Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

UN News

March 1, 2006
Since the opening of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York on Monday, the emphasis has been on increasing the women’s perspective through the reformations ongoing at the UN, better representation of women in decision-making positions, and the importance of non-governmental organizations. The Chairperson of the Commission, Carmen Maria Gallardo (El Salvador), opened the CSW with emphasis on increasing the role of women in decision-making as well as providing a gender dimension of international migration to the Economic and Social Council. These goals of the Commission are lofty, but they are guided towards action and implementation of important changes and policies for governments and the United Nations as well. As the Economic and Social Council reforms itself, the Commission will play an important part in this transformation, which will undoubtedly lead to more emphasis on gender issues and equality.

The 50th Commission on the Status of Women has produced two documents of Agreed Conclusions. These agreements lay the groundwork for increasing the roles of women in major areas, including, peacebuilding, politics, and UN reform. They have reaffirmed the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which calls for “women’s empowerment and their full participation on the basis of equality in all spheres of society, including participation in the decision-making process and access to power, are fundamental for the achievement of equality, development and peace." The CSW has, so far in the opening days, emphasized the history and the future of the commission and plans on moving on to the in-depth discussions on how to improve women’s roles in decision-making and UN reform. To read statements, agreed conclusions, and press releases from the Commission, click here.

As the main goal of the CSW is to emphasize and increase the number of women in decision-making positions, it is important to note that according to an article in today’s Guardian, that women’s representation in governments worldwide is the highest ever, at around 16%. Though well below where it ought to be, this number has been steadily increasing over the years, and the number of parliaments with more than 30% women has grown to over 20% worldwide. Countries that were recognized by the report include: Iraq, Afghanistan, Burundi, and Liberia.

For the full text of the article, click here.

Also in UN news, the United States has announced that it will oppose the UN’s plan to create a new human rights panel because it does not meet the requirements demanded by the Bush administration. The new panel would make election to the panel based on an absolute majority, while the US has been pushing for a 2/3 requirement. This plan was a compromise that would overhaul the current human rights council, which has been embroiled in scandals based on the elected members of the council, such as Sudan. To read the entire story from The Washington Post, click here.


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