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Passport to Dignity is designed to inspire, inform and facilitate action for social and economic transformation towards the realization of the human rights of women. The book uses the comprehensive framework of the Beijing Platform For Action (BPFA) to demonstrate the holistic nature of human rights and the powerful tool it provides to women to overcome discrimination, achieve full equality, well being and participation in the decisions that determine their lives and the future of their communities.

The Critical Areas of Concern of the BPFA provide both materials for human rights education and a guideline for claiming and fulfilling the human rights of women.

We hope that those who study and apply the contents of this book to their own situations will achieve the objectives of Passport, i.e. knowledge, skills, motivation and action Readers will get a comprehensive knowledge of the BPFA with a view toward its implementation and application to their daily lives and concerns. Readers will also gain familiarity with international human rights instruments with specific information of how to use of the human rights framework and how it has been applied in various situations around the world. They will gain knowledge about the commitments governments have made to implement the BPFA, and work to hold governments accountable to implement the Platform and other Human Rights instruments, which they have signed and ratified. They will also get acquainted with governmental and nongovernmental assessments of the fulfillment of these commitments.

The dynamic process of reading, reflecting, identifying and solving problem sets up a dialogue between the human rights instruments and the readers’ own actions. The aim of Passport is to initiate an interactive process whereby readers can adopt the human rights framework in their own actions… --developing proactive strategies in the global struggle for economic and social justice with the realization that all are born equal in dignity.

Passport is designed primarily to affect the lives of women and men in local communities and to enable them to join in developing a just and equal society. We hope that it will also assist local activists to actively participate in the international arena and collaborate with other groups of women to achieve common goals…--offering each other solidarity in support of community and regionally based actions.

The narratives and case studies recounted by individual women, NGOs, UN agencies and member states are few, and limited. They do not represent the full spectrum of the excellent work being done by women in the field. In essence these narratives and case studies give homage to women from around the world and stand to encourage them further to take action.

Reports from Latin America and Africa were specifically prepared for Passport. Reports from other regions are a result of research by PDHRE staff. We acknowledge that there is a slight regional imbalance, but the stories from wherever they come carry the wisdom and hopes of women, encouraging us to follow suite.

Three years have past since we started putting this book together. Thus, some of the narrative may seem out dated, but we trust not irrelevant. We assume that many of our readers know of more situations where women struggle to achieve their human rights. We hope that they will be moved to share this information with us regarding actions and projects in each of the twelve areas of critical concern.

We see this book as an unfinished effort, a mere beginning to introduce the human rights framework as a powerful tool for action. We welcome all readers to join in this process.


The book is divided in two parts.

Chapters 1 to 4 establish a conceptual, pragmatic framework of the human rights of women, giving the historical development of the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, CEDAW, and the BPFA. It continues with a description of the international human rights mechanisms for the advancement of women, discussing concerns, standards and goals, thus providing an essential knowledge base for women to pursue the fulfillment of their human rights

Chapters 5 to 13 examines the BPFA’s critical areas of concern and leads readers in a discussion about its application in the community and the relevance of human rights to their daily lives. Each chapter alternates readings with guidelines for reflection and action planning.

8 Annexes provide summaries of: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the two Covenants on Civil and Political and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention against Racial Discrimination and Torture, and the Women’s and Children’s Conventions. It also provides a summary of the BPFA.

Passport to Dignity is a companion to the CEDAW training of trainers video "Women Hold Up the Sky" and it’s manual "Between their Stories and our Realities…" and PDHRE’s "Call for Justice", a comprehensive Resource Packet, issue oriented, on Government’s Human Rights Commitments and Obligations.

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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 Education, 526 West 111th Street, New York, NY 10025
tel: 212.749-3156; fax: 212.666-6325; e-mail: pdhre@igc.org