UN related

On 10 March 2010, the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Amnesty International, and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), in collaboration with the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (WHRD-IC), organised a side event entitled Cooperation with UN Human Rights Bodies and Mechanisms: Challenges Faced by WHRDs and HRDs.

A landmark U.N. treaty on women’s rights, which will be 30 years old next week, is in danger of being politically undermined by a slew of reservations by 22 countries seeking exemptions from some of the convention’s legal obligations. “A reservation must not defeat the object and purpose of a treaty,” Ambassador Palitha Kohona, a former chief of the U.N. Treaty Section, told IPS.

These meetings will take place every day for the duration of the Session at the New York Salvation Army building, several blocks away from the UN because there is “no room at the Inn”, that is, the UN building, where in previous years we always met. Is there some dark conspiracy that facilitates the process of making us women feel so unwelcome, so redundant, and so belittled, asks Margaret Owen ?

A longstanding proposal for the creation of a special U.N. agency for women – officially called a “gender entity” – is apparently moving at the sluggish pace of a paralytic snail. The proposal – originally conceived by a high-level panel of U.N. experts back in 2006 – has remained a theoretical exercise for so long that a coalition of women activists is spoofing it in a fake electronic newspaper being circulated at a U.N meeting on gender empowerment here.

 

Over sixty years ago, countries adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” That fundamental right has echoed for decades in conferences, treaties, and declarations. In 1995, in the Platform for Action adopted in Beijing, 189 governments agreed that laws that discriminate against women undermine equality, and pledged to “revoke any remaining laws that discriminate on the basis of sex.” Yet inequality, even in its most overt form, has not been vanquished. While discrimination against women persists around the world in many forms, laws that explicitly discriminate against women demonstrate State backing of discrimination, and symbolize governments’ clear disrespect for the fundamental right to equality for women and official endorsement of women as people of lesser worth.

In an Amnesty International document a number of key human rights challenges are described that must be effectively addressed to ensure concrete improvements in the situation of human rights across Iran. These include discrimination against women and minorities in law and practice, as well as entrenched failings in the administration of justice leading to arbitrary arrest, torture and other ill-treatment, unlawful killings, restrictions on freedoms of expression, association and assembly, unfair trial, and the death penalty and other cruel punishments.

Coalition of Women for Peace have posted a call for Action to Mark the UN Goldstone Report Deadline. Friday, February 5th, marks the deadline given by the UN General Assembly to Israel and to  Hamas to launch independent committees to investigate the findings of the Goldstone Report. The Goldstone Report has concluded that Israel's offensive against Gaza during Operation Cast Lead was "a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population".

Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW): Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

تقارير الحكومة المصرية (التقرير الدورى السادس والسابع مجمع) أمام الدورة 45 للجنة متابعة تطبيق اتفاقية إلغاء كافة أشكال التمييز ضد المرأة (لجنة السيداو) فى يناير 2010، فضلا عن تقرير الظل المقدم من الجمعية المصرية للنهوض بالمشاركة المجتمعية

This essay argues that CEDAW’s concept of equality is what is needed to end discrimination against women. It first traces the background of the controversy over the use of the terms equity and equality in international human rights law. Finally, to further demonstrate the importance of CEDAW’s principles of equality, and particularly that of substantive equality, it provides some illustrations of the positive impact these principles have had on domestic gender jurisprudence.

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