‘Prostitution affects all of us, not just those in it.’

The title of this post comes from the last summary point of a well research and informative article by Melissa Farley entitled ‘Very inconvenient truths: sex buyers, sexual coercion, and prostitution-harm-denial.’  The article has a number of headings addressing the various issues that arise when we talk about decriminalizing prostitution and addressing DEMAND which drives prostitution.  Taking a holistic approach realizing that prostitution affects all of us and not just those in it is worth considering.

There is another summary point ‘at the root of prostitution, just like other coercive systems, are dehumanization, objectification, sexism, racism, misogyny, lack of empathy/pathological entitlement (pimps and johns), domination, exploitation, and a level of chronic exposure to violence and degradation that destroys the personality and the spirit.’  All of these systems are root causes of the persistence of violence against women.  Prostitution is one of these violences.

Another comment that you may wish to explore and determine how to answer is ‘Prostitution cannot be made safe by legalizing or decriminalizing it. Prostitution needs to be completely abolished.’    Read the full article here

UN Webcast – Celebration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

Commemoration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is celebrated on October 17 each year.  You can view the event here

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Commemorative Stone at the United Nations, New York was unveiled in 1996 and has the following words




Violence and Poverty are interrelated say Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence against Children. There are some very moving sharing in this webcast.


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

Social Integration Survey – Extended to October 20, 2010

This survey is giving you an opportunity to express your opinions.  If you do not know of the Resolution promoting Social Integration well you may be sure that others don’t either.  So read the resolution http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/csd/2010/resolutions/social-integration.pdf and become aware of  the changes that the Member States (your country included) agreed to make for a better society in 2010 – poverty eradication, people participation, gender equality, the elimination of discrimination, abuse and violence.   Do you think it is worth working for these changes?  If you say yes,  what should we do?  You have an opportunity to bring your voice on behalf of persons living in poverty, persons who are excluded, women and children who are discriminated against, experience violence on a daily basis, are forced to migrate, are trafficked, are oppressed by abject poverty – you have the opportunity now to speak to the UN.  This is a moment in the process when you are taking action for structural and systemic change.  The United Nations has done its work saying we should have poverty eradication, effective participation, social protection, gender equality and the elimination of discrimination, abuse and violence.  So why is it not happening?  Why is it not being implemented?  What do you think should be done to bring about change?  You can complete the survey at http://www.un-ngls.org/socialintegration/en/survey.php   Your answer is limited to 1,000 words. 

Commission for Social Development

Today the 48th session of the Commission for Social Development opened at the UN in New York.  The theme is ‘Social Integration’.  If you go to the web site you can follow the theme and do some background reading.     http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/csd/2010.html    If you go to Documents you can read the Secretary General’s report on Social Integration in preparation for the Commission:  http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N09/620/59/PDF/N0962059.pdf?OpenElement  together with the two statements submitted by the GSIJP Office (1) Gender and Social Inclusion http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N09/623/65/PDF/N0962365.pdf?OpenElement and (2) Achieving Social Integration – meaningful work, social protection and social inclusion http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N09/625/27/PDF/N0962527.pdf?OpenElement   We also signed on a number of  other statements    No 1 Second Decade for the Eradication of Poverty;  No 6 People on the move – a need to include them where they are:  No 8 Responding to Climate change – striving for inclusive societies in a divided world and No 11  Legal Empowerment of the Poor.  The World Summit for Social Development (Copenhagen, 1995 has three pillars: Social Integration, Poverty Eradication and Decent Work. 

Yesterday there was the Civil Society Forum – Copenhagen + 15: Achieving a Society for All.  The NGO Committee for Social Development presented a Survey of Best Practices for Social Integration.  On the panel was Shirley O’Sullivan from Cork, representing Cork Social Housing, Ireland.  This was one of the best practices selected from the Survey.  See this link.  http://www.corksocialhousingforum.com/    In a 10 minute presentation Shirley highlighted both barriers to Social Integration and Challenges facing voluntary organizations.  Well done Shirley!  The afternoon panel, ‘Voices of the People: Civil Society Speaks’ was composed of  a number of persons who spoke of their personal experience of exclusion and how they worked towards inclusion.  We heard personal sharings from a young woman with a disability, a trafficked teenager, a migrant worker, a woman who had been imprisoned and a women who was separated from her parents because they were migrants.  The last part of the day was spend in groups strategizing how to do advocacy work around various issues – 1) The main theme of Social Integration  2) The Family  3) Ageing  4) Disability   5) Youth.  These topics were chosen because in the past 15 years since the Social Summit in Copenhagen attention has been given to these areas with the adoption of international instruments to promote inclusion and integration of social groups.  These efforts began with the Copenhagen Declaration and program for Action, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the World Programme of Action for Youth, all adopted in 1995.  This was followed with the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing in 2002, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, each adopted in 2006.  These instruments help to guide governments in developing national strategies to combat discrimination and intolerance.

New Website

The United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality have launched a new additon of their Woman Watch website.   It provides a wide range of information and resources on gender equality and empowerment of women.  It is quite comprehensive; they will be adding reference to the CEDAW statement soon.  If you want to prepare to follow the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagan why not try out this website and learn about Women, Gender Equality and Climate Change!      See:  http://www.un.org/womenwatch/feature/climate_change/


Global Women’s Forum 2010 – Grassroots Paricipation at Beijing +15

The Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd is a member of the NGO Committee of the Commission on the Status of    Women (NGOCSW).  I attend the monthly meeting and collaborate in working groups.  A subcommittee on outreach to grassroots participation for Beijing +15 is seeking help and collaboration.  If you in your ministry are able to create awareness of Beijing +15 and contribute to the Forum (a two day event in New York, February 27 and 28, 2010 immediately proceeding the 54th Session of the    Commission on the Status of Women March 1-12, 2010) some sugestions and guidelines are provided below.

Grassroots Participation at Beijing +15

A sub-Committee on Outreach to Grassroots Participation for Beijing + 15 has been established to ensure that grassroots women- women who are living and working  in their own communities on issues directly affecting their lives – are meaningfully involved in the 2010 NGO Global forum for Women and the 54th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.  In order to ensure participation of grassroots women – who are so often marginalized from global dialogues, we ask you to consider doing the following:  In preparation for the Global Forum and for CSW 54:   a)organize a  consultation process with grassroots women on the Beijing Platform for Action, and record their experiences, challenges, disappointments, and their best practices in achieving gender equality.  We will attempt to make tools and formats to guide your consultations available on the NGOCSW.org    b) Send information and reports on your consultations to: grassrootsparticipation@ngocsw.org   We will post information about and from local, national and regional consultations processes on NGOCSW.org    c) Share the contents of the Beijing Platform for Action where women have not heard of it.  Copies can be found at  http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/beijing/platform/  d)Include a grassroots women in your delegation to CSW 54, so that as many grassroots women as possible can take part in these important governmental proceedings. 

During CSW 54:  In order to ensure effective participation of grassroots women (many of whom may have never attended a global meeting before), members of NGOCSW are organizing the following events:  a) An orientation session specifically for grassroots women  b) A grassroots caucus for sharing experiences,  strategizing and networking   c)  A number of side events that will showcse grassroots women’s perspective on the Beijing Platform for Action and what they have achieved since the 4th World Conference on Women.  I f you would like to be involved in these efforts, please contact us!   Grassrootsparticipation@ngocsw.org                                           




44th Session of CEDAW July 20 – August 7, 2009 in New York

The 44th session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women opened in New York on Monday last, July 20th, 2009

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is the body of independent experts http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/membership.htm     that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women. http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/cedaw.htm  

The CEDAW Committee consists of 23 experts on women’s rights from around the world. http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/membership.htm

During its sessions the Committee considers each State party report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of concluding observations.

During the 44th session the following countries where Good Shepherd has a presence are being considered: Japan, Spain and Switzerland.  If you visit this site you can read the Government report, questions posed by the experts, written responses by the Government and the NGO Statements. http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/cedaws44.htm

The committee members are very busy while in session.  Full days are provided for each country being considered.  There are informal meetings for Non Government Organizations (NGO).

At this current session a general recommendation on older women is being proposed and a second on the economic consequences of divorce.  What is a general recommendation?  Visit this web site: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/comments.htm

Procedures for NGO participation in CEDAW can be read here.   http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/docs/NGO_Participation.final.pdf

The 45th session will be held in Geneva in January 2010 and the following countries where Good Shepherd is present will be presented:  Egypt, Netherlands and Central America – Panama http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/cedaws45.htm   Already the government reports have been submitted and the CEDAW experts have formulated their questions.  NGO have also presented their statements.

The 46th session will be in July 2010 when Albania, Argentina and Australia will be considered.  Here is an opportunity for the new community going to Albania to follow proceedings.  The country reports are already available http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/cedaws46.htm

The countries for a future session are already listed and reports recived in June /July 2009 are available in their original language.  http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/cedaws_future.htm

Countries include the Czech Republic, Kenya, Malta and Singapore.