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WORKING GROUP II

Working Group II continued its consideration of the section on human rights, under Chair Irene Freudenschuss (Austria). The G77/China accepted Mexico's proposal for paragraph 230 (l) (optional protocol on CEDAW), and proposed a reformulation of 230 (h) (implementation of CEDAW), deleting a reference to the revision of non-conforming laws, policies and practices. Both paragraphs are now bracket-free.

In paragraph 232(o) (rights of human rights activists), the Holy See proposed a reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), but the EU expressed doubts. Brazil, supported by Sri Lanka and G77/China, proposed a reference to other human rights instruments. Cuba suggested using language from the Vienna Declaration for the reference to national law. Delegates accepted the new formulation with references to: the UDHR and other human rights instruments; the protection of national laws; NGOs and their members; and various rights.

In the chapeau of 233 (actions to be taken), delegates agreed to call for action by governments and NGOs. In 233(g) (promoting education on legal and human rights), text was amended so that education would be promoted "including" programmes in the most widely used language.

Delegates next conducted a first reading of the draft Beijing Declaration and identified their priorities. The EU submitted amendments to the G77/China proposal, and stressed the human rights of girl children and women, full participation in decision making, and equality of women in all policies. The G77/China, supported by many countries, proposed that its draft serve as the basis of negotiation. Russia supported the EU language regarding protection of all human rights and respect for ethnic differences. Sudan said the EU draft introduced new rights not agreed at Cairo, including sexual rights. India stressed power sharing, resource commitments and poverty eradication. Cyprus said all proposed texts fall short on the issue of peace.

Senegal supported rights of women "from conception." Slovenia said the Declaration should enlarge and recognize women and girls' sexual and reproductive health rights. Iran said the EU draft surpasses guidelines and that sexual and reproductive rights do not appeal to a wide range of audiences. The United Arab Emirate said the family should be the main nucleus with an accent on cultural rights of women. Nicaragua and Haiti emphasized women in poverty. Australia said the Declaration should mark the Conference as one of national commitments.

The Chair noted general agreement to use the G77/China language as the basis for negotiations and established a Contact Group under Amb. Olga Pellicer (Mexico). The Contact Group met Wednesday afternoon and agreed to resume Thursday after the G77/China considers the EU and other suggested amendments to its draft.

Delegates considered Chapter IV, Section E (armed conflict) during the afternoon session. The EU proposed a reformulation of paragraph 132 (description of armed conflict). The G77/China proposed lifting the brackets on references to mutual respect of territorial integrity and sovereignty, foreign occupation, and the violation of human rights by all parties in conflict, and deleting references to "universal" human rights and "other types" of conflict. Cyprus suggested quoting the Vienna Programme for Action for this paragraph. Ecuador suggested removing the brackets around a reference to mutual respect of territorial integrity and sovereignty, and deleting the reference to "all" parties in conflicts. Malta retained brackets around the reference to forced pregnancy. Sudan suggested adding the language from paragraph 30 of the Vienna document. The G77/China proposed deleting references to all parties in armed conflict and to the consequences of armed conflict. The Holy See suggested replacing a reference to results of armed conflict with language from paragraph 38 of the Vienna document. Canada supported the EU proposal, but stressed that women and children bear the brunt of rights violations in armed conflict.

In paragraph 134 (effects of armed conflict), the EU suggested deleting the reference to the violation of international humanitarian law. It was agreed. In paragraph 135 (cooperative approaches to peace and security), the EU proposed deleting the brackets on a reference to implementing cooperative approaches to peace and security, and replacing "the perspective of women" with "the participation of women." Cuba preferred "the perspective of women." Namibia emphasized the participation of women in the resolution of armed conflict. In paragraph 136 (consequences of armed conflict on women), the G77/China proposed removing brackets around references to foreign occupation and alien domination and the consequences of armed conflict. The EU could accept all other bracketed text upon deletion of the reference to alien domination. Malta retained brackets on the reference to forced pregnancy. References to alien domination and foreign occupation remain bracketed. Canada bracketed a reference to the consequences of rape, pending the decision on the reference to forced pregnancy. In paragraph 139 (military expenditure), Yemen proposed a reference to lack of necessary social services. The EU preferred "conflict" to "military spending." Namibia retained the reference to military spending. Nicaragua, supported by Cuba, proposed keeping both references, which were accepted. Canada's proposal to use language from paragraph 21 of the Social Summit for a reference to excessive military spending was accepted. The EU proposed removing brackets from a reference to peace as "an important factor" for economic growth. Cuba preferred the wording "is essential." Only the last sentence, referring to the relationship between national security and peace and economic growth, development and the empowerment of women, remains bracketed.

In paragraph 140 (international stability), Russia proposed references to "forced" mass migration and negative implications of instability. Mexico, supported by the EU, suggested deleting the paragraph. Canada proposed replacing the reference to peace and security as "a prerequisite" with "as important factors." In paragraph 141 (role of women in times of conflict), the EU proposed a reference to the contribution women make to "their" families. The Holy See added a reference to "their" societies. Both proposals were accepted. In 144(a) (promote equal participation), Namibia added equitable geographical distribution and India added participation at all levels to an EU proposal, which was accepted with the condition that geographical distribution would be in accordance with the UN Charter.

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