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WOMEN'S LINKAGE CAUCUS

Recommendations on Bracketed Text in the WCW Draft Platform for Action
(A/CONF.177/L.1) August 30, 1995

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I. MISSION STATEMENT

2. [amend & retain: The Platform reaffirms the fundamental principle set forth in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action,2/ adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated and that the human rights of women and of the girl child are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights.] As an agenda for action, the Platform seeks to promote and protect [amend & retain: the full enjoyment of (delete: all universal)] all human rights and the fundamental freedoms of all women throughout their life cycle.

4. The Platform for Action requires immediate and concerted action by all to create a peaceful, just, humane and [retain: equitable] world based on the [amend & retain: (delete: universal) all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development and the] principle of equality [retain: and equity] for all people of all ages and from all walks of life.

5. The success of the Platform for Action will require a strong commitment on the part of Governments, international organizations and institutions at all levels as well as [delete: adequate] [retain: new additional] resources for the implementation of the agreements made; a commitment to equal rights, equal responsibilities and equal opportunities, and to the equal participation of women and men in all national, regional and international bodies and policymaking processes; and the establishment or strengthening of mechanisms at all levels for accountability to the world's women.

II.GLOBAL FRAMEWORK

8. The Platform for Action recognizes the importance of the agreements reached at the World Summit for Children, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, the World Conference on Human Rights, the International Conference on Population and Development, and the World Summit for Social Development, which set out specific approaches and commitments to fostering sustainable development and international cooperation and to strengthening the role of the United Nations to that end. Similarly, the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, the International Conference on Nutrition, the International Conference on Primary Health Care and the World Conference on Education for All have addressed the various facets of development and [delete: universally recognized] human rights, within their specific perspectives, paying significant attention to the role of women and girls. In addition, the International Year of the World's Indigenous People,4/ the International Year of the Family,5/ the United Nations Year for Tolerance,6/ the Geneva Declaration for Rural Women,7/ and the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women8/ have also emphasized the issues of women's empowerment and equality.

9. [amend & retain: The Platform for Action is drawn up in full conformity with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and international law. It is recognized that the formulation and implementation of strategies, policies, and programmes and actions in all areas of concern are the responsibility of each country, with full respect for (delete: the various) [delete: religious ethical values, cultural background and philosophical convictions of all its people] and in conformity with all [delete: universal] human rights and fundamental freedoms.]

11. [retain: The World Conference on Human Rights recognized that the human rights of women and the girl child are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights. [retain: The universal nature of these human rights and freedoms is beyond question.] The full and equal participation of women in political, civil, economic, social and cultural life at the national, regional and international levels, and the eradication of all forms of discrimination on the grounds of sex are priority objectives of the international community.]

12. [retain: The World Conference on Human Rights reaffirmed the solemn commitment of all States to fulfill their obligations to promote universal respect for, and observance and protection of, all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, other instruments related to human rights and international law. The universal nature of these rights and freedoms is beyond question.]

13. The end of the cold war has resulted in international changes and diminished competition between the superPowers. The threat of a global armed conflict has diminished, while international relations have improved and prospects for peace among nations have increased. Although the threat of global conflict has been reduced, wars of aggression, armed conflicts, [retain: alien domination and foreign occupation], civil wars, terrorism and [retain: extremist violence] continue to plague many parts of the world. Grave violations of the human rights of women occur, particularly in times of armed conflict, and include murder, torture, systematic rape, [retain: forced pregnancy] retain: and forced] abortion, in particular under policies of "ethnic cleansing".

14. The maintenance of peace and security at the global, regional and local levels, together with the prevention of policies of aggression and ethnic cleansing and the resolution of armed conflict, is crucial for the protection of the [delete: universal] human rights of women and girl children, as well as for the elimination of all forms of violence against them and of their use as a weapon of war.

15. [retain: Consequently, a huge portion of global expenditures has been devoted to the production of arms and trafficking and trade in arms, thus substantially reducing resources for social development. Moreover, the debt burden has forced many developing countries to undertake structural adjustment policies that are detrimental to their social development. The number of people living in poverty has therefore increased disproportionately in most developing countries, particularly the heavily indebted countries, during the past decade.]

17. A world-wide movement towards democratization has opened up the political process in many nations, but the popular participation of women in key decision-making as full and equal partners with men, particularly in politics, has not yet been achieved. [retain: South Africa's policy of institutionalized racism - apartheid - has been dismantled and a peaceful and democratic transfer of power has occurred.] [retain: Similarly, in Central and Eastern Europe the transition to parliamentary democracy has been rapid and relatively peaceful. In some countries of the same region, this process has been followed by armed conflict that has resulted in grave violations of human rights.]27. The growing strength of the nongovernmental sector, particularly women's organizations, [retain: and others that support feminist ideals] has become a driving force for change. Non governmental organizations have played an important advocacy role in advancing legislation or mechanisms to ensure the promotion of women. They have also become catalysts for new approaches to development. Many Governments have increasingly recognized the important role that nongovernmental organizations play and the importance of working with them for progress. [retain: Yet, in some countries, Governments continue to restrict the ability of non governmental organizations to operate freely.] Women, through nongovernmental organizations, have participated in and strongly influenced community, national, regional and global forums and international debates.

30. [amend & retain: Women and men play a critical role in the family, in its various forms, the basic unit of society. (delete: States Parties that have ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women have done so bearing in mind the great) However, the contribution of women to the welfare of their families and to the development of society, (delete: which is still) has not been fully recognized, measured and valued. (delete: They have also borne in mind) The social significance of (delete: maternity and the role of both parents in the family and in the upbringing of children, and are aware that the role of women in procreation should not be a basis for discrimination but that) parenting should be recognized and supported by social policy and social structures. The upbringing of children requires a sharing of responsibility between women and men and society as a whole, and women should not be discriminated against on the basis of their role in procreation and childrearing.]

31. [amend & retain: Religion and spirituality (delete: plays a central role in) affect the lives of millions of women, in the way they live and the aspirations they have for the future. (delete: While any form of) Religious extremism, (delete: religious or secular,) has a negative impact on women in the form of violence and discrimination. A moral and ethical climate (delete: that prevents all forms of corruption in society and exploitation of women), respectful of women's human rights-as well as that of every person-to conscience and to freedom from religious intolerance and discrimination is needed if equality, development and peace are to be realized. The serious issues with which the world is confronted today require a more effective response by societies not only to the material but also to the spiritual needs of individuals, including women.)]

33. Many women face particular barriers because of various diverse factors in addition to their gender. Often these diverse factors isolate or marginalize such women - they are, inter alia, denied their [delete: universal] human rights and fundamental freedoms, they lack access or are denied access to education and vocational training, employment, housing and economic self-sufficiency, as well and they are excluded from decision-making processes. Such women are often denied the opportunity to contribute to their communities as part of the mainstream.

35. In the past 20 years, the world has seen an explosion in the field of communications. With advances in computer technology and satellite and cable television, global access to information continues to increase and expand, creating new opportunities for the participation of women in communications and the mass media and for the dissemination of information about women. On the other hand, the global communication networks have been used to spread stereotyped and demeaning images of women for narrow commercial and consumerist purposes. Until women participate equally in both the technical and decision-making areas of communications and the mass media, including the arts, they will continue to be misrepresented and awareness of the reality of women's lives will continue to be lacking. [amend & retain: The commitment to promoting women's human rights and equality as well as human values and dignity on the part of the mass media is seriously lacking]38. Global trends have brought profound changes in family survival strategies and structure[retain:s]. Rural to urban migration has increased substantially in all regions. The global urban population is projected to reach 57 per cent of the total population by the year 2000. An estimated 125 million people are migrants, refugees and displaced persons, half of whom live in developing countries. These massive movements of people have profound consequences for family structure[retain: s] and well-being and have unequal consequences for women and men, including in many cases the sexual exploitation of women.

40. Since 1975, significant knowledge and information has been generated about the status of women and the conditions in which they live. Throughout their entire life cycle, women's daily existence and longterm aspirations are restricted by discriminatory attitudes, unjust social and economic structures, and a lack of resources in most countries that prevent their full and equal participation. In a number of countries, the practice of prenatal sex selection, higher rates of mortality among very young girls and lower rates of school enrolment for girls as compared with boys suggest that "son preference" is curtailing the access of girl children to food, education and health-care [amend & retain: (delete: and even life itself) survival]. [delete: Discrimination against women begins even before birth and must therefore be addressed from birth/then onwards.]

41. The girl child of today is the woman of tomorrow. The skills, ideas and energy of the girl child are vital for full attainment of the goals of equality, development and peace. For the girl child to develop her full potential she needs to be nurtured in an enabling environment, where her [delete: spiritual as well as material] [delete: spiritual, intellectual as well as material] needs for survival, protection and development are met and her equal rights safeguarded. If women are to be equal partners with men, in every aspect of life and development, now is the time to recognize the human dignity and worth of the girl child and to ensure the full enjoyment of her human rights and fundamental freedoms including the rights assured by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, universal ratification of which is strongly urged. Yet there exists worldwide evidence of discrimination and violence against girls [delete: that begins even before they are born [delete: from conception] (delete: and) that continues unabated throughout their lives.] They often have less access to nutrition, physical and mental health-care and education and enjoy fewer rights, opportunities and benefits of childhood and adolescence than do boys. [retain: They are often subjected to [retain: various forms of] sexual and economic exploitation, [delete: pedophelia, prostitution, forced prostitution and trafficking in human organs and tissues] violence and harmful practices, such as [retain: prenatal sex selection, delete: foetcide], infanticide, incest, female genital mutilation and [delete: forced] early marriage.

42. More than half the world's population is under the age of 25 and most of the world's youth - more than 80 per cent - live in developing countries. Policy makers must recognize the implications of these demographic factors. Special measures must be taken to ensure that young women have the life skills necessary for active and effective participation in all levels of social, cultural, political and economic leadership. It will be critical for the international community to demonstrate a new commitment to the future - a commitment to inspiring a new generation of women and men to work together for a more just society. This new generation of leaders must accept and promote a world in which every child is free from injustice, oppression and inequality, and free to develop to her/his own potential. The principle of equality [delete: and equity] of women and men must therefore be integral to the socialization process.

* * *

The following paragraph is proposed for inclusion in chapter IV:

Short-term measures and the reformulation of longterm social policies and investments are required for a more [delete: equitable] [retain: equal] sharing of family responsibilities between women and men. [retain: Women have different requirements at various stages of their life cycle, which need to be addressed by policy planning and programme and project implementation based on gender-sensitive analyses.]

The following paragraph is proposed for inclusion in chapter V:

[retain: The international conferences, summits and processes described above are evidence that there are significant challenges facing the world that the world is prepared to meet. Recognition of the role of women in meeting these challenges is a prerequisite for achieving equality and for the shared responsibility of women and men. International consensus exists on the role of women in development and the international community must commit itself to action to implement the strategies outlined in the Platform for Action. However, implementation also requires commitments from Governments. Thus, as the Fourth World Conference on Women is a Conference of commitment and action, States have responded to the challenge by separately stating national commitments for national action within the context of the Platform for Action, which will result in practical outcomes for girls and women of all ages. The specific commitments of each nation appear in an annex to the present Platform for Action.]

III. CRITICAL AREAS OF CONCERN

43. The advancement of women and the achievement of [delete: respect for their innate dignity and the fundamental] equality between women and men are [retain: a matter of human rights and a condition for] [delete: not simply an issue of] social justice and should not be seen in isolation as a women's issue. It is the only way to build a sustainable, just and developed society. Empowerment of women and equality [retain: and equity] between women and men are prerequisites for achieving political, social, economic, cultural and environmental security among all peoples.

46. To this end, Governments, the international community and civil society, including nongovernmental organizations and the private sector are called upon to take strategic action in the following critical areas of concern [retain: with full respect for religious and ethical values, cultural backgrounds and philosophical convictions and in conformity with all human rights and fundamental freedoms]

;[retain:- The persistent and increasing burden of poverty on women


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