The informal-informal group discussing Chapter IV (Strategic Objectives and Actions), Critical Area D, "Violence against women," met Tuesday and Wednesday. A text had been compiled from amendments submitted last week, but the working document was an eleven page text, shortened from the original thirty-one page compilation text. Because the room was very small, the Wednesday sessions were closed to all non- delegates.
On Wednesday, several delegates noted that the process seemed to be progressing more smoothly and that more effort was being made to reach consensus. Negotiators tried to use language from previous documents, particularly the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women. One delegate noted that an issue of discussion was whether to use "domestic violence" (which had not yet been defined), "violence in the family" or "spousal abuse." Another problem area was the paragraph referring to other examples of violence against women, including forced sterilization and abortion, and female infanticide. By the end of the morning session, the delegates had defined violence and where it occurs. The G-77/China tried to present a common position, but several of its members presented their own amendments. For instance, "and equity" appears throughout the text in brackets following references to "equality," and in paragraph 89 (violence in the family), a large amendment referring to family, values and morals was introduced and bracketed. The afternoon session progressed fairly smoothly until paragraph 93 (trafficking in women and girls), where, although the main points were agreed, there were disputes over language. Many amendments were considered throughout the negotiations, and text was pulled in from the first draft document. The session met again in the evening, "hoping" to finish the Strategic Objectives and Actions on section D by Wednesday night.
The section of the draft Platform dealing with access to health was expected to give rise to contentious debate. Since the attempt to conduct a first reading has been abandoned, Western delegations have been trying to amalgamate their positions, the G- 77/China has continued to draw up amendments, and two UN agencies (WHO and UNFPA) have been called in to facilitate the drafting. The absence of a first reading of this section, however, has led to strong criticism from NGO representatives who fear that it may be referred to Beijing without returning to the Drafting Group.
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