Written by Lenka Belkova, WIN Associate Director
In March WIN participated in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UN CSW) 60th session in New York with an unprecedented number of NGO accredited delegates. This year’s UN CSW primary theme addressed women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development.
Women’s Human Rights and Sustainable Cities with CEDAW and Habitat III panel at NGO CSW FORUM NY, March 15 2016
WIN’s star panel at the Forum “Women’s Human Rights and Sustainable Cities with CEDAW and Habitat III” was moderated by Elmy Bermejo, Region Nine Representative to the US Department of Labor in conversation with distinguished speakers Krishanti Dharmaraj, Executive Director of Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Rutgers University; Araceli Campos, Commissioner, LA Commission on the Status of Women; Lois A. Herman, Editor and Publisher of Women’s United Nations Report Network; Ross Uchimura, CEO, Solariv, Sustainable Smart Village-Nepal; June Zeitlin, Director of Human Rights Policy at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and Soon-Young Yoon, former Chair UN CSW NGO NY and visionary of Cities for CEDAW.
During the panel discussion Krishanti Dharmaraj stressed the importance of policies’ relevance for diverse communities to remain effective. With regard to Cities for CEDAW campaign, LA Commissioner Araceli Campos offered examples from Los Angeles on how a CEDAW ordinance can bring a change fostering fairness and inclusiveness by providing new programs for disadvantaged communities and training city employees to assist in identifying human traffickers. Long time advocate for US CEDAW ratification, June Zeitlin, reminded everyone that passing of CEDAW at the federal level is still as important as implementing it locally. Lois Herman, delivered passionate remarks on CEDAW education and mainstreaming while Ross Uchimura, whose ambitious plan to bring solar panels to Nepal with his company while upholding CEDAW principles, captured audiences attention with applause. Soon Young-Yoon, who paid a short visit to our panel, spoke about Habitat III.
The panel was well received and we hope that it incited even greater interest in the growing movement for local policies reflecting human rights principles.
WIN Co-Sponsored several other panels discussing topics from violence against women, technology for women’s empowerment, CEDAW activism in the USA, women’s entrepreneurship and support for refugee girls.
WIN Caucus at Ms Foundation, Brooklyn, NY
As every year, WIN invited organizations to comment at our annual Caucus on the UN CSW 60 Draft Agreed Conclusions for a collective statement addressed to US government representatives to the UN CSW. Participating organizations included The Bella Abzug Leadership Institute, FemResources, Iranian Circle of Womens Intercultural Network, UNAWomen Greater Kansas City, US Women Connect, Women’s Equality Coalition Greater Kansas City and other community leaders from around the country. Our final statement highlighted the importance of
- recognizing women’s contribution to the economy and society at large.
- the rights of girls to underline girls’ unique needs and challenges, such as trafficking, genital mutilation, or the prevalent issue of child brides.
- recognizing the importance of securing data for implementation and action.
- increasing resources for marginalized population and strengthening accountability of all member states to develop effective actions and policies to adequately address gender based discrimination.
- corporations that must be part of the discussion and accountability on upholding human rights.
- the role of technology in empowering women and girls.
- the right of access to information as a fundamental and universal right, necessary for economic empowerment and the fulfillment of other rights.
- the right to gender identity as a key human right that must be as such addressed throughout the UN CSW 60th Agreed Conclusions.
Many thanks go to our UN NGO delegates, panel speakers and everyone who engaged with us during UN CSW 60 in giving women and girls a stronger voice.