• Wednesday, September 3, 2014
  • A program of IPS Inter Press Service supported by the Dutch MDG3 Fund

    Q&A: Glass Half-full 15 Years After ICPD – Part 2

    23 Nov 2009

    Purnima Mane: "Violence against women goes up when they are pregnant. It's heinous."  Credit:UNFPA

    Purnima Mane: "Violence against women goes up when they are pregnant. It's heinous." Credit:UNFPA

    Hilmi Toros interviews PURNIMA MANE, Deputy Executive Director of UNFPA

    ISTANBUL, Nov 23 (IPS) – Fifteen years after the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), the glass is half full, according to Purnima Mane, deputy executive director of the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA). And not much better for the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Violence Against Women (CEDAW) after 30 years.

    The ICPD, hailed as an epochal gathering of 179 nations in Cairo bent on bestowing rights and dignity to women, came under review at a high-level meeting in Istanbul, Nov. 11-13, that also took up the status of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These pertain to women.

    A report on maternal health in the 20-nation Eastern Europe and Central Asia region showed that maternal mortality has been halved since 1990, from 51 per 100,000 live births to 24. More »

    RIGHTS-LAOS: How Women Cope With Disability – Part 1

    20 Nov 2009

    Chanhpheng Sivila who walks with the help of a caliper believes "education for women is the key".  Credit:Melody Kemp/IPS

    Chanhpheng Sivila who walks with the help of a caliper believes "education for women is the key". Credit:Melody Kemp/IPS

    By Melody Kemp

    VIENTIANE, Nov 20 (IPS) – Before 2002, Chanhpheng Sivila held training workshops for the many Lao disabled women and men at her own house.

    Now she presides over the sprawling Lao Disabled Women’s Development Centre fronting the Mekong, 20 km from Vientiane. Traffic thunders over the nearby Friendship Bridge on its way to Thailand, the noise carried away on the afternoon breeze.

    I was greeted by a myriad smiles from the women; each one herself disabled. One with skeletal deformity that shortened her stature, another with a foot that refuses to behave. Sivila herself had polio when young and walks with the use of a heavy and squeaky caliper. More »

    Q&A: Maternal Mortality Rates ‘One of the Saddest Cases’ in Asia

    20 Nov 2009

    UNESCAP head Noeleen Heyzer: "There is no reason why so many women have to die."  Credit:Marwaan Macan-Markar/IPS

    UNESCAP head Noeleen Heyzer: "There is no reason why so many women have to die." Credit:Marwaan Macan-Markar/IPS

    Marwaan Macan-Markar interviews NOELEEN HEYZER, U.N. under-secretary general and head of UNESCAP


    BANGKOK, Nov 20 (IPS) – Nearly 15 years after a landmark international conference to advance the rights and freedoms of women, the picture in the Asia-Pacific region is mixed, says a leading women’s rights advocate and senior United Nations official.

    While educated women and those with skills “can go as far as they want,” it is a different reality for those who come from Asia’s poorer millions. “There have never been cracks in the glass ceiling for many women in poor rural areas,” says Noeleen Heyzer, head of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), a U.N. regional body based in Bangkok.

    A similarly mixed picture appears with the push to strengthen the cause of women through the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), a U.N. treaty that has been ratified by 186 countries. While lawmakers and governments have embraced this international convention, culture and traditional beliefs have placed roadblocks. More »

    GENDER: “Truly Exciting If the U.S. Could Ratify CEDAW” – Part 2

    15 Nov 2009

     

    Security Council debates protection of civilians - and women - in armed conflicts. Credit: U.N.

    Security Council debates protection of civilians - and women - in armed conflicts. Credit: U.N.

    Miren Gutierrez* interviews INES ALBERDI, executive director of UNIFEM

    ROME, Nov 15 (IPS) – CEDAW or the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Violence Against Women (CEDAW) was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1979.

    On its 30th anniversary, just seven U.N. member states continue to refuse to accept the only international instrument that comprehensively addresses women’s rights within political, civil, cultural, economic and social life. 

    In the second of a two-part interview IPS talks to Ines Alberdi, executive director of UNIFEM, about the countries holding out, including the U.S., and the new agency for women that the General Assembly has decided to create.  More »

    GENDER: Laws, Budgets and Pigeonholes – Part 1

    15 Nov 2009

     

    Ines Alberdi: "CEDAW is the means by which governments (can) advance gender equality". Credit: U.N.

    Ines Alberdi: "CEDAW is the means by which governments (can) advance gender equality". Credit: U.N.

    Miren Gutierrez* interviews INES ALBERDI, executive director of UNIFEM

    ROME, Nov 15 (IPS) – The fight for women’s rights came about hand in hand with the struggle for democracy, civil rights and national liberation in different countries and periods, says Ines Alberdi, executive director of UNIFEM.

    The time has now come for action on the effect of the global financial crisis on women, and other problems such as stereotyping, gender-based violence, unfair budgeting, lack of work opportunities and social protection for women, and the plight of women migrants. 

    On the eve of its 30th anniversary, Alberdi spells out the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) for IPS. The first of a two-part interview.  More »

    RIGHTS-UGANDA: “You Cannot Tell Me You Will Kill Me Because I’m Gay”

    09 Nov 2009

    David Bahati submitting his controversial anti-gay Bill to parliament.  Credit:Wambi Michael/IPS

    David Bahati submitting his controversial anti-gay Bill to parliament. Credit:Wambi Michael/IPS

    By Wambi Michael

    KAMPALA, Nov 9 (IPS) – The Ugandan government will put to death gay citizens repeatedly caught having sex and throw into jail those who touch each other in a “gay” way, if a new proposed Bill becomes law.

    A new Bill, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, seeks to legislate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people in Uganda. And it wants to pave the way for its harsh treatment of them by nullifying any international treaties, conventions or declarations believed to be contrary to it.

    “The Bill is so inhumane … It violates every aspect of a human being. I mean you cannot tell me you will kill me because I’m gay,” says Gerald Sentogo, the gay administrator for the organisation Sexual Minorities Uganda.

    The death penalty is listed as punishment under an offence called aggravated homosexuality. This part of the Bill states that “repeat offenders” of homosexuality are liable to get the death penalty. The death penalty is also applied in a homosexual relationship if a partner is under 18, or has a disability, or is HIV positive. People accused under the aggravated homosexuality clause will be forced to undergo an HIV test. More »

    “CEDAW is UNIFEM’S Entry Point”, IPS interviews JOANNE SANDLER, Deputy Executive Director, UNIFEM*

    09 Nov 2009

    Joanne Sandler - Credit: UNIFEM

    Joanne Sandler - Credit: UNIFEM

    By Andrea Borde

    UNITED NATIONS, Nov 9 (IPS) – On Sep. 14, the United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly adopted a resolution that opened the door for the creation of a new U.N. agency specifically for women.

    It will draw together under one umbrella all of the existing entities for women in the U.N. – U.N. Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), International Training and Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) and Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues (OSAGI).

    The new women’s entity comes at a particularly exciting time in the women’s empowerment movement at the U.N. as another report has just been released by the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) highlighting the lack of women’s control over economic and financial resources in both the developing and developed world.

    The U.N. World Survey on the Role of Women in Development 2009, published by UNDESA addresses increasingly progressive issues such as women’s unpaid work in the household, the urgency of women’s financial empowerment, especially in current times of economic turmoil, and the long-standing inequalities of women in care giving, the labour market and within central financial institutions of the state such as financial ministries and central banks. More »

    RIGHTS: Palestinian Women Suffer as Israel Violates CEDAW

    05 Nov 2009

    By Mel Frykberg


    RAMALLAH, Nov 5 (IPS) – Palestinian women continue to suffer abuse and denial of basic human rights at the hands of Israeli settlers and soldiers in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

    This is in flagrant violation of Israel’s obligations as a signatory to the UN Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). CEDAW is the first international human rights treaty devoted to the rights of women.

    According to the Convention, discrimination against women represents a violation of the principles of equality and human dignity, and is considered an obstacle to the participation of women, on an equal footing with men, in the political, social, economic and cultural life of their country.

    The Convention obliges all state parties to take appropriate measures, legislative and non-legislative, to prohibit all forms of discrimination against women. More »

    PHILIPPINES: Women’s Rights Laws in Place

    28 Oct 2009


    Advocates hope that women will benefit fully from the new law. / Credit:Stephen de Tarczynski/IPS

    Advocates hope that women will benefit fully from the new law. Credit:Stephen de Tarczynski/IPS

    By Stephen de Tarczynski

    MANILA, Oct 28 (IPS) – Although the enacting in August of the Magna Carta of Women (MCW) – a major law aiming to end discrimination against women across the archipelago – was well-received here, there remain concerns about whether the legislation will be fully implemented.

    Mary Joan Guan, executive director of the Centre for Women’s Research, a Manila-based advocacy and training organisation, says that the efficacy of the MCW relies on its implementation going against the trend of previous women’s rights legislation.

    The Philippines “already has 27 laws concerning women’s rights…[but] in reality these laws are not implemented at all,” she says. It ratified the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1981. More »