Draft Platform for Action
I. [Lack of awareness of and commitment to [internationally and nationally recognized] human rights of women] [The enjoyment of [all] [universal] human rights by women]

*[213. Human rights and fundamental freedoms are the birthright of all human beings; their protection and promotion is the first responsibility of Governments.

* The placement and the coherence of the text have not yet been agreed.

*The World Conference on Human Rights reaffirmed the solemn commitment of all States to fulfil their obligation 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 relating to human rights, and international law. The universal nature of these rights and freedoms is beyond question.

*The Platform for Action reaffirms that all human rights - civil, cultural, economic, political and social, including the right to development - are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated, as expressed in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. The World Conference on Human

Rights reaffirms that the human rights of women and the girl child are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights. The full and equal enjoyment of all [universal] human rights and fundamental freedoms by women and girls [is a requirement of international law] [is essential for advancement of women].]

214. Equal rights of men and women are explicitly mentioned in the Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations. [All the major international human rights instruments include sex as one of the grounds upon which States may not discriminate, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination 26/ and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as the Declaration on the Right to Development 27/ and the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women.]

215. Governments must not only refrain from violating the human rights of all women, but must work actively to promote and protect these rights. [Nevertheless, it should be taken into account that the activities of the United Nations in the area of human rights should be rationalized, streamlined and reinforced [taking into account the need to] [in order to] avoid unnecessary duplication.] Recognition of the importance of the human rights of women is reflected in the fact that three quarters of the States Members of the United Nations have become parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

216. [The World Conference on Human Rights reaffirmed clearly that the human rights of women throughout the life cycle are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights. The International Conference on Population and Development reaffirmed women's reproductive rights and the right to development. Both the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child guarantee children's rights and uphold the principle of non-discrimination on the grounds of gender. Three quarters of the States Members of the United Nations have become parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. An increasing number of countries have established mechanisms to enable women to exercise their rights.]

217. The gap between the existence of rights and their effective enjoyment derives from a lack of commitment by Governments to promoting and protecting those rights and the failure of Governments to inform women and men alike about them. The lack of appropriate recourse mechanisms at the national and international levels, and inadequate resources at both levels, compound the problem. In most countries, steps have been taken to reflect the rights guaranteed by the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in national law. A number of countries have established mechanisms to strengthen women's ability to exercise their rights.

218. In order to protect the human rights of women, it is necessary to avoid, as far as possible, resorting to reservations and to ensure that no reservation is incompatible with the object and purpose of the Convention [or is otherwise contrary to international treaty law]. Unless the human rights of women, as defined by international human rights instruments, are fully recognized and effectively protected, applied, implemented and enforced in national law as well as in national practice in family, civil, penal, labour and commercial codes and administrative rules and regulations, they will exist in name only.

219. In those countries that have not yet become parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and other international human rights instruments, or where reservations that are incompatible with the object or purpose of the Convention have been entered, or where national laws have not yet been revised to implement international norms and standards, women's [de jure] equality is not yet secured. [Women's full enjoyment of equal rights is undermined by the discrepancies between some national legislation and international law and international instruments on human rights, overly complex administrative procedures, lack of awareness within the judicial process and inadequate monitoring of the violation of the human rights of all women, coupled with the underrepresentation of women in justice systems, insufficient information on existing rights and persistent attitudes and practices that perpetuate women's inequality.] [Lack of enforcement of family, civil, penal, labour and commercial codes or administrative rules and regulations have undermined women's access to the protection offered under international human rights instruments.]

220. Every person should be entitled to participate, to contribute to and to enjoy cultural, economic, political and social development. In many cases women and girls suffer discrimination in the allocation of economic and social resources. This directly violates their economic, social and cultural rights.

[They also suffer from the negative effects of structural adjustment policies.]

221. [The human rights of all women and girls [should form an integral part of] [must be integrated in] United Nations human rights activities.] Intensified efforts are needed to integrate the equal status and the human rights of all women and girls into the mainstream of United Nations system-wide activities and to address these issues regularly and systematically throughout relevant bodies and mechanisms. This requires, inter alia, improved cooperation and coordination between the Commission on the Status of Women, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Commission on Human Rights, including its special and thematic rapporteurs, independent experts, working groups and its Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, the Commission on Sustainable Development, the Commission for Social Development, the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and other human rights treaty bodies, and all relevant entities of the United Nations system, including the specialized agencies [and cooperation is needed also in order to strengthen and rationalize the structure and activities [in order to] [taking into account the need to] avoid unnecessary duplication.]

222. [[Gender] analysis applied to human rights law has shown that the formal requirement of equal treatment of men and women does not take into consideration the systematic nature of discrimination against women. Consequently, if the goal of universal realization of human rights for all is to be achieved, [universally accepted] international human rights [law] instruments must be applied in a way that takes this fact into account.]

223. [The World Conference on Human Rights and the International Conference on Population and Development [which did not create any human rights] reaffirm [all aspects of the [universal] human rights of women, including] women's reproductive rights [as defined in the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, taking into consideration the reservations to the Programme of Action] and the right to development.] Bearing in mind the definitions given in chapter II, chapter VII, paragraph 7.2, and chapter VIII of the Programme of Action 13/ [reproductive rights rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health. It also includes their right to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence, as expressed in human rights documents. [Therefore, the unique reproductive and productive roles of women [and men] must be recognized and valued.] [Changes in both men's and women's consciousness, attitudes and behaviour are necessary conditions for achieving harmonious partnerships between women and men. It is essential to improve communication between women and men on issues of shared responsibility, including sexuality and reproductive health, so that women and men are equal partners in public and private life. Special efforts are needed to emphasize men's shared responsibility and promote their active involvement in responsible parenthood and sexual and reproductive behaviour.]

224. [Changes in both men's and women's knowledge, attitudes and behaviour are necessary conditions for achieving harmonious partnerships between women and men. It is essential to improve communication between women and men on issues of shared responsibility, including sexuality and reproductive health, so that women and men are equal partners in public and private life. Special efforts are needed to emphasize men's shared responsibility and promote their active involvement in responsible parenthood and sexual and reproductive behaviour.]

225. [Violence against women both violates and impairs or nullifies the enjoyment by women of human rights and fundamental freedoms. There has been a long-standing failure to protect and promote these rights and freedoms in relation to violence against women. Gender-based violence and all forms of sexual harassment, prostitution, pornography, sexual slavery and exploitation, including those violations resulting from cultural prejudice, racism and racial discrimination, xenophobia, ethnic cleansing, religious and anti-religious extremism and international trafficking in women and children, are incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person and must be eliminated. Any harmful aspect of certain traditional, customary or modern practices that violates the rights of women should be prohibited and eliminated. Governments should take urgent action to combat and eliminate all forms of violence against women in private and public life, whether perpetrated or tolerated by the State or private persons especially in situations [or experienced as a result] of armed conflict, [foreign occupation] or terrorism. Special emphasis must be placed on the prevention of violence against women.]

(First alternative)

[Violence against women both violates and impairs or nullifies the enjoyment by women of human rights and fundamental freedoms. There has been a long-standing failure to protect and promote these rights and freedoms in relation to violence against women. All forms of gender-based violence, including those resulting from armed conflict, foreign occupation, racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, ethnic cleansing, extremism, terrorism, cultural prejudice and international trafficking [in women and children] are incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person and must be eliminated. [To this end] urgent action and effective measures by Governments and the international community must be taken to eliminate all forms of violence against women.]

(Second alternative)

[Violence against women both violates and impairs or nullifies the enjoyment by women of human rights and fundamental freedoms. There has been a long-standing failure to protect and promote these rights and freedoms in relation to violence against women. Special emphasis must be placed on the prevention of violence against women.]

226. [Women in particularly vulnerable circumstances, such as migrants, including migrant women workers, refugees or [internally] displaced women or those belonging to racial or ethnic minorities or indigenous groups, are often disadvantaged and marginalized by their lack of knowledge and recognition of their human rights and the absence of recourse mechanisms to redress violations of their rights. The factors that cause the flight of refugee and [internally] displaced women may be different from those affecting men. Refugee and [internally] displaced women continue to be vulnerable to abuses of their human rights while in flight and in countries of asylum and resettlement because of the varied effects of their displacement, including a lack of access to human rights recourse mechanisms and to information on their rights. Such effects of displacement may also be experienced by other migrant women.]

(Alternative)

[Many women face additional barriers in the enjoyment of their human rights because of such factors as their race, language, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation, disability or socio-economic class or because they are indigenous people, migrants, displaced people or refugees. They are also disadvantaged and marginalized by a lack of knowledge and recognition of their human rights as well as by the obstacles they meet in getting access to information and recourse mechanisms in cases of violation of their rights.]

227. While women are increasingly using the legal system to exercise their rights, in many countries lack of awareness of the existence of these rights is an obstacle to full enjoyment of their human rights and the attainment of equality. Experience in many countries has shown that women can be empowered and motivated to assert their rights, regardless of their level of education or socio-economic status. Legal literacy programmes and media strategies have been effective in helping women to understand the link between their rights and other aspects of their lives and in demonstrating that cost-effective initiatives can be undertaken to help women obtain those rights. Provision of human rights education is essential for promoting an understanding of the human rights of women, including knowledge of recourse mechanisms to redress violations of their rights. It is necessary for all individuals, especially women in vulnerable circumstances, to have full knowledge of their rights and access to legal recourse against violations of their rights.

228. Women engaged in the defence of human rights must be protected. Governments have a duty to guarantee the full enjoyment of all rights set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights by women working peacefully in a personal or organizational capacity for the promotion and protection of human rights. Non-governmental organizations and women's organizations [and feminist groups] have played a catalytic role in the promotion of the human rights of women, through grass-roots activities, networking and advocacy, and need encouragement, support and access to information from Governments in order to carry out these activities.

229. In addressing the enjoyment of human rights, Governments and other actors should promote an active and visible policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective in all policies and programmes so that, before decisions are taken, an analysis is made of the effects on women and men respectively.

[Apply and enforce international norms and standards to promote and safeguard the full and equal enjoyment by women of all human rights]


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