The Women’s Intercultural Network submitted the following Caucus Conclusions for consideration in conjunction with the United Nations Committee of the Status of Women annual meeting, which was held in New York, March 14-25, 2016.
The WIN Caucus’ primary comments focus on securing assurances by State Parties, corporations, and other entities to uphold the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and dedicate the necessary resources to ensuring the promotion and protection of the rights of women and girls around the world.
Specifically, the WIN Caucus calls on all relevant parties to take note of the following:
- The rights of girls need to be reiterated throughout the Agreed Conclusions document to underline girls’ unique needs and challenges, such as trafficking, genital mutilation, and the issue of child brides. Governments must be held responsible for allocation of all necessary funds and resources to strengthen the empowerment of girls in accordance with the provisions of CEDAW, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and all other relevant international law.
- State Parties and International Organizations, including the United Nations and the Committee on the Status of Women, must ensure that corporations are an integral part of the discussion and implementation of procedures for upholding human rights. Governments need to ensure corporate accountability for human rights violations in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011 and should pass all necessary domestic law to ensure such accountability.
- It shall also be recognized the corporations have a special role in assisting with mitigation and adaption to climate change and work to ensure sustainable development models in line with local populations, specific cultural and economic contexts, and indigenous rights to law and natural resources.
- Special attention should be paid to the role of extractive industries in considering sustainable development and the protection of the rights and needs of women and girls.
- State Parties must increase economic, social, political, cultural, technological, and educational resources for marginalized population and strengthen accountability of all member states to develop effective actions and policies to adequately address gender based discrimination.
- Public-private partnerships have a crucial role to play in providing these resources and states should take all necessary action to ensure their participation.
- It should be recognized that technology companies have a special role to play in sustainable development and the empowerment of women and girls worldwide.
- Women and girls are entitled to access the information necessary to ensure their effective growth and development and protect and promote their rights in equality and dignity. The right of access to information is a fundamental right, as outlined in numerous international treaties, court cases, and policy documents, and is necessary for empowerment and the fulfillment of other rights crucial to the empowerment of women and girls.
- The WIN Caucus calls on all state and non-state actors such as corporations to defend the human rights defenders within their territory and around the world from abuse, harassment, punishment, torture, and death. We call for a stronger statement by states and the Committee on the Status of Women condemning actions against human rights defenders and a statement of understanding that enhanced protections are going to need to be different in different contexts and cultures.
- We call on all states to actively work to internalize the founding documents and the resolution that came out of CSW60. Such internalization needs to include legislation, the judiciary, police, and civil society, as well as the education system. All states must work to ensure that at whatever their current level of internalization, they actively work to improve the situation within their own territory, including an emphasis on Art. 5(a) of CEDAW which calls upon states to work to modify culture patterns detrimental to achieving equality and equity.
In closing, sustainable development cannot be achieved without recognizing women’s contribution to the economy and society at large. Women’s Intercultural Network and its partners support UN-Women’s call for countries to step up their efforts and implement effective solutions and strategies and close the global gender gap — by 2030.
Discussed and Drafted by Representatives from:
The Bella Abzug Leadership Institute
Iranian Circle of Women’s Intercultural Network (ICWIN)
UNA Women Greater Kansas City
US Women Connect
Women’s Equality Coalition Greater Kansas City
Women’s Intercultural Network (WIN)
Editors: Elahe Amani, Member of ICWIN Steering Committee; Lenka Belkova, Associate Director, WIN; Kathleen Cha, Former Co-Chair, WIN; Dana Zartner, Associate Professor and Chair, International Studies Department, University of San Francisco