Reflecting on the outcome document of CSW 62

CSW 62 W 3The Commission on the Status of Women –  annually the most well attended event of the UN Calendar – with women for all walks of life coming to the United Nations, New York to advocate basically for the human rights of women and girls. I find a certain tension in the agreed conclusion between the need to address ‘all’ women and girl including those living in rural areas  Paras 2, 3, 14, 25, 26, 32, 41, 42, (c) (l) (aa) (jj) and (ww)  when in fact this year was specifically dedicated to ‘Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women girls.’  Maybe this is reflective of the dynamic tension, enthusiasm, and controversy concerning gender equality that is evoked from start to finish of the Commission.  Is there a fear that some women and girls – ‘those furthest behind’ – might gain at the expense of the whole?  This is impossible as the pre-ambular paragraphs only reference previously agreed, international law and frameworks from CEDAW to Beijing to the Sustainable Development Goals and the agreed conclusion are what they are ‘agreed conclusion’ and not legally binding.

Read the CSW62 Agreed Conclusion – Advanced Unedited Version

While the focus was specifically on ‘rural women and girls,’ yet prior to the commencement of the Commission the was a sense of unease about the meaning of the  phrase ‘rural women and girls.’   A suggestion was made many times that the phrase ‘women and girls living in rural areas’ would be much more acceptable – focusing on the intersection of women and girls and the very specific geographic location where they are living.   While much advocacy was done to have the terminology changed,  the bureaucratic institution of the United Nations approves the concepts used and ‘women and girls living  in rural areas was not one of them’! Likewise girls living in rural areas, while appreciating their visibility in the document,  would like to see their human rights issues addressed specifically and separately  from women focusing on the intersectionality of discrimination against girls and a specific geographic area, the ‘rural’.   Another bureaucratic hurdle for another time.

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Interesting in reviewing the document there are a few times when the phrase ‘women and girls living in rural and remote areas’ – Paras 36, 37 and (aaa) – has been incorporated into the  document – so maybe we as advocates have some new agreed language – referencing these agreed conclusion going forward.  An NGO group advocated to have reference to ‘mountain’ women in the agreed conclusion so I wonder how they feel with ‘remote areas’?  Does that include them?

I found some reflections and comments on the agreed conclusion.  UN Women had this headline –  UN Commission on the Status of Women delivers a blueprint to ensure the rights and development of rural women and girls.   ‘Food security and nutrition, land water, food, work and a life free of violence and without poverty as main issues to tackle.’

Soroptomist International had a reflection contrasting disappointment and rejoicing. One Group sorely disappointed were Widows for Peace through Democracy who were advocating for the inclusion of widows in the agreed conclusion knowing first hand the multiple and intersecting discriminations widows in rural areas experience.

Femnet – the African Women’s Development and communication network commented that CSW62  ‘It is rejuvenating, reenergizing and exciting to have such a progressive outcome document out of CSW…’   If you read on you will see their summary of  gains and losses.   One loss  is that labour rights for women was not shifted to the global level.

Vigil CSW 62We have a comprehensive, complex and eclectic agreed conclusions but where does one begin to implement and  evaluate?  Who is implementing what, where and how?  Apart from the preamblur paragraphs and the closing paragraphs there are three main section:

  • (i) the normative, legal and policy framework
  • (ii) implement economic and social policies for the empowerment of all rural women and girls.  But this begs the question which economic and social policies do we specifically need for women and girls.  Maybe the answers are in OP’s  (m) to (iii) What of environmental policies – the effects of climate change, climate induced migration  etc?
  • (iii) Strengthen collective voice, leadership and decision making.   During the first week of CSW 62 we were confronted with the murder of Mariella Franco.  The issue of the inclusion of Human Rights Defenders in the agreed conclusion was contentions up to the end mentioned in Para 42 and OP (rrr).

Screen Shot 2018-03-24 at 1.39.44 PMAre the two weeks of  CSW merely a time of playing around with words, engaging in political rhetoric,  maintaining national sovereignty and entrenched cultural and religious positions, while being blind, deaf, and unmoved to action  by the daily suffering caused by  poverty,  hunger, and violence that women and girls living in rural areas experience.   The continual lack of food, threats to food security,  no social protection, no land rights, scarcity of water, lack of provision of health care, education and decent work coupled with natural disasters and climate induced migration are features of the feminization of poverty.  A concluding paragraph in Rev 1 of the agreed conclusion read ‘ The Commission call upon Governments to heed the urgent United Nations humanitarian appeal to assist counties facing drought, starvation and famine with emergency aid and urgent funding, and underlines that, if no immediate response is received, an estimated 20 million people, most of whom are women and children, risk losing their lives.’  This paragraph was not in the final document!  READ more …

My answer to the the question I posed above is that such debate at the global level is not only necessary but vital to inching forward gender equality and the empowerment of girls and women living in rural areas.  Action is taken by the very same women who come to CSW year after year.  In the case of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd see our documentary out of India  Mahila – A Women’s Movement Rising

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Acompañando el camino del Crucificado a través de los ODS/Accompanying the path of the Crucified through the SDGs

S_2018_SDG_Poster_without_UN_emblemAcompañando el camino del Crucificado a través de los ODS

8th station

 

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Accompanying the path of the Crucified through the SDGs

12th Station

This is the translated text of the Spanish and pictures are not included.  Thank you Rohan Dominic of the Claretians!

Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) March 12 – 23, 2018

 

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The Commission on the Status of Women commenced on Monday March 12.  It was preceded by the NGOCSW Consultation Day on Sunday March 11.  The team from the GSIJP office attended together with two of the Good Shepherd Volunteers,  Amore and Samatha and Nancy Fritche Egan (known to many of you) and her friends Eileen Reed, Diane Jordan, and Lucia Alcantara.

 

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It is impossible to be abreast of all the activities that CSW provides but one thing is sure we were constantly concerned about girls and women who live in rural areas and face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination throughout their lifecycle – the list is endless – poverty, food insecurity, violence, trafficking, sexual abuse, race discrimination, and violations of human rights.  We were advocating for the right to own, inherits, bequeath, manage and profit from land and productive assets; access to physical, mental, and reproductive health care and services, quality education, provision of credit facilities,  financial inclusion and social protection floors, zero tolerance of  abusive labour practices, human trafficking, prostitution, child early and forced marriage, rape, sexual harassment,  and female genital mutilation.  We seemed to be alternating between issues and groups that are discriminated against, widows, older women, indigenous women, girls, migrant women, low paid women, girls and women with disabilities, and mountain women and girls.  Concern was expressed about the lack of safe drinking water, water supplies, and scarcity and lack of adequate sanitation facilitates, hygiene facilities including menstrual hygiene management.  Other global issues like climate change, and armed conflict were also addressed.  The situation of women human rights defenders was  made ever more poignant by the assignation of Marielle Franco, a Brazilian activist, on March 14th in Rio De Janeiro.

The response from the 193 member states comes in the form of ‘Agreed Conclusion.’ They are being negotiated during this second week preparing the way towards commitments to girls and women living in rural areas to uphold all human rights, and implement economic and social policies for the empowerment of all girls and women, while strengthening girls’ and women’s collective voice, leadership and participation in decision making at all level.

The Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women this year is H.E. Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason from Ireland.  We wish her success as she chairs the negotiations for the best possible outcome for girls and women. The opening of the Commission and all formal meeting were Webcast and can be accessed HERE

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The UN Secretary General had a townhall meeting with women gathered for CSW 62 and you can also follow how the #METOO campaign was brought forward.  The various panels addressed the various issues contained in the priority and review theme

  • Priority theme:
    Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls;
  • Review theme:
    Participation in and access of women to the media, and information and communications technologies and their impact on and use as an instrument for the advancement and empowerment of women (agreed conclusions of the forty-seventh session);

Engagement of Good Shepherd at the Commission was on a few levels responding to various invitations to engage and contribute.  Monique Tarabeh , communication in Rome submitted artwork for the NGOCSW handbook, GSIF office prepared an advertisement encouraging people to view MAHILA  The GSIJP Office prepared a statement to the Commission available in the 6 languages of the UN  Statement to CSW 62 and Mirjam Beike, NGO Representative to Geneva, currently in New York, drafted and presented an oral statement to the Commission on the girl child supported by 26 religious and faith based organizations.   Click on Mirjam to see the video.

Good Shepherd co-sponsored two side events one on human trafficking in collaboration with the Mission of the Holy See to the UN – read the summary HERE  “The common narrative of rural women lured into big cities by the false promises of traffickers and forced into sex slavery was described at the keynote speech of the conference by survivor Mely Lenario from the Philippines.” – A Good Shepherd Service in Cebu. –  Following Mely presentation there was standing ovation.  Webcast of the event

The second event was on water and was entitled ‘Wisdom, rural women and water, Unmuting women’s voices for integrated Water Policy’.  This event was prepared by the Mining Working Group and Cecilie live-streamed it on Facebook   Link to morning briefing webcasts that I participated in  Morning Briefing March 20 and  Morning Briefing March 22

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Screen Shot 2018-03-24 at 11.39.50 AMSarah Benson from Ruhama (Ireland) and Coalition against Prostitution (CAP International) had a number of event which featured survivors of human trafficking as well as NGO’s and Members of Government.   The Mission of Ireland Webcast  led in ‘Presenting challenges and considering solutions to combat sex trafficking and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation of women and girls (CSW62 Side Event)’   The Irish Ambassador to the UN Geraldine Byrne Nason paid tribute to the work of Sarah Benson.  Well done Sarah!   Grégoire Théry CAP International chaired the event.

Activities are multiple and complex engaging not just at the political level but also socially and in supportive roles with other NGO’s particularly the NGOCSW Committee.                                                                                                                                                                          Nancy & MirjamFor me this year I was very engaged in and committed to preparing for and following the an outcome document.  Mirjam represented us at the NGOCSW Reception on March 13th where she was photographed with Nancy Fritche Egan.  This event overlapped with the Coalitions Against Trafficking in Women’s reception which I attended,   The ARISE Foundations sponsored a reception on March 11th for religious engaged in anti-trafficking work.

Screen Shot 2018-03-24 at 1.52.35 PMAnother side event entitled “#MeToo Say Survivors: Human Rights, Gender and Trafficking in Human Beings’ was held on 15 Mar 2018.  It was organized by OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, UN Women,  United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) together with Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) and Equality Now. Link to Webcast.   Some extraordinary survivors of prostitution and human trafficking shared their stories.  Mira Sorinvo, UNODC Goodwill Ambassador was also a panelist.  ‘#Metoo movement must represent trafficked and prostituted persons.’

 

On Saturday March 17th there was a strategy meeting with the Women’s Major Group in preparation for the High Level Political Forum which will take place in July.  Mirjam attended this also.  There was an opportunity to remember human rights defenders and all activists who engage on behalf of girls and women.  In the moment of reflection it was my privilege to remember our own Good Shepherd Auguchita, who gave her life too!  I did write her name and place it with the others.

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Justice Peace Workshop – Ngong, Kenya

On Saturday evening January 13th a very successful 3 day Justice Peace workshop was completed at Ngong, Kenya.  It was attended by 12 sisters in Temporary Profession, 4 Novices, together with Sr Teresa, Formator with the Temporary Professed and Sr Catherine the community leader in Ngong.   There were 3 Resource Person – Donatus Lili,  NGO Regional Designate for RIMOA, (center) Michael Owino Coordinator of the Mission Development Office East Central Africa (right) and myself.  It was an experience of team work and integration of justice peace with ministry against a backdrop of spirituality.

See the suggested Schedule for Nairobi – January 2018     Invariably too much was planned but what was accomplished was substantive and with some depth.  Having been warmly welcomed by the community in Ngong, Day 1 began with introductions and sharing by each participant of experiences and the meaning of justice peace in her life.  Samples of sharing included standing firm and fighting corruption by not signing on a document; helping girls to bring cases to court in order to claim their rights; being an advocate in the court for children; having the courage to point out a judge  who was corrupt; advocating and representing children rights  with parents; being observant in the Metatu ( public transport) and noticing a girl who was being trafficked and taking appropriate action.  Some comments and reflections noted that there is no peace without justice;  the necessity of peace and justice to self; justice begins at home with self, within the community, and with staff by implementing just procedures; justice peace cannot be separated from compassion, forgiveness and reconciliation; justice and peace necessitates an analysis of root causes, calls for risk taking and is a process, a journey; being an agent of justice peace in society, within ministries,  within families, and it starts with me; being in solidarity with others; reflecting the face of Jesus in all circumstances.

Session two shared on the GSIJP Office – the who and the what, outlining structures and the job description of the Justice Peace Contact.  Winifred outlined some of the recommendations from the  workshop in 2016 as many of the participants had attended that workshop.  There was a review of vision and mission and the Congregational Direction Statement. See Thursday January 11 2018 Session 1& 2

Session 3 and 4 was learning around the Sustainable Development Goals using the lyrics We-Love-the-SDGs-Study-Guide-v2 and youtube  Group work followed making the connections between the various goals and presenting finding linking goals with what is happening in ministries especially the centrality of SDG 5.  This included familizariation with the targets of SDG 5 – no discrimination, no violence, no harmful traditional practices, recognize unpaid care work, women’t leadership, and sexual and reproductive health  and rights.  Thursday Session 3 & 4 on SDG’s January 11

Day 2, session 5 and 6 focused on the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women.  CEDAW is the bill of rights for Women.  Donatus shared on her experience of being in Geneva and presenting a CEDAW report on Fistula.   Donatus began with an overview of the human rights mechanisms and then focused on presenting the 30 articles of CEDAW Convention.  Some articles of particular interest to us are Article 1 which defines discrimination against women to cover all facets of human rights and fundamental freedoms.  Article 3: Women are fundamentally equal with men in all spheres life  and countries must take measures to uphold women’s equality in the political, social, economic, and cultural fields.  Article 6 is an important one for Good Shepherd as countries are urged to take steps to suppress the exploitation of prostitution and trafficking in women.  Article 7 is about women’s right to engage in political and public life with the right to vote, hold public office and participate in civil society. Article 9 has to do with nationality.  Women have equal rights with men to acquire, change, or retain their nationality and that of their children.   Article 10 addresses the right to education, article 11 the right to employment and article 12 the right to health.  Article 13 Women have  equal right to family benefits, financial credit and participation in recreational activities. Article 14 concerns rural women and article 15 addresses equality before the law.  Women have the right to enter contract, own property and choose three place of residence.  Article 16 Women have equal rights with men in matters related to marriage and family relations.   The following articles 17 – 24 are related to the Committee on CEDAW and reporting procedures followed by Articles 25 -30 on the Administration of the Convention.  

Winifred led Session 7 and 8 Introducing the United Nations and presenting in depth the Social Protection Floor Concept as outlined in ILO Recommendation 202.  See  Friday January 12 Session 7 & 8  (The Declaration on Human Rights was not presented – time factor).  The decision of the group was to hear about Social Protections Floors.

Session 9 was led by Michale Owino, Mission Development Office Director for Kenya.  Sr Rose Mary, the monitoring and evaluation office attended this session.ahZCXEVkTuOgsgwLANQcPA

Michael presented in a very thorough and reflective way the Mission Development Office – team, broad objectives, focus areas, resource mobilization, co-ordination – communication, monitoring and evaluation, capacity building, workshops with project directors, centralization, mainstreaming justice peace, spirituality and Mission Partner development.

The final session was filled with appreciations for the opportunity to learn and share.  I appreciated the interest, and participation of each person. Karibu!

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Asante Sana!

2017 – Migration – human mobility -policies under review. ‘Now and How…’ work of 2018

In September 2016, for the first time Member States came together to discuss, at the global level, issues related to migration and refugees. The New York Declaration, which was adopted at the High-Level Summit, recognizes the need for a comprehensive approach to human mobility and enhanced cooperation at the global level and commits to:Screen Shot 2017-12-30 at 12.50.17 PM

The New York Declaration also launched two parallel processes for negotiations leading to an international conference and the adoption of a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration and a global compact for responsibility sharing for refugees in 2018.

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Thanks to Cecilie Kern I have this great shot of the time line and  Good Shepherd Engagement in the Global Compact for Migration – the big issues addressed under the following headings: Human Rights, Drivers of Migration, International Cooperation, Contribution of Migrants, Smuggling and Trafficking, and Labour Mobility.

These process are intertwined within three session of the Global Forum of Migration – in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in Berlin, Germany and the end one will be in Morocco at the end of 2018.   Good Shepherd have been present within these processes too bringing examples of good practice to the discussions.  Theresa Symons from Malaysia and Magdalena Saavedra from the Philippines were present in Dhaka;  Magdalena and Cecilie in Berlin.

There were a series of UN Regional Commission consultations – ECLAC, ESCWA, ECA, ESCAP, and ECE.    Good Shepherd only managed to attend one of these session  (ECLAC – in Santiago Chile!

Cecilie attended Phase 2 – Stocktaking Phase in December in Mexico.  She was also the representative for the NGO Committee on Migration.

Phase three begins in February 2018 with the publication of the ‘Zero Draft” and the commencement of negotiations.  This will take place in New York and Cecilie will follow the negotiations intently.  Negotiations at the global level set the guidelines for global processes and guidelines to be implemented at national level.  This work starting in February is not merely the work of the GSIJP office but also the work of each country where Good Shepherd has a presence as Member States are instructed by ‘Capital’ as to what is acceptable or not acceptable in the global compact.  You can read more Information  here.  See the Letter Template in 6 languages to help you with advocacy at national level.

Another website that has very valuable information is  Migration and Development Civil Society Network (MADE).   MADE evolved out of years of GFMD organising, and was launched in 2014, benefitting from initial co-funding from the European Union for three years. The coordination of GFMD civil society activities has now become part of the Migration and Development Civil Society Network (MADE), organised by the Civil Society Coordinating Office, operating under the auspices of the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC), in partnership with the International Steering Committee (ISC) and MADE regional and thematic coordinators.

A very important work of MADE are policy formulations taking account of the civil society recommendations.   The document that is currently in use to guide the global compact on Migration is ‘Now and How – 10 Acts for the Global Compact.’

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While this graphic looks cluttered  maybe you will be urged to look at the document if you see the 10 Acts more clearly

1. Drivers of human mobility
2. Safe human mobility pathways
3. Protection
4. Decent work and labor rights
5. Decent living conditions and access to justice
6. Education and skills
7. Inclusion and action against discrimination
8. Transnational and sustainable development
9. Rights, return and reintegration
10. Governance, implementation and monitoring

There are two points that are crosscutting all 10 Acts – The Rights of Children and Gender Responsive Policies – children and girls and women ….

See the document with signatures – 15 Good Shepherd signatures – Portugal, Brazil, Mexico, Burkina Faso, Kenya, US and Toronto Province, Malta, Myanmar, National Advocacy Office (USA) Uganda, Philippines (RGS-COW), Australia, Sri Lanka, Egypt and Lebanon!   See Document With Signatures

Maintenant et Comment Dix Actes pour le Pacte mondial

Ahora y Así Diez Pasos para el Pacto mundial

Arabic and Chinese coming soon.

“The Stocktaking phase of the Global Compact for Migration has come to an end in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Cecilie represented Good Shepherd and the NGO Committee on Migration in the Civil Society Stocktaking strategy meeting on 2-3 December, co-leading the civil society strategy and engagement with governments on the protection of migrants. She continued this dialogue during the official UN Stocktaking on 4-6 December. There was a spirit of determination, a strong endorsement of international cooperation, and a focus on rights & dignity of all migrants. #ForMigration #GlobalCompactMigration         READ MORE from the MADE Website

Cecilie has prepared the GCM Stocktaking Report a good overview of what happened the meeting, outlining core principles and the call for action orientated proposals  while noting issues that did not receive adequate attention.  What do you think?  Why not write a comment, share a good practice or your concerns.  You can do so in the comment section of the blog.

UNANIMA representative Teresa Blumenstein and Olga Sanchez, a Combini Sister were also present

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There is also a Global Compact for Refugees.  See for details  The process is different but there will also be a zero draft negotiated. By February 2018 UNHCR will prepare a draft of the Global Compact on Refugees and formal consultation with Member States and other relevant stakeholders will commence.

 

Blanca Nubia (Good Shepherd Sister) welcomes Pope Francis to Cartagena

“And so, about four years ago, I began a new program for girls. We called it Talitha Kum, words from the Aramaic Gospel phrase Jesus used to bid a girl to rise up. It honors the dignity of each person. According to the mission of our congregation, I had made a decision to go to the tourist city of Cartagena de Indias, the colonial name when Cartagena was a port for export of silver to Spain and import of slaves from Africa. It is famous for being a walled city — and, indeed, many invisible walls hide lives of poverty, unemployment, gangs and early pregnancies in squalid neighborhoods. Good Shepherd has a center dedicated to the prevention of sex tourism, which is, sadly, the specific object of many tourists.

At Talitha Kum the children “rise up” every day. We welcome children (ages 9-17) to a program that includes school, human and spiritual accompaniment, and enrichment of family and civic environments. We are always proud when, as recently happened, a 17-year-old girl finished high school and now continues her study. ”    Read the full article   Global Sisters Report – Papal Encounter in Cartagena, Colombia

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Good Resources to follow up on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s)

The UN Women and UNEG (United Nations Evaluation Group) have developed a guideline in 5 languages to evaluate the SDGs with a gender lens. Link to English, Arabic, French, Russian and Spanish

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Another excellent resource linking the SDG’s with various human rights mechanism has been published by the Danish Institute For Human Rights.  It too, is is multiple languages and has an interactive dimension – you can choose a goal or target and see the linkages to human rights.

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Human Rights Guilde

Link Here The Human Rights Guide to the Sustainable Development Goals