Raquelina from Mozambique spends a day with Secretary General Ban Ki Moon

Congratulations to Raquelina Fernando Langa, Matheus Samsão Muthemba School in Polana Caniço, Maputo, Mozambique who spent a day with the Secretary General in New York.  Read the entire article and see the great pictures

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Civil Society meets with Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the new Executive Director of UN Women meets with civil society on Tuesday August 27, 2013

Yolanda speeking with Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

Yolanda meeting with Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

Yolanda Sanchez and Kimberly Moloche meet with Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka in New York. Read more
Civil Society meets with Ms.Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. Read more “Make the Circle, Bigger, Bigger, and Bigger” By Kimberly Moloche, Intern at the GSIJPO-NY

Another Perspective on CSW 57

An objective piece on NGO participation or lack of it in CSW 57.  Read More   Good Shepherd as an NGO had two passes – and while they permit one to enter the corridors of the UN they do not gain access to the negotiating room.  NGO access is had by being a member of a national delegation.   I did have a meeting with a member of the Irish Mission who was negotiating on behalf of women human right defenders.  This is retained in the document.  Well done!   Throughout the two weeks I sent on two separate occasions e-mails containing language with regard to Human Trafficking and Prostitution to 15 member states of the Commission.  In the final document you will note that the paragraphs on Human Trafficking are strong  but all reference to prostitution  has disappeared … thus permitting prostitution to continue and not naming it for what it is sexual exploitation and violence towards women and girls.  Yes there is agreement around the violence of Human Trafficking but no agreement around Prostitution.

A quote from  the link above and I quote it because I have heard these stories too…

“The women delegates of, for example, Afghanistan, Egypt and Iran may declare unchallenged, in the UN building, that their governments respect women’s status and progress, is being made. But we, in our restricted place across the road, listen in grief and pity to accounts of rape, sexual slavery, be headings of women activists and human rights defenders; of women imprisoned for fleeing forced marriage, of widow abuse, and of honour killings disguised as suicide. And of young women activists stripped and sexually assaulted in Tahir Square, Cairo. Of what is really happening to the women of Libya and Syria. Rape may be a weapon of war, but women’s bodies are being targeted in many countries, post conflict, and during revolution, and where there is no war. …  As member States pontificate, many mouthing platitudes, women and girls are dying, or if not dead, destroyed.”


Good Shepherd Team at CSW 75

2013-03-03 07.46.34I was present with Ferew from Ethiopia in the UN corridors from 3.00 p.m until after 9.00 p.m. and witnessed the adoption of the outcome document.  It is truly a historic moment for women’s rights.  In a blog post during the long wait I asked some questions as to why it is difficult to get agreement.  But eventually agreement was reached.  Yes, there is a strong outcome document but could it have said more?   Read here about the final session of CSW 57 on Friday evening March 15th   The blogger, Joni van de Sand  is a friend from Holland whom I met 2 years ago  If you follow her blog entries you will get a good overview of CSW 57.

The photograph – Good Shepherd Team at CSW 57:   Ferew Lemma from Ethiopia.  Hung-Hsin Liu from Taiwan who left NY at the end of the first week. Winifred Doherty and Wanching Chen, Taiwan who left NY on the morning of the Friday the 15th and was not present for the historic ending of CSW 57.  The team was supported by Maureen McGowan of Handcrafting Justice, Victoria Ashley of Good Shepherd Volunteers, Kimberly Moloche an Intern from St John’s College and Helga Sourek (Germany) who returned home after the first week.

CSW 57 adopted a 17 page blue print to combat violence against women

Michelle Bachelet, UN Under Secretary General and Executive Secretary of UN Women  in her closing statement to CSW 57 said  “It has been an intensive past two weeks. We have witnessed one of the highest levels of participation from Member States, intergovernmental organizations, civil society, and colleagues from the United Nations.”  Read more

Background on the more controversial areas are outline in this article from the Washington Post

Toward the end of her statement Michelle Bachelet made a surprise announcement.  She said it would be her last CSW as she was returning to her country Chile for personal reasons.  The Calgary Hearld has more on that story  

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon issued a statement  and I quote

“Violence against women is a heinous human rights violation, global menace, a public health threat and a moral outrage.  No matter where she lives, no matter what her culture, no matter what her society, every woman and girl is entitled to live free of fear.  She has the universal human right to be free from all forms of violence so as to fulfill her full potential and dreams for the future.

States have a corresponding responsibility to turn that right into reality.  The Secretary-General hopes that all the partners who came together at this historic session and others around the world will now translate this agreement into concrete action to prevent and end violence against women and girls.  The United Nations system is fully committed to leading this global effort.”

Good Shepherd Activism Against Gender Violence in Australia/New Zealand

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign has begun. Good Shepherd in Australia and internationally is taking part through action, advocacy and service delivery.   Read the news/reflection sheet attached and find out what Good Shepherd is doing.  Campaign AgainstViolence 2012_2    Page 4 urges you to take action and page 5 concludes with a prayer.

Head of UN Gender Entity Expresses ‘Deep Regret’ as Commission on Status

‘I Will Not Hide My Great Disappointment’, Says Chair, as Delegations Question Each Other’s Good Faith over Collapsed Negotiations read more http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2012/wom1905.doc.htm


Commission on the Status of Women – CSW 56

The Commission for the Status of Women (CSW) opened this morning in New York. Visit the UN webcast where you you can follow the proceeding http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/webcast/ You can read the various statements made from this website http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/56sess.htm  “The Empowerment of Rural Women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, development and current challenges” is the priority theme of the Commission.   The Chair of CSW this year is Her Excellency Ms. Marjon Kamara, from Liberia.  Ms. Michelle Bachelet – Executive Director of UN Women addressed the Commission and has mentioned the Social Protection Floor Initiative. Remember we Good Shepherd have been involved in supporting the campaign and adding our signatures of support.  We need 1 million Signatures by June 2012.
Ms Silvia Pimentel – Chairperson of the CEDAW Committee also addressed the Commission.

June 22 – UN Women – United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women – Strategic Plan, 2011-2013

On Monday June 27 UN Women will present their first Strategic Plan to the Executive Board for approval.  This strategic plan, 2011-2013, sets out the vision, mission and priorities of the organization in supporting Member States and the United Nations system. The mission statement of UN-Women reads “grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, the composite entity will work for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security. Placing women’s rights at the centre of all its efforts, the composite entity will lead and coordinate United Nations system efforts to ensure that commitments on gender equality and gender mainstreaming translate into action throughout the world. It will provide strong and coherent leadership in support of Member States’ priorities and efforts, building effective partnerships with civil society and other relevant actors.” (A/64/588, para. 5).

The strategic plan will be reviewed in 2013.  The plan contains three interrelated components: (a) a development results framework, (b) a management results framework, and (c) an integrated resources framework.

The plan has outlines 6 goals (1) to increase women’s leadership and participation in all areas that affect their lives; (2) to increase women’s access to economic empowerment and opportunities, especially for those who are most excluded; (3) to prevent violence against women and girls and expand access to survivor services;  (4) to increase women’s leadership in peace and security and humanitarian response; (5) to strengthen the responsiveness of plans and budgets to gender equality at all levels. (6) The sixth goal involves support for a comprehensive set of global norms, policies and standards on gender equality and women’s empowerment that is dynamic, responds to new and emerging issues, challenges and opportunities and provides a firm basis for action by Governments and other stakeholders at all levels.  The complete document is available at http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=UNW/2011/9    

I invite you to become familiar with these 6 goals and to consider which ones you are addressing in your ministry – women’s and girl’s leadership and participation; women’s and girl’s economic empowerment; preventing violence against women and girls.  Is your ministry in a conflict or post conflict zone?  Has your government implemented gender sensitive budgeting?  One main focus of UN Women is to support UN Member States – that is your government.  Are women’s rights at the center of your your national plans?