Save the cornerstone

A familiar theme – as the annual Commission on the Status of Women meets at the UN, some states try to water down the declaration while activists work to prevent that.

The two-week CSW, held in New York, will review progress made in implementing the Beijing recommendations over the past two decades.

But last week, the Women’s Rights Caucus, which monitors discussions at the CSW, said it was concerned that the language in the declaration was being watered down by certain UN states.

The caucus called on organisations to add their signatures to a statement demanding the declaration be strengthened.

It is understood that Russia, the Holy See (which has a seat on the UN as a non-member permanent observer state), Indonesia, Nicaragua and the Africa group of countries have tried to limit references in the text to human rights and to remove mention of the role feminist groups play in advancing gender equality. These states argue that human rights was just one chapter of the Beijing platform for action, rather than an overarching theme. Caribbean countries are also understood to have failed to step up to support women’s rights.

Turkey, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Japan, Canada, Philippines, Chile, El Salvador, Australia and the EU are believed to be among those that have repeatedly challenged any removal of references to human rights.

I wonder where the US fits in there.

The Holy See is also thought to have wanted mention of a standalone gender equality target proposed in the sustainable development goals removed from the declaration.

Any specific reference to women’s rights activists is expected to be lost.

The pushback on women’s existing rights from these states is not unusual in UN political statements, [n]or are their attempts to block any progressive moves forward.

Well let’s face it, the subordination of women is the cornerstone of family life, which in turn is the cornerstone of some other very important thing, so we can’t mess with it.

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