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WORKING GROUP I

Working Group I, chaired by Nana Ama Yeboa (Ghana), convened to negotiate Chapter IV, Section C (health), during an afternoon session.

In paragraph 91 (definition of women's health), the EU replaced a reference to inequality as "the" major barrier to women's health with "a" major barrier. The Holy See, supported by Sudan, Mexico and Canada, proposed replacing a reference to inequality "among women" with language from the IPCD, adding references to different geographical regions, social classes and indigenous and ethnic groups.

In paragraph 94 (factors contributing to unequal access), Yemen proposed a reference to family and marital relations. The Holy See agreed to remove brackets around a reference to the limited power women have over their sexual and reproductive lives, after Cuba, supported by Jamaica, the EU and others, noted that the text had been previously agreed in Cairo. A bracketed reference to the right of women to control their own fertility provoked a long discussion. Suriname, supported by Zaire, the US and others, proposed accepting the text, but the Holy See and others preferred "ability" to "right." Argentina suggested deleting the bracketed text on the grounds that the FWCW does not have a mandate to determine rights. Ecuador could not accept an enshrinement of a right that is not in its legislation. Israel noted that this right is already enshrined in CEDAW. No agreement was reached, and the Holy See suggested sending the text to a contact group.

In paragraph 95 (access to nutrition and health), no decision was reached on bracketed language on counselling and access to confidential sexual and reproductive information and services. The EU said privacy and a reference to parental responsibility could not be linked, due to issues such as sexual abuse. The Holy See, citing ICPD, supported the reference to parents. Some delegations objected to "services." Chair Yeboa announced the formation of a contact group to examine the chapter on health. The first meeting, chaired by Mervat Tallawy (Egypt), met Tuesday evening.

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