence against girls begin at the earliest stages of life and continue

unabated throughout their lives." (Beijing Global Framework, para. 39).

Moreover, the media as transmitters of culture and values have contributed to the perpetuation

and increase in violence against women, even to the commodification of women's bodies. The

Beijing Global Framework notes that

"global communications networks have been used to spread stereotypes and demeaning images of women for narrow commercial and consumerist purposes." (para. 33).

The Beijing Global Framework takes this diagnosis and proposes prescriptive concepts and

directions to overcome these severe obstacles to the realization of the human rights of women

and the girl child. These concepts and directions are infused by a positive vision of a

transformed society. The vision is also a call to the persons who guide the governments of the

U.N. member states.

 

"This new generation of leaders must accept and promote a world in which every child is free from injustice, oppression and inequality and free to develop her/his own potential. The principle of equality of women and men must therefore be integral to the socialization process." (Beijing Global Framework, para. 40)

This statement describes a situation far removed from the present reality and is a call for a

transformation of global society, including the values we hold and those we transmit to the

young, and seek to apply to our institutions, relationships, personal behaviors and public

policies. Such a transformation must be constantly and systematically pursued, to adequately

address the fundamental problem requiring the transformation.

"Discrimination against women begins at the earliest stages of life and must therefore be addressed from then onwards." (Beijing Global Framework, para. 8.)

The transformative process must be constant throughout the lives of people and their societies, but it must go to the very core of social organization and relationships to produce the positive future the BPFA envisages, i.e.,

"...a radical transformation of the relationship between women and men to one of full and equal partnership will enable the world to meet the challenges of the twenty first century." (Beijing Global Framework, para. 17)

Such a radical change cannot be achieved without a full understanding of the significance and function of gender as it affects, not only social roles and cultural practices, but also economic systems, political structures and practices, and most significantly perhaps, peace and security matters. We must understand that the differences between men and women in status, achievements and activities are

"…the consequence of socially constructed gender roles rather than immutable biological differences." (Beijing Global Framework, para. 27)

 

Indeed, the biological differences deriving from reproductive functions can no longer be used to rationalize denying women’s fundamental human rights.

"Maternity...must not be a basis for discrimination nor restrict the full participation of women in society." (Beijing Global Framework, para. 29)

The transformative potential of the proposed changes in gender roles is intended to match that of a proposal that defines peace as the necessary foundation for the realization of human rights. In fact, some would argue that peace is identical with the respect for and the realization of human rights. Peace is as radical a change from present conditions as is gender equality.

Gender Equality and Peace

Gender equality and peace are integral and inseparable categories of human rights. This assertion leads to the argument that women's participation in all public policy making is a general necessity for a peaceful and just world, and their inclusion in policymaking on peace and security an urgent necessity for human survival. The Beijing Global Framework takes up these assertions and emphasizes the significance of women's multiple and vigorous initiatives in the forefront of the movement for the abolition of war as an institution, and for the demilitarization of national and global security systems:

"peace and security are... precondition[s] for economic and social progress,.. women are…central actors... in the movement... for peace. Their full participation in decision-making, conflict prevention and resolution and all other peace initiatives is essential to the realization of lasting peace."(Beijing Global Framework, para. 23)

The relevance of gender to human security is also recognized in Chapter III of the BPFA, the ‘Critical Areas of Concern’, which are the specific problems which Chapter IV (‘Strategic Objectives and Actions’) are designed to resolve.

"Empowerment of women and equality between women and men are prerequisites for achieving political, social, economic, cultural and environmental security among all peoples." (Beijing Critical Areas of Concern, para. 41)

The Platform For Action also makes unambiguously clear that earlier commitments on gender issues are human rights obligations, derived from the whole string of international human rights instruments that set international human rights norms and standards, which have been repeatedly affirmed and reinforced.

Institutional and Financial ARRANGEMENTS: Keeping Promises

The role and responsibilities of governments are emphasized in the BPFA’s Critical Areas of Concern and in Chapters V and VI, dealing respectively with Institutional Arrangements and Financial Arrangements considered necessary to strengthen existing mechanisms and create new mechanisms for the advancement of women. The NGOs who monitored and lobbied the conference made clear to the governmental delegates who drafted the plan that urgent, larger scale measures were necessary if the goals set in the Critical Areas of Concern were to be met. It took NGO prodding and constant monitoring to get the commitments and any substantive progress.

The obligations and responsibilities undertaken in the BPFA are not unprecedented. One of the specific intentions of the BPFA was to create structures and mechanisms that would ensure governments accountability in respect to the human rights instruments that they had signed and ratified in the past. Regional organizations can be especially important in realizing the human rights goals of BPFA.

One regional organization, the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) had made over successive meetings made a repeated commitment to the equal rights of men and women " on the basis of indivisibility and universality".

The OSCE reports, (find extracts below) outlined in great detail the full range of actual and potential governmental responsibilities with respect to human rights.

A Users’ Guide to Governmental Responsibilities:

Madrid, 1983 ("Questions relating to Security in Europe", para. 16)

 

[The participating States] stress the importance of ensuring equal rights of men and women; accordingly, they agree to take all actions necessary to promote equally effective participation of men and women in political, economic, social and cultural life.

Vienna, 1989 ("Questions relating to Security in Europe", para. 15)

 

(15) The participating States confirm their determination to ensure equal rights of men and women. Accordingly, they will take all measures necessary, including legislative measures, to promote equally effective participation of men and women in political, economic, social and cultural life. They will consider the possibility of acceding to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, if they have not yet done so.

Moscow, 1991 (Para. 40 to 40.13)

(40) The participating States recognize that full and true equality between men and women is a fundamental aspect of a just and democratic society based on the rule of law. They recognize that the full development of society and the welfare of all its members require equal opportunity for full and equal participation of men and women. In this context they will

(40.1) - ensure that all CSCE commitments relating to the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms are applied fully and without discrimination with regard to sex;

(40.2) - comply with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), if they are parties, and, if they have not already done so, consider ratifying or acceding to this Convention; States that have ratified or acceded to this Convention with reservations will consider withdrawing them;

(40.3) - effectively implement the obligations in international instruments to which they are parties and take appropriate measures to implement the United Nations Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women (FLS);

(40.4) - affirm that it is their goal to achieve not only de jure but de facto equality of opportunity between men and women and to promote effective measures to that end;

(40.5) - establish or strengthen national machinery, as appropriate, for the advancement of women in order to ensure that programmes and policies are assessed for their impact on women;

(40.6) - encourage measures effectively to ensure full economic opportunity for women, including non-discriminatory employment policies and practices, equal access to education and training, and measures to facilitate combining employment with family responsibilities for female and male workers; and will seek to ensure that any structural adjustment policies or programmes do not have an adversely discriminatory effect on women;

(40.7) - seek to eliminate all forms of violence against women, and all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of prostitution of women including by ensuring adequate legal prohibitions against such acts and other appropriate measures;

(40.8) - encourage and promote equal opportunity for full participation by women in all aspects of political and public life, in decision-making processes and in international co-operation in general;

(40.9) - recognize the vital role women and women's organizations play in national and international efforts to promote and enhance women's rights by providing, inter alia, direct services and support to women and encouraging a meaningful partnership between governments and these organizations for the purpose of advancing equality for women;

(40.10) - recognize the rich contribution of women to all aspects of political, cultural, social and economic life and promote a broad understanding of these contributions, including those made in the informal and unpaid sectors;

(40.11) - take measures to encourage that information regarding women and women's rights under international and domestic law is easily accessible;

(40.12) - develop educational policies, consistent with their constitutional systems, to support the participation of women in all areas of study and work, including non-traditional areas, and encourage and promote a greater understanding of issues relating to equality between men and women;

(40.13) - ensure the collection and analysis of data to assess adequately, monitor and improve the situation of women; these data should not contain any personal information.

Istanbul, 1999 (Charter for European Security, para. 23 and 24)

23. The full and equal exercise by women of their human rights is essential to achieve a more peaceful, prosperous and democratic OSCE area. We are committed to making equality between men and women an integral part of our policies, both at the level of our States and within the Organization.

24. We will undertake measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women, and to end violence against women, as well as sexual exploitation and all forms of trafficking in human beings. In order to prevent such crimes we will, among other means, promote the adoption or strengthening of legislation to hold accountable persons responsible for these acts and strengthen the protection of victims...

(Thematic compilation of OSCE human dimension commitments--

online: http://www.osce.org/odihr/docs/compilation/compilation-them2.htm#p2f2)

 

REFLECTING ON THE BPFA

Review the Beijing Platform for Action Summary (see Documents Appendix) and the OSCE document above

Identify the specific human rights cited in them. Are all the items you included in your list of ‘gender concerns’ included?

Identify the approaches that they recommend.

• Make a list of the types of recommended actions

• Who is responsible for performing each of them?

• Which types of actions could you personally undertake?

Do you know women who went to Beijing?

Talk to them about the way they prepared for the Beijing Assembly.

What concerns did they bring to the conference?

What did they learn there?

Did they put into practice their experience in Beijing? How?

Draft your own Declaration and Platform for Action. How would your declaration and platform differ from BPFA?

Follow-through: As you work with each of the following chapters on specific Areas of Concern, come back to this review and edit your Personal Platform for Action.

 


Back to Table of Contents


Copies of Passport To Dignity are available in September. For the cost $35 plus shipping costs.

Please send your order to pdhre@igc.org

 


For more information, please contact PDHRE:
The People's Movement for Human Rights Learning, 526 West 111th Street, New York, NY 10025
tel: 212.749-3156; fax: 212.666-6325; e-mail: pdhre@igc.org