On The Brink of CSW61!

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The Commission on the Status of Women 61st Session will open officially on Monday morning March 13th at  10.00 am in the UN General Assembly Hall. The NGO’s will start with Consultation Day on Sunday March 12 from 9.00 a.m. to 3.30 in the afternoon.  Already participants are beginning to arrive delegates from the various member states and groups of women from all over the world.  8,600 people have pre-registered to attend – a record number.  Yesterday afternoon the Chair of the Commission H.E. Mr. Antonio de Aguiar Patriota (Brazil), gave a final briefing to NGO outlining what is planned.  Of particular interest to me was information on the current status of the outcome document.  The first reading is completed.  Ms. Fatma Al Zahraa Hassan (Egypt), is the chair for the negotiations.  This first reading was based on the compilation text of February 28   We are awaiting a new version based on the first reading.

This years’ CSW  is breaking new ground addressing the issue of women’s unpaid care work.  It was noted that there is a lot of similar language and common ground  in a document that went from 6 pages to over 70 pages.

During the briefing I made two observations: one in relation to social protection and the second about girls.  There are over 31 references to social protection systems but only two times is there reference to  social protection floors.  We need implementation of social protection floors as a tool towards women’s economic empowerment as social protection systems are tied to employment.  I asked that this be noted in the ongoing negotiations.  Secondly, there are multiple references to girls but always tagged to women … ‘girls and women’ or ‘women and girls’ but there is no stand alone paragraph on empowering girls through education as the surest way of empowering the women of the future.

There are many references to ending trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation .. noting that women and girls are particularly vulnerable to trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced marriage, forced labour, services and other forms of exploitation, and recognizing the link between migration and trafficking in persons.

 

 

16 Days Campaign to end Gender Based Violence November 25 – December 10

Today is day 3 of the campaign.  Mercy Global Action at the UN in partnership with Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd are engaging in the full 16 days of activism.  #16Days16Stories is part of the UN sponsored 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence. Our campaign focuses on the experience of formerly trafficked women and girls who give testimony to gender discrimination and marginalization from childhood into early adulthood.  Their stories, told in their own words, highlight the many human rights violations and cumulative disadvantages in their life journeys. Through their stories, survivor advocates provide key insights into preventative measures to end human trafficking.

The launch video and 16 stories can be accessed by clicking on  #16days16stories  Each day a new video is uploaded.  On the 25th we heard from Aleta who said “from the time I was born I labelled myself as a disgrace because I was born as a result of my parent’s extramarital affair.” On the 26th Emerita who was born in 1992 in Mindanao said “I am the fourth of five children. My father worked in a fishing company owned by his friend but was later fired by the owner because my father had a mistress in the office,” and today November 27th  Katrina shared “when I was two, my mother and father left us in the care of our elder brother, who was 12 at that time. They went to Cebu for work, an island far away from where we lived…”  Having read to the testimony of each women the viewer is asked to reflect for a few moments;  presented with points to ponder and suggested actions to take.

A Guide to using the Videos was also prepared.

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The 16 days of activism against gender-based Violence Campaign has as its theme this year ‘From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World’ and proposed that organizations around the world plan a twitter teach-in.   If interested in knowing more about a twitter teach-in  Click Here!    @gsijp  @mercyworldwide are the Twitter handles using #16days16stories and #GBVteachin   The Twitter Teach in @gsijp @mercyworldwide follows the points to ponder and take action of the 16 videos.

Read the book  ‘I Have A Voice – Trafficked Women in their own Words‘ by Angela Reed.  Tomorrow Leah tells her story.  (Please note the videos are available on Vimeo at HERE

Ending Human Trafficking by 2030: The role of Global Partnership in Eradicating Modern Slavery

The Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations hosted an event on Ending Human Trafficking by 2030 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.  The event is over three hours long and made up of a number of panels.  It is a very informative event.  The panels included a keynote panel, followed by a panel on ‘The Scope of the Problem and the Opportunities it Provides.’  The third panel  focused on ‘What Is Being Done To Address the Problem in a Coordinated Way,’ followed by ‘Insights from Member States’ and closing.  Link to the Web cast

machariakamau_0_0The most outstanding speaker for me was H.E. Macharia Kamau, Kenya’s Ambassador to the United Nations and one of the Co-Chairs of Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. See the full Program of speakers. Ambassador Kamau of all the speakers identified clearly what needs to be done to bring about change. He spoke from his experience. The resistances referred to are real and constitute the challenges that must be addressed.  If you wish to listen to his address move the marker to 3.01 approx.  Ambassador Kamau said ‘it is interesting that we are having this conversation this evening on modern slavery because when I was working for the Sustainable Development Goals, which I was co-charing, you cannot imagine how difficult it was to get these key issues on board. When working on 8.7 it took the direct intervention of the Pope himself – I was sitting there and I know because I scripted it.  These issues were incredible complex, but I am thrilled to see all are on board, and wanting to get on with the business of finishing this scourge from the face of the earth.

For us,  those of us of colour, this is not something we see as a modern phenomena. It is deeply rooted in our history, and our being for over 500 years. There is a monument outside, dedicated to modern slavery, slavery period really – transatlantic slavery, but it could equally be the Indian Ocean Slavery. I don’t know if many of you have seen it?  It took the United Nations  almost 70 odd years to mobilize the gumption to actually put it there.  You would not believe the amount of resistance we have faced over the past 10 years to have a monument to slavery, here at the United Nations.

I am thrilled that there seems to be such voices speaking for this issue and that everyone is finally on board on this issue.  Indeed the Pope was clear, the Pope was clear on many other things too – climate change, inequality, and I want you to know that we were confronted by a huge amount of resistance to have these issues included.  Issues of slavery, of human trafficking, are horrific issues that have deep roots in history, and has deep roots in our psychology. It represents a racism, misogyny, horrible prejudices that have warped the way in which the world functions, to this very day.

We should be clear, if we are serious about the issue of modern slavery, we need to fundamentally reassess the way in which we are in modern society, the way we have been as human beings to each other, the way in which we are as human beings to each other.

8.7 is just a target.  8.7 is a target among 169 other targets.  But I can assure you that 8.7 will mean absolutely nothing, if we are unable to take care of other fundamental challenges that have to do with the way we as  human beings reach out to each other.  How are we able to allow and facilitate the development of all society so that within our countries  inequalities disappear.  Besides those people who are trafficked are trafficked from our countries and they are going to destinations that are in our countries.

We have to take structural responsibility for this.  All the legislation, and good will in the world, if not followed by change of will and a change of mentality, as to how we treat each other, and as to how we embrace each other as human beings,   will mean in the end that we will not succeed.

I am afraid, whether we are talking of unemployment, inequality, issues of gender or climate change which has a direct impact on forcing people into slavery, as their land becomes destroyed – when, the where with all to live off that land is decimated by drought, it is impossible that you expect that these people will not be carted off into all kinds of exploitation, including modern slavery

My message to this forum – yes 8.7!   8.7 helps us to focus,  but 8.7,  this is only symptomatic of a  fundamental and structural challenge that faces us human being, and us as a collective global society.  Somehow, we have to find the belief and the determination to undertake the real structural transformation that is needed in our societies and economies in order to be be able to do what it is we claim to be doing to combat abuse, slavery and exploitation of one human being by the other.

Nuncio, I could tell you about what Kenya is doing – we have legislation of all kinds and acts on the books for a long time.  I bet that Nigeria has probably as many as we do, but if fundamentals do not change, nothing will change.  My sincere hope is that the Pope will continue to focus all our attentions on this issue, in his way, in a manner that challenges us to go beyond the issue of slavery which is a horrific issue, but touches on the way in which we receive each other, embrace each other and ultimately give a space to each other to live in this world as equal being.”

You might ask what is 8.7 ?  This is a way of referring to Sustainable Goal 8   ‘Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all’

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and Target 7  ‘Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.

Other Highlights:  Ms Dona Hubbard witnessed to her personal experience.  An inspiration – see Marker 1.09.  Dona is a member of Airline Ambassadors International.

Imelda Poole of RENATE was a panelist see marker at 1.22 RENATE is a network of religious throughout Europe engaged in ministry to trafficked persons.    Imelda Poole

Human trafficking is mentioned in the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development in two other places.  Paragraph 27 which is the declaration part of the Agenda states “We will seek to build strong economic foundations for all our countries.  Sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth essential for prosperity.  This will only be possible if wealth is shared and income inequality is addressed.  We will work to build  dynamic, sustainable, innovative and people-centered economies, promoting youth employment, and women’s economic empowerment, in particular, and decent work for all.  We will eradicate forced labour and human trafficking and end child labour in all its forms…”   Goal 5 Target 2  states ‘Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private Spheres, including trafficking  and sexual and other types of exploitation.”  Goal 16 Target 2 “End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children.”

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A World Where All Girls Can Reach Their Full Potential

Click on Ending Child, Early and Forced Marriage to see the webcast from the United Nations.  The event took place yesterday September 22 and was sponsored by Canada, Italy, Yemen and Zambia and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).  The Working Group on Girls through the Anglican Women’s Empowerment sponsored one of the panelist bringing her from Kenya.  Her name is Faith.  Listen to her address the UN Member States.  Well done Faith!  End FGM and Child, Early and Forced Marriage Now!

Profits and Poverty: the economics of forced labour.

Profits and PovertyA new report from the ILO investigates the underlying factors that drive forced labour, of which a major one is illegal profits.  Figures will include a breakdown of profits by area of forced labour and by region. Per capita profits are highest in commercial sexual exploitation, which can be explained by the demand for such services and the prices clients ar willing to pay, and low capital investment and by the low operating costs associated with this activity.  Read more in  English    Spanish   French

How is forced labour defined?   A definition of forced labour enshrined in the ILO’s Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (29) adopted in 1930 reads ‘the definition encompasses all forms of work or service, whether formal or informal, legal or illegal. Forced labour also requires an element of coercion (“menace of penalty”) to distinguish it from labour exploitation more broadly. The free and informed consent of workers throughout the labour relationship is another important element of the definition. Convention No 29 requires member States to make forced labour a penal offense; hence the exaction of forced labour is not a minor labour law violation but a criminal act. As such, it is closely related to the concept of human trafficking as defined by the UN Protocol of 2000 to Prevent, suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime. The Protocol makes trafficking in persona a criminal offence. All exploitative purposes of trafficking are covered by the ILO’s Forced Labour definition with the exception of trafficking for the purpose of the removal of organs. (page 3) 

16 Day of Activism Against Gender Based Violence November 25 to December 10

16 daysThe theme for 2013 is ‘From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women!’  Informative materials are available at Click here in  العربية,Bahasa IndonesiaBosanskiБългарски,中文 DeutschEnglishEspañol,Français (Côted’Ivoire)Français (Tunisia)ÍslenskaItaliano, Kalenjin,ភាសាខ្មែរLatvijaNederlandsPolski,Portugués, Românăрусский,SlovenščinaSrpskiSvenska,             Türkçe,украї́нська мо́ваXhosa.

The campaign emphasizes that women’s rights are human rights and acknowledges the role of patriarchal systems that embody harmful traditions and legal policies that normalize violences against women, and deny women their rights to a life of dignity.

The normalization of violence was a point that we addressed in our booklet ‘Ending Violence Against Women and Girls’  See page 7Ending Violence 34 “Some respondents reported that in their respective cultures, it is common for physical or even sexual violence to be committed against a woman or girl as punishment, for a crime as defined by the perpetrator. To make matters worse, the reality is that many women and girls suffering from acts of violence accept this treatment either due to cultural or societal pressure, or simply out of a lack of knowledge of their human right to live free of such violence. For instance, in societies with traditional gender roles and attitudes toward marriage and divorce, it may be more difficult to leave a partner even if violent, thus women continue to endure ongoing abuse.  Respondents from Egypt, India, and Myanmar all reported that an “environment that easily accepts acts of violence against women, that normalizes the fact that women are beaten, and that considers women inferior to men” poses a challenge to introducing concepts of gender equality and women’s rights.

Two respondents from Uruguay and Venezuela, identified ‘Macho culture’ as a catalyst for violence against women, and a hindrance to achieving gender equality. Macho culture, which takes on different meanings depending on the culture, is problematic in that it puts pressure on men to dominate and exert control over women, in order to affirm their masculinity, even if it requires the use of violence.”

See French ‘Mettre fin à la violence faite aux femmes et aux filles

See Spanish ‘Poner fin a la violencia contra las niñas y las mujeres

See Chinese     終止對女孩和婦人的暴力 全球善牧24 個國家的服務調查

Follow what is happening on Facebook and use Twitter handles @16DaysCampaign; @CWGLR Rutgers and hashtag #16days

There is a 16 days Take Action Kit Here in multiple languages.  There is a Brochure, 5 Fact Sheets, Information on CSW 58, Suggested Grant Proposal Guidelines, Sample Social Media Posts and Logos.

Find your logo here

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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