The Contact Group on the draft Beijing Declaration, chaired by Olga Pellicer (Mexico), met all day. The Group approved text negotiated in its informal drafting group and attempted to remove brackets from remaining disputed paragraphs. Delegates accepted nine paragraphs agreed Monday by the informal drafting group chaired by Canada. Three were in the preamble: acknowledging the voices of women and their diversity and roles; recognizing the effects of increasing poverty; and addressing obstacles to women's advancement and empowerment. Delegates agreed to a paragraph affirming commitments to equal rights and inherent human dignity in several international human rights instruments and one to ensure implementation of human rights.
The paragraph stating that "women's rights are human rights" was accepted with several delegations expressing reservations. Delegates agreed to the paragraph on equal rights, opportunities and access to resources as critical to men and women's well being, their families and to the consolidation of democracy. A paragraph on eradication of poverty was accepted with one delegation objecting to a reference to sustained economic growth.
The bracketed paragraph on respect for spiritual and moral values was replaced. The new paragraph reaffirms a commitment to empowerment and advancement of women including the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief as contributing to moral, ethical, spiritual and intellectual needs. Further informal negotiations were required for: a paragraph recognizing the right of women to control their health, in particular their own fertility; a paragraph on peace, disarmament and support for negotiations toward a comprehensive nuclear-test-ban treaty; and text on sexual and reproductive rights. One suggestion combined that paragraph with one on barriers to human rights but omitted sexual and reproductive rights. Another amended the paragraph to ensure the right to control and decide freely on matters of sexuality including sexual and reproductive rights free from coercion. Informal consultations resumed on the paragraph.