Participation in the 54th CEDAW session and Global to Local Mentoring Programme


As a 3 month human rights intern with the Justice and Peace Office in Geneva, from the Province of Sri Lanka/Pakistan, it was a privilege As a 3 month human rights intern with the Justice and Peace Office in Geneva, from the Province of Sri Lanka/Pakistan, it was a priviled for me to attend the 54th CEDAW session at the UN and take part in a mentoring programmes which was conducted by IWRAW (International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific) an international women’s human rights organization.

CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) mandates substantive equality and gender related laws, policies and programmes that are based on human rights. It requires state parties to condemn discrimination against women and ensure its elimination.  The states who have ratified the convention are obliged to submit  reports to the UN every five years and have constructive discussions with the CEDAW committee members on  the implementation of the convention in their respective states.

At the 54th CEDAW session scheduled from 11th February – 1st March 2013 the CEDAW committee reviewed 8 state parties – Pakistan, Austria, Hungary, Cyprus, Greece, Angola, Macedonia, and the Solomon Islands.

As an intern, for my learning I concentrated on the Alternative report of Hungary which was prepared by our sisters in Hungary. The weekend work shop with IWRAW helped me to understand the CEDAW convention as well as the process of the session, the NGO oral presentation, how to effectively lobby committee members and the follow up work that could be done once NGO representatives return home. We were 10 participants representing 5 NGOs from Hungary and Pakistan.

The first three days were spent in writing the oral statements and learning how to present it at the informal meeting between CEDAW and the NGOs. The three days programme focused on the following: how to effectively lobby the CEDAW committee members, an introduction to each committee member including their areas of interest, country rapporteurs, inviting the CEDAW secretary for meaningful dialogue, and conducting mock sessions etc. It helped all NGO representatives to be at ease in forwarding their concerns to the committee members.

Then from Monday to Friday we were at country sessions, presenting our oral statements for lobbying CEDAW committee members at lunch briefings, meeting them and feeding them information from the grassroots level, attending the sessions of reporting by the country delegation, listening to constructive dialogue between the delegations and the CEDAW committee members and daily debriefing with the resource personnel. It was an enriching experience for me. This training helped me to understand how effectively NGOs can work with the CEDAW convention before, during and after the session. Personally I felt that it would have been much better if I was able to come up with the alternative report of my own country. Whenever GS participates in writing alternative reports on our own country we must not miss this opportunity; because as an NGO working towards the empowerment of women, this will be the best opportunity to raise our voice for the voiceless who are violated and disempowered.

I am grateful to the Congregation for giving me an experiential learning opportunity. I am confident that this will enable me to be more effective in my ministry.

Geneva, 17 February 2013, Sr. Niluka Perera


ThunderclapUse your Facebook, Twitter and other social media to NO!    Begin a thunderclap! Say NO to Violence Against Girls and Women

“Violence against women and girls occurs in all countries, contexts and settings and is one of the most pervasive violations of human rights.  Violence against women and girls is a manifestation of the historically unequal power relations between men and women and systematic gender based discrimination (based on E/CN.6/2013/4 para.15)”  Draft Agreed Conclusion  as presented by CSW Bureau   Read the full text

February 20, 2013 – World Day of Social Justice

ban_ki-moon_portraitSecretary-General’s Message for 2013

” As we mark World Day of Social Justice, we see far too many places where there are increasing opportunities for a few and only rising inequality for the many.                                                                                                Growing inequality undermines the international community’s progress in lifting millions out of poverty and building a more just world.                                                                           The fault lines are visible in falling wages for women and young people and limited access to education,health services and decent jobs.                                               We must strengthen and build institutions and develop policies that promote inclusive development.                                                                                           In adopting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), world leaders committed to create a more equal and just world.  Much progress has been made in enhancing decent work opportunities, strengthening social protection and improving public services.                                                                 Despite these advances, billions of people desperately depend on our focused and tireless efforts.  We must accelerate our work to meet the MDGs by the 2015 deadline and also look beyond by beginning to define new goals for sustainable development.                                                                                       As we seek to build the world we want, let us intensify our efforts to achieve a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable development path built on dialogue, transparency and social justice.”

The ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder also has a message for Social Justice Day.   Read the text or listen to the video

“Today, there is a pervasive sense of deep injustice that the weakest are being asked to sacrifice the most.”

“… in seeking to escape the traps of joblessness and poverty at home, many women and men are falling into the traps of human traffickers in modern forms of slavery.”

” 80 per cent of the world’s population lacks adequate social security coverage and more than half have no coverage at all.”

RISE together event at UN Headquarters

The United Nations Secretary General’s UNITE to End Violence Against Women campaign held a RISE together event on February 14th at 12.30.  The UNITE campaign and UN officials came together to RISE to end violence against women and girls.  Deputy Secretary-General of United nations Jan Eliasson addressed all gatheredIMG_1148



I am Rising: Michelle Bachelet’s Message for the One Billion Rising campaign

UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet stands up for the fundamental human right of every woman and girl to live a life free from fear and violence, as part of the One Billion Rising campaign sponsored by Eve Ensler’s V-day organization. On 14 February 2013, join her and one billion women and men around the world, who will rise up, walk out, dance and demand an end to this violence.


Across the world, social movements, organizations, schools and offices are preparing to take to the streets on Valentine’s Day, Thursday 14 February, to dance for a gender justice revolution: One Billion Rising!
The Campaign recognizes the gravity of persistent violence against women in the home, schools, workplaces and public spheres, women and men are mobilizing to call for an end to rape, and end to the normality of violence against women.
Violence against women is a key issue which prevents the realization of gender justice. It is estimated that one in three women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime.
Paul Quintos, Campaign Manager, said: “Violence against women has enormous social, economic, physical and psychological impacts on all of society – affecting both men and women. Equitable and sustainable development cannot be achieved without addressing the causes and effects of violence against women.”
“Gender justice is critical to poverty reduction and development. There must be substantive social change to challenge patriarchy. Our social and political systems must be reformed by strong government commitments to create a more equitable and just society for all.” The Campaign for People’s Goals for Sustainable Development supports One Billion Rising and calls for effective and substantive legal and political action to address violence against women and children in all spheres of life, and enacted by all people.
The Campaign for People’s Goals calls for governments to:
  • Recognize gender justice as a key objective to achieve development
  • Ensure there is effective legislation, and enforcement of legislation on rape, domestic violence and sexual harassment and other forms of violence against women.
  • Ensure there are widespread social education and programs through schools, workplaces and public centers to change patriarchal attitudes and negative social and cultural practices.

Empowering People for Social Change

Giving the poorest and most vulnerable the voice and tools they need to lift themselves out of poverty is key to bolstering efforts towards meeting global development goals, according to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s latest report on promoting people’s empowerment, the theme for the fifty-first session of the Commission on Social Development, taking place at United Nations Headquarters from 6 to 15 February, and for its Civil Society Forum tomorrow.   Read more …

Promoting empowerment of people will be at the core when the Commission for Social Development convenes for its 51st session. “Empowering individuals and social groups requires a comprehensive set of policies and institutions. From education and health care to economic and social policy, activities that seek to empower people are expected to increase opportunities and improve people’s quality of life”, said Ms. Larysa Belskaya, Vice-Chair of the Commission’s Bureau.   Read more…


UN Commission for Social Development February 6 – 15, 2013


 “Promoting empowerment of people in achieving    poverty eradication, social integration and full employment and decent work for all.”  Read more here …

Responses to Consultation on Participation in Decision Making


Executive Summary – Responses to consultation on Participation

The compiled responses have been submitted to the office of Ms. Magdalena Sepulveda Carmona, (Chile), Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights.  There were 35 responses from Good Shepherd. The Special Rapporteur will use this information to inform her annual report of June 2013.  If you wish to see the document it is on the UN website page  under NGO Sub-Committee for Social Development.

I had the document translated into Spanish Consulta con ONG   and French  La consultation de l’ONG  Thank you for contributing to this important work.

The content of this consultation will be shared on Wednesday March 6, 2013 at a side event on the opening day of the Commission for Social Development:  Grass Root Voices do have Choices