Report of main proceedings for 5 April 1995
39th Session of the CSW
Delegates met for their "last day" of negotiations on the Platform for Action. Workcontinued in three informal-informal groups on the sections on health, human rightsand the girl child. The group discussing human rights was also expected to discuss thedraft rules of procedure and the group discussing the girl child was also expected todiscuss the draft Declaration.
After morning and afternoon sessions, the informal-informal group discussing thehuman rights section had completed the first reading. However, several paragraphswere bracketed pending the outcomes of other informals or negotiations betweensmaller groups.
Sub-paragraph 158(b) (mainstreaming human rights throughout the UN system) wasbracketed. In sub-paragraph 158(c) (coordination of human rights bodies andmechanisms), a reference to unnecessary duplication was bracketed. Sub-paragraph158(c.bis) (coordination between UN bodies) was bracketed. In sub-paragraph158(d.bis) (human rights training for UN personnel), a reference to humanitarian reliefactivities was added and "human rights abuses particular to women" was replacedwith "violations of the human rights of women."
In sub-paragraph 159(a) (prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex), a reference toappropriate legislation was added. Sub-paragraphs 159(c) (review domestic legislation),(c.bis) (sexual and reproductive rights) and (c.ter) (sexual orientation) were bracketed.A new sub-paragraph (c.quater) (violence resulting from harmful practices, prejudiceand extremism) was also bracketed.
In sub-paragraph 159(d) (gender sensitive human rights training for public officials), areference to members of parliament was added. Sub-paragraph 159(d.bis) (right ofwomen to be members in professional and social organizations) was bracketed. In thesecond sub-paragraph (d.bis) (violations by public officials), a reference to "punitivelegal measures in accordance with national law" was added. In sub-paragraph159(d.bis.bis), references to the criminal justice system and the right of women to bejudges, advocates or other officers of the court were deleted. The reference to the"right to privacy" for women defendants, victims and/or witnesses was replaced witha statement that they should not be "re-victimized or discriminated against." Sub-paragraph 159(f.bis) (human rights protection for NGO members) was bracketed.
The chapeau to paragraph 160 was bracketed. In paragraph 160(a) (translate andpublicize laws and information on human rights), a reference to persons with lowlevels of literacy was added, as were references to relevant international declarationsand conventions. A new paragraph, referring to publication of information in easilyunderstandable formats, was added after 160(a). In sub-paragraph 160(a.bis)(information about international and regional instruments), a reference to internationalcomplaint procedures was deleted and a reference to effectively protecting humanrights was added. A new paragraph, referring to mechanisms for redress at all levels,was added after 160(a.bis).
In 160(b) (public campaigns), references to women"s legal rights and all levels ofeducation were added. Sub-paragraph 160(b.bis) (human rights education for armedforces) was introduced and bracketed. In paragraph 160 (new.c) (information onhuman rights and recourse mechanisms for migrant, refugee and displaced women), areference to the fact that they were removed from sources of information available intheir home communities was deleted.
In the afternoon, texts on references to indigenous people, which were to be usedthroughout the document, was introduced. The meeting broke for consultations, andreconvened for an evening session, to review the human rights section, to read throughthe rules of procedure and to consider the language on indigenous people.
Discussions on the new section regarding the girl child began Tuesday evening.During Wednesday morning and afternoon, three of the nine strategic objectives wereconsidered. The group expected to finish the section and work into the night on thedraft Declaration.
In Strategic objective E.1 (eliminate all forms of discrimination against the girl child),Governments are called on to, consistent with the Convention on the Rights of theChild, take measures to ensure that children will be registered immediately after birth,have the right from birth to a name, to acquire nationality and, as far as possible, toknow and be cared for by his or her parents. Delegates added a sub-paragraph fromthe Cairo agreement calling for support from parents. References to passing "asappropriate and enforce" legislation to guarantee "equally" succession and inheritancerights were bracketed. Sub-paragraph (d) was altered to include calls forcomprehensive policies, plans of action and programmes for the survival,advancement, protection and development of the girl child, and the promotion andprotection of the enjoyment of her rights. Sub-paragraph (f) (eliminate female feticide)was moved to Strategic objective E.2 (eliminate negative cultural attitudes andpractices), and reformulated with Cairo language to call for the elimination of the rootcauses of son-preference, which result in female infanticide and prenatal sex selection.
In Strategic objective E.2 (elimination of negative cultural attitudes and practicesagainst girls), Governments are called on to sensitize and inform adults about the"harmful effects of certain traditional or customary practices." The sub-paragraphcalling for traditional and religious attire of girls to not be the basis of discriminationin educational institutions was bracketed. Governments, international and non-governmental organizations are called on to encourage educational institutions and themedia to project a "balanced and non-stereotyped" image of girls and boys, and towork to eliminate pornography and degrading and violent portrayals of the girl child.
In Strategic objective E.3 (public awareness on the needs of the girl child),Governments, international and non-governmental organizations are called on togenerate awareness on the disadvantaged situation of girls among actors "at all levels"as well as in communities and households. A reference to educating the girl childabout the "privileges" guaranteed to her was deleted.
The informal-informal meeting on the health section reconvened Tuesday morning andcompleted Strategic Objective C.1 (Increase women"s access to health care andinformation services.) A bracketed footnote stating that implementation of actionsoutlined in the section are the sovereign right of each country and are in conformitywith universally recognized human rights was inserted in the chapeau. An alternativefootnote on guidelines in ICPD for the section was also bracketed. In paragraph 80(actions to be taken by Governments), references to NGOs and employers, with thesupport of international institutions, were bracketed. In sub-paragraph 80(a)(supportand implement international agreements), the qualification "taking into accountreservations and declarations" in the ICPD was inserted. Sub-paragraph80(a)(bis)(health as a human right), was amended to reaffirm the right to the highestattainable standard of physical and mental health. A sentence calling for women"saccess to social security systems in equality with men throughout the life-cycle, wasadded. In sub-paragraph 80(b)(gender specific health programmes),references to"decentralized" health programmes and services "in cooperation with women andcommunity-based organizations" were inserted. A reference to the removal of barriersto women"s health services was bracketed. Sub-paragraph 80(c)(accessible andaffordable health care), was reformulated with bracketed references to sexual andreproductive health care and maternal and emergency obstetrics. In sub-paragraph80(d) (information, services and training for health workers), a reference to parentalresponsibility and guidance was inserted. Sub-paragraph 80(d)(bis) (conformity ofhealth services to human rights standards), calls for Governments to: "Ensure that allhealth services and workers conform to human rights and to ethical, professional andgender-sensitive standards in the delivery of women"s health services aimed atensuring responsible, voluntary and informed consent." A qualification, stating thatnothing in the Platform is intended to require any health professional or health facilityto provide or refer for services to which they have religious or moral objections, wasbracketed. In sub-paragraph 80(d)(ter) (harmful and coercive medical interventions), abracketed reformulation calls for: the elimination of harmful, medically unnecessary,or coercive medical interventions; inappropriate and over-medication of women; andwomen to be fully informed of their options. An amendment referring to the rightsand responsibilities of parents was inserted after a reference to girls in bracketed sub-paragraph 80(e) (strengthen and reorient health care for girls and women). The targetdates for the provision of reproductive health care "worldwide" were amended to read"no later than 2015." Sub-paragraph 80(e)(bis) (health impact of unsafe abortion) wasbracketed. In sub-paragraph 80(e)(ter) (punitive measures for illegal abortions),"repeal" was replaced with "consider review of" laws containing punitive measuresagainst women who have undergone illegal abortions. A reference to parentalresponsibility and guidance was inserted in sub-paragraphs 80(f) (attention to the needsof girls while achieving goals for the reduction of infant and child mortality) and80(f)(bis) (access to health and nutrition information). In sub-paragraph 80(g) (policies,programmes and legislation to alleviate health hazards), a call for policies andlegislation to alleviate and eliminate health hazards associated with work was amendedto direct "special attention to pregnant women" and "lactating women." In sub-paragraph 80(h) (mental health services), an amendment calling for recognition andcare for "girls" and women of all ages who have experienced any form of violence orabuse was introduced. New sub-paragraph 80(k) (strengthen NGOs working onwomen"s health), calls for help to develop networks aimed at improving coordinationand collaboration between all sectors that affect health. A bracketed sub-paragraph80(l) (supply of high-quality pharmaceuticals) calls for: a reliable supply ofpharmaceuticals; safety of drugs and devices through national regulatory processes;and contraceptives. Sub-paragraph 80(n)(improve the nutritional status of girls andwomen), was amended to call for household and national food security and forprogrammes aimed at improving the nutritional status of all girls and women. Thesecond sub-paragraph 80(n) (access to safe drinking water and sanitation) wasamended to call for the availability of safe drinking water and sanitation.
IN THE CORRIDORS
NGOs are concerned about the change in venue for the NGO Forum, which will beheld in parallel to the FWCW in Beijing. Last Saturday, NGOs were informed that theoriginal site was structurally unsound. The site that has been proposed in its place issaid to be closer to the airport and cheaper lodging, aesthetically more pleasing, and tocontain better facilities for small working groups.
NGOs' priorities, however, seem to be focused on proximity to the governmentconference site and the requirement of a large meeting hall. NGOs were told that thenew site is 45 minutes from the government meeting place, but independent sourcessuggest that the distance would be closer to an hour away. The NGOs' plans to holdopening Plenary sessions each morning would be impossible in the largest meetinghall at the new site, which has capacity for 1700. Some NGOs suggest that they wouldneed a facility that could accommodate 15,000. Members of the NGO Forum willtravel to Beijing this week to visit the proposed site, and possibly to explorealternatives.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PROCESSING: The negotiated text is expected to be "processed" Thursdayand Friday. Clean versions of the text are expected to be reviewed to ensure accuracy,and the Plenary will ultimately be asked to adopt the text, albeit heavily bracketed, tobe sent to Beijing.