29 October 1996


Press Release
GA/SHC/3369



LARGE NUMBER OF RESERVATIONS TO WOMEN'S ANTI-DISCRIMINATION CONVENTION CAUSE FOR CONCERN, SAY SPEAKERS IN THIRD COMMITTEE

19961029
Debate Continues on Advancement of Women; Draft Text Introduced on African Institute for Crime Prevention

Speakers expressed concern at the large number of reservations to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women this afternoon as the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) continued its general debate on the advancement of women and the implementation of the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing 1995).

The Convention was an indispensable tool for ensuring human rights for women worldwide, according to the representative of Liechtenstein. While States had the right to make reservations when ratifying or acceding to a convention, the reservations must not be incompatible with the Convention's objectives and purpose, or contrary to international law, she said. Her Government had withdrawn its reservation after amending its national legislation.

The representative of Nigeria said reservations undermined the Convention's universal application and did not advance the welfare of women.

The United States representative said ratification of the women's anti- discrimination Convention was a priority for the Clinton Administration. Under the American Constitution, treaties must be ratified with the advice and consent of the Senate, and the Administration was still waiting for the Senate to act. Although her country was not yet a State party to the Convention, it would continue to make a positive contribution in drafting the optional protocol.

The situation of women and girls in Afghanistan required urgent attention, she continued. Directives which kept women out of the workplace and young girls out of school were morally wrong, economically counterproductive and politically unwise. Her Government supported the Secretary-General's efforts to ensure that the United Nations could perform essential duties according to its Charter and effectively carry out relief programmes in Afghanistan.


Also this afternoon, the representative of Burundi introduced a draft resolution on the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders.

Kuwait spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

The representatives of Iraq, Morocco, Ukraine, Malawi, United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, Syria, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tunisia, Benin, and Lebanon made statements. The Observer for the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and a representative of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) also addressed the Committee.

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 30 October, to conclude its general debate on women.


Third Committee - 1a - Press Release GA/SHC/3369 17th Meeting (PM) 29 October 1996

Committee Work Programme

The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met this afternoon to continue its discussions on the advancement of women and the implementation of the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing 1995). (For background, see Press Release GA/SHC/3365 of 24 October.)

It was also scheduled to hear the introduction of a draft resolution on the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (document A/C.3/51/L.6), sponsored by Burundi on behalf of the African Group of States. By the terms of the text, the General Assembly would request the Secretary-General to provide the necessary financial and technical support to the Institute to enable it to effectively follow up, monitor and evaluate the implementation of all operational aspects of the decisions of the Ninth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, as well as other relevant decisions of the General Assembly. It would also request the Secretary-General to make concrete proposals on strengthening the programmes and activities of the Institute and to report on those proposals at the Assembly's next session.

The Assembly would appeal to all Member States, intergovernmental and non-governmental agencies to adopt concrete, practical measures to support the Institute in the elaboration and implementation of programmes and activities aimed at strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice.

Introduction of Draft Resolutions on Crime and Drugs

METHODE NDIKUMANA (Burundi) speaking on behalf of the African Group of States, introduced the draft resolution on the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders. The draft clearly reaffirmed the raison d'etre for the Institution and the growing awareness of the campaign against crime in Africa. In addition to assisting the Institute to meet its goals, the draft text recognized its efforts and achievements. The Institute was originally established to assist States in successfully combating the scourge of transnational organized crime by strengthening regional and global approaches. The United Nations needed to support the continued function of the Institute, especially its human strengthening programs.

Statements

LINDA TARR-WHELAN (United States) said her Government believed that the United Nations could best further the goals of Beijing by focusing on three critical actions: mainstreaming, coordinating and monitoring. The United Nations had made a good start in its efforts to promote an active and visible policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective throughout its work, with the


Third Committee - 1a - Press Release GA/SHC/3369 17th Meeting (PM) 29 October 1996

appointment of Rosario Green as Special Advisor on Gender Issues and the appointment of Angela King as Director of the Division for the Advancement of Women. The continued advancement of women in the United Nations system, particularly at the senior decision-making levels, would further the Organization's efforts to mainstream.

Discussions in the Commission on the Status of Women between the panel of experts and Member States were a step in the right direction, she said. However, in order to further encourage a free flow of ideas, questions, and sharing of best practices, Member States should consider including experts on their delegations who can speak authoritatively on the issues and who can implement changes when they get home. The Commission would then be able to inspire and inform delegations on practical ways to implement the Beijing Platform. The Commission and the General Assembly could strengthen their work by consolidating resolutions and focusing efforts on ways to help the United Nations and Member States implement the Beijing commitments.

She said the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan required urgent attention. Directives which kept women out of the workplace and kept young girls out of school were morally wrong, economically counterproductive and politically unwise. The United States supported the Secretary-General's efforts to ensure that the United Nations could perform essential duties according to the United Nations Charter and effectively carry out relief programmes in Afghanistan.

President Clinton had established the Inter-agency Council on Women to develop policies for the advancement of women and girls and mainstream the mission, policies and programmes of agencies. One successful example was the joint effort made by the Department of Justice and Health and Human Services on violence against women. The two departments had established a national 24-hour, toll-free telephone number, or "hotline". Ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women was a priority for the Clinton Administration. Under the United States Constitution, treaties must be ratified with the advice and consent of the Senate, and the Administration was still waiting for the Senate to act. Although the United States was not yet a State party to the Convention, it would continue to make a positive contribution in drafting the optional protocol.

KHALED AL-HITTI (Iraq) said women in Iraq enjoyed a status equal to that of men as guaranteed by the Iraqi constitution. The various organs of the Government had adopted mechanisms and programmes to ensure women's advancement. Among these actions was the establishment of a national committee to advance women. The Ministry of Health has opened additional child and health care centres, and numerous day care centres have also been constructed. In addition, young men's organizations and labour unions have


Third Committee - 1a - Press Release GA/SHC/3369 17th Meeting (PM) 29 October 1996

established committees devoted to the advancement of women. Women's participation in the cultural, social and economic fields, as well as the political process, had steadily increased.

The promotion of equal rights for women in Iraq had been advanced in the manner and the spirit of the Nairobi and Beijing conferences, he said. However, the embargo on Iraq has affected the right to life, food and welfare of all citizens, and the Beijing objectives could not be achieved under those sanctions. The gravest problem was the shortage of medicines which had affected women, children, and the elderly, scores of which died daily. More than one half-million Iraqi children have died because of the embargo, not to speak of the millions of Iraqi people who were starving and suffering from a myriad of diseases.

CLAUDIA FRITSCHE (Liechtenstein) said non-governmental organizations would continue to play a critical role in her country's implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. This implementation would focus on several key areas: motivating women to enter into politics; providing specific academic and vocational guidance for girls; establishing measures to facilitate the compatibility of professional and family life; and, creating sensitivity towards the problem of violence against women and children.

The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women constituted an indispensable tool for ensuring the full enjoyment of human rights by women worldwide, she said. However, while States had the right to make reservations when ratifying or acceding to a convention, these reservations must not be incompatible with the objectives and purpose of the Convention or otherwise contrary to international law. The large number of reservations to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women was a cause of great concern. Liechtenstein had withdrawn its reservation after amending its national legislation in accordance with article 9.2, so the full equality of women and men was ensured with regard to the nationality of their children.

Peace was a prerequisite for the attainment of equality between women and men, she said. Unfortunately, armed conflict still persisted in many parts of the world. While women were rarely involved in the decision leading to armed conflicts, women should play an increased role in conflict resolution, because they have always contributed to preserving social order in times of war. Liechtenstein would particularly welcome the appointment of more women as Special Representatives of the Secretary-General.

NKEM WADIBIA-ANYANWU (Nigeria), said her Government was pleased with the increase in the number of ratifications of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women from 132 in 1995 to 153 in August 1996. However, several reservations undermined universal application


Third Committee - 1a - Press Release GA/SHC/3369 17th Meeting (PM) 29 October 1996

and did not advance the welfare of women. The Commission on the Status of Women had shown creativity in its working methods by inviting experts from Governments and non-governmental organizations for an exchange of views on critical issues. It was important to maintain a balance by inviting experts from all regions. A trust fund to strengthen the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) activities on violence against women should soon be realized, and Member States, corporate bodies and non-governmental organizations should contribute generously to it.

She said there had been concrete steps towards better coordination to ensure recognition of the gender perspective in all aspects of the United Nations work. Streamlining the activities of all the agencies and clearly defining the relationship among all United Nations funds, the focal point, the office of the advisor to the Secretary-General on gender issues and the Division for the Advancement of Women would enhance effective implementation of the Beijing platform. New and additional resources were needed from everyone to implement programmes to enhance women's equality and advancement. Her Government had emphasized the mobilization of women at all levels and the raising of awareness in the community and nationally on the advantages of mainstreaming and economic empowerment.

AICHA EL KABBAJ (Morocco) said women throughout the world were making valuable contributions to the global development effort, while others remained invisible in almost every society. Social development programmes would not succeed without the involvement of women and without ensuring that the process was more accessible to the demands and needs of women. The Beijing Platform for Action called for the consolidation of women's gains to meet the challenges of their emancipation. The Platform also allowed States to fully tackle women's problems and address archaic practices and attitudes rooted in cultural beliefs and individual attitudes.

In Africa, where social and economic problems were most acute, she said the situation of women was even more alarming because it was marked by poverty, illiteracy, gruelling labour and malnutrition. Due to emaciated State expenditures, the public sector's ability to address the many tasks relating to the advancement of women had been crippled. African women were overflowing with dynamism, inventiveness and creative ideas and only needed a decent social environment and a basic education to better manage their time and world, and better social services to make their life minimally comfortable. States should pay specific attention to the problems of African women, and international financial institutions should devote needed financial assistance to aid the advancement of women. Her Government wanted to pay special thanks to UNIFEM for its continuing constructive work on behalf of women in developing countries.


Third Committee - 1a - Press Release GA/SHC/3369 17th Meeting (PM) 29 October 1996

OLEKSANDR SHEUCHENKO (Ukraine) said many women worldwide faced similar problems. The Beijing conference had brought together a vast amount of knowledge aimed at improving the status of women. Many of Beijing's results had been developed further in regional conferences. One such conference for countries in central and eastern Europe had been held in Bucharest and had developed concrete national strategies for countries with economies in transition. She said many horrendous problems, such as trafficking in women and girls, were very complex. However, existing reporting procedures did not allow for the assembling of complete information. Statistical information on such cruel practices must be made available in order to reflect the real picture and monitor the scale of such problems. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women had cited poverty as one of the primary causes of trafficking in women and girls. The recent conference in Stockholm on trafficking in children and child pornography had resulted in uniting international efforts. Its agenda for action had established a reliable basis for further action.

Referring to criticisms that her Government had made no efforts to counteract stereotyping of women, she said it was simply not true. Her Government had given a lot of attention to the status of women. The impact of economic reforms had caused great difficulties which had affected the status of women. For example, the health of many had been affected as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and the country's mortality rate was higher than the birth rate. However, the Government had made many advances in improving women's health, education and employment opportunities, as well as making child care facilities available.

LILIAN PATEL (Malawi) said one of the factors that impinged on the advancement of women was reproductive health. When a woman found herself with several close pregnancies, which resulted in too many births, the woman had less time to take care of herself, let alone think of ways to advance herself academically, economically and socially. Malawi, through the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Community Development and Social Welfare, organized a series of seminars to sensitize key policy-makers -- such as principal secretaries of Government ministries and departments, the private sector and Parliamentarians. Funds permitting, it was the Government's intention to sensitize every Malawian on the issues relating to women's reproductive health and how such issues affected economic and social development in general.

The Malawi Government believed that the task of achieving the total advancement of women required many players, from government, the private sector and intergovernmental and donor organizations, she said. Several non- governmental organizations had been established to advocate women's issues and to act as financial guarantors to large financial institutions. Efforts were also under way to amend Malawi laws that directly affected women, including


Third Committee - 1a - Press Release GA/SHC/3369 17th Meeting (PM) 29 October 1996

the Marriage Act, Affiliation Act, and the Wills and Inheritance Act. Punitive penalties would be levied against spouses -- especially men -- who committed certain offenses, including abdication of parental and marital roles; domestic violence against women and the girl-child; rape; and, defilement of an under-aged girl. It was the Government's hope that by 1997 all the laws directly affecting women and the girl-child would be amended and enforced by the Government, the judiciary and traditional authorities.

RADHIA MSUYA (United Republic of Tanzania) said in the follow-up to Beijing, many countries had formed national committees which included non- governmental organizations, passed legislation to support the Platform for Action and reviewed national policies and programmes to bring them into line with the Beijing commitments. Her Government had taken various national actions to implement the Conference's outcome. She expressed disappointment to learn from the Secretary-General's report that "the United Nations is still unable to implement many of the measures due to the constraints created by the financial crisis". The Organization's budgetary difficulties limited the capacity of the human resources department to undertake new programmes, but ways and means must be devised so financial constraints did not impede the target of 50 per cent gender parity. She expressed dismay that the constraints facing the Organization affected mostly women, particularly African women. That made matters worse, since the level of African women in the Secretariat was minimal. She hoped last year's resolution ascribing to the need for the principle of equitable geographical distribution would be applied to posts for women.

She said it had been recommended that there be a link between the Office of the Secretary-General's Special Representative on Gender Issues and the Division on the Advancement of Women. There was a perception that the link did not exist. For instance, fragmented follow-up had resulted in a lukewarm follow-up within the Secretariat and with Member States. The recent establishment of the Inter-Agency Committee on the Advancement of Women was welcomed, and it would create a link within the United Nations system and with Member States. In the present financial crisis, priorities must be focused. The advancement of women did not only refer to women but the actual formulation and implementation of development policies.

THAKUR PHANIT (Thailand) said his Government recognized that women were valuable assets and had dedicated great efforts to the empowerment of women. During the last decade, Thailand had achieved notable progress in the implementation of the three goals of the United Nations Decade for Women -- equality, development and peace -- which were inextricably linked to the three sub-themes of employment, education and health.

Thai women comprised 47 per cent of the total labour force, he said. Their significance in this sector reflected both the historical role of women


Third Committee - 1a - Press Release GA/SHC/3369 17th Meeting (PM) 29 October 1996

as important contributors to family income and the demands of the modern labour market. It could be said that much of the success of Thailand's economic development could be attributed to the labour of women. To further protect the fundamental rights of Thai women, the Government increased paid maternity leave from 60 to 90 days.

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was an important international mechanism for the promotion of the advancement of women, he said. Thailand acceded to the Convention in 1985, with reservations on seven articles. The Government had subsequently withdrawn five of those seven reservations during the past decade, with the most recent withdrawal of reservations to Articles 7 and 10 coming into effect on 1 August. This year, for the first time, six female officers were appointed to the rank of General in Thailand's armed forces.

FAYSSAL MEKDAD (Syria) said in his country, many misconceptions about the role of women in society had receded in recent years. In recognition of the important role played by women, the Syrian President had declared 21 March as National Mothers' Day. A government-sponsored media campaign had been launched to promote the Beijing Platform and a national committee of prominent women from the Government and the private sector had been established to ensure follow-up to the Conference. Education for everyone was considered a right in Syria. Illiteracy among women had decreased and females now made up half of the total enrolment in schools. The improvement in health care had been accompanied by a general decline in fertility rates as well as in child and maternal mortality rate. The Government had reviewed legislation to guarantee women's rights. Women enjoyed equal pay for equal work. The doors had been opened to all areas of life for women, including government, law, the judiciary, diplomacy and medicine; efforts were being made to increase their participation. There were national strategies to implement development projects and alleviate poverty. Economic and political pluralism was considered the best basis for promoting equality between men and women.

She said violence against women had been commented on at the Beijing conference and in other forums. However, that problem had been limited in Syrian society thanks to social and traditional customs which prevented any deviation from social norms of behaviour. Foreign occupation interfered with the implementation of women's rights. She called on all peace-loving people to support Arab women living under Israeli occupation in the occupied Golan, occupied southern Lebanon and the occupied territories.

OCHIR ENKHTSETSEG (Mongolia) said her Government shared the Secretary- General's view that the key aspect in implementing the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was for inter-governmental forums and the secretariats to ensure the inclusion of the concept of mainstreaming a gender perspective into their programmes and policies. Successful implementation would also depend on, to a great extent, the availability of sufficient resources. Mongolia welcomed the specific commitments undertaken by the organizations of the United Nations system to allocate a certain part of their resources and funds


Third Committee - 1a - Press Release GA/SHC/3369 17th Meeting (PM) 29 October 1996

to the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. In addition, new and additional resources were needed to achieve the Beijing goals.

Following the Beijing conference, she said, the Mongolian Government had elaborated and adopted a national plan for action for the advancement of women for 1996-2000. The draft of the plan was extensively discussed at a national assembly held in March 1996 under the theme "women in development". The plan set time-bound targets by the year 2000, which included reducing the number of people living in poverty from the current 26 per cent to 10 per cent; reducing the poverty rate among women by 50 per cent; decreasing the maternal mortality rate by 50 per cent, as compared to the 1992 rate, infant and child mortality rates by one-third; and, increasing the secondary school enrolment rate to 98 per cent. This plan of action was also being implemented in conjunction with the relevant national strategies of the other major United Nations conferences on children, population and development, social development and the poverty alleviation programme.

SHIREEN THAHIM (Pakistan) said steps to mainstream a gender perspective within the United Nations were satisfactory and now the next step of implementing policy decisions must be taken. Scarce resources must be used to alleviate the suffering of poor women, educate them and create facilities for their health care. The political and economic empowerment of women must be integrated. A system of interim reporting on national action plans could help address the absence of reports on national progress. Developing countries should be given guidance in the preparation and execution of their national action plans which could be done most efficiently through the resident coordinators.

She expressed satisfaction with the financial recovery of UNIFEM, and said her Government supported its five strategies and goal of increasing core resources in support of its outreach to the developing countries. The International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women was important for achieving the goal of mainstreaming and it should be strengthened so that it could play its rightful role. The involvement of non- governmental organizations in implementing the outcome of Beijing was indispensable. New avenues for partnerships with non-governmental organizations should be explored, so the economic empowerment of women could be extended to the grass-roots level. There should be a continued focus on women in developing countries whose hope for better health, education, dignified livelihood and equality were blighted by the curse of poverty. Millions of women must be fed and clothed before they could move on to the next stage of self-development. Violence against women was rampant in many parts of the world. Measures must be adopted to create viable legislation as well as administrative and political frameworks to protect women from random and systematic violence.

RADHIA ACHOURI (Tunisia) said that with the leadership of the United Nations, the international community had studied all aspects of the lives of women, and the Beijing conference had acted to reinforce a corpus of


Third Committee - 1a - Press Release GA/SHC/3369 17th Meeting (PM) 29 October 1996

international texts where women were seen as full-fledged individuals. The main achievements of Beijing were the reform of national policies and development of international cooperation so women could attain the same status as men. Tunisia attached special interest to the role of women in social development. Women in Tunisia were considered a fundamental element in the construction society and the success of development policy.

In recent years, she said, the Government amended legislation to further the cause of the advancement of women, including banning polygamy and forced marriage, and introducing divorce. In 1987, the Government also reaffirmed the economic and social status of women by stating that the principle of equality was just as important as the principle of freedom. A set of legislative reforms rid the law of past practices, so they could be adapted to advancement of human rights in all of its dimensions. Mainstreaming of women was not only part of an economic policy but it was also based on a consistent global vision of human rights and economic and legal equality. Currently, women were prime movers in fashioning a new society that Tunisia had chosen for future generations.

PAUL H. HOUANSOU (Benin) said the advancement of women and the implementation of follow-up to the Beijing conference must be linked. His country's Beijing preparatory commission had also carried out an awareness campaign after the Conference in rural and urban areas. There had been media seminars to spread the message and promote follow-up throughout the country. A ministry on the status of women, which was headed by a woman, had also been established. The country had enjoyed democracy and education for six years and learned many valuable lessons about women's role and history. Their economic participation in all areas of life was very important, and they enjoyed equal pay for equal work. One in 20 persons in government and parliament were women. Obviously, there was room for improvement. But there had been efforts to improve the level of health care and education for women and increase their participation in public life. The Government had devoted a portion of its budget to carry out its Beijing commitments, and he appealed to Benin's development partners to participate in those efforts. He hoped more countries would achieve the level of 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in development assistance.

He said efforts within the United Nations to promote women to high-level posts should observe the principle of equitable geographical representation. He hoped a list would be drawn up of women candidates who could serve as Special Representatives of the Secretary-General. A reduction in resources could not be used as an excuse for inaction in promoting women. The current situation was more a crisis of political will rather than a crisis in resources. He recognized the difficulties of assessing the exact level of resources allocated to the advancement of women. However, an assiduous search should be made to find a method to approximate and assess the amounts. He urged the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) to show more perspicacity in finding evaluation methods.


Third Committee - 1a - Press Release GA/SHC/3369 17th Meeting (PM) 29 October 1996

HASSAN KASSEM NAJEM (Lebanon) said the Beijing Conference was an event that helped raise the issue of women as an important element in social development. In Lebanon, women were not prevented from advancing in various areas. After the Beijing Conference, the Government established a national committee to coordinate implementation efforts at the national, regional and international levels. A seminar was held to discuss questions raised in Beijing, and a three-year plan of action was adopted to reflect the advancement of women in all legislative texts, to increase the percentage of women in economic activities and to promote the advancement of rural women.

Lebanon had achieved basic progress in eliminating discrimination by altering and abolishing certain texts, he said. For example, women could now exercise trade without prior authorization from her spouse. The educational enrolment rate for women and girls had risen and women's presence in universities had increased. Women were also participating more widely in economic and political spheres, and recently women had been introduced to the Chamber of Deputies. Women in Lebanon had proven their mettle during the darkest period of its history, and now the Government aspired for a better future, one of justice and equality.

IBRAHIMA SY, permanent observer of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), said the post-Beijing period had seen intensive collective efforts by African governments aimed at implementing the commitments made in the Platform for Action. The OAU was working out a plan of action to advance the status of women, as part of its policy programmes to ensure a wider gender perspective within the organization. It would become even more visible within the new structure of the integrated secretariat of the African Economic Community.

He said the OAU had co-organized the African conference on the empowerment of women through functional literacy and the education of the girl child in September in Kampala, Uganda, as part of a series of regional conferences. It focused on the safety and security of girls in school; alternative approaches in education; functional literacy; and a path to empowerment. The Kampala declaration noted with concern that education for girls and functional literacy for women continued to be severely restrained throughout Africa. It also took note of the special needs of women with disabilities which limited their educational opportunities. Poverty impeded any meaningful progress in efforts to raise the status of women, and he appealed for greater attention to the issue.

PETER SCHATZER, Director of External Relations of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), said at least 50 million women in the world today were estimated to be international migrants. Many of these women were vulnerable to deprivation, hardship and abuse. They had limited access to legal employment and almost always earned less than men and native-born women. The rights of many migrant women were frequently violated, often with impunity, and they faced risks of physical and sexual abuse when travelling and while in the country of destination. Lured by the promise of well-paid jobs abroad, and unable to migrate legally, many women accepted the services


Third Committee - 1a - Press Release GA/SHC/3369 17th Meeting (PM) 29 October 1996

offered by migrant traffickers, who, for a fee, provided fraudulent travel documents, transportation, guided border crossings, temporary accommodations and jobs. Once firmly trapped within an illegal migration environment in transit or in the receiving country, trafficked women were vulnerable to abuses such as bonded labour, sexual exploitation and forced prostitution.

Trafficking in women, and the violence -- discrimination and abuse afflicted upon migrant women -- was a growing threat to fundamental human values, he said. Combating these abuses and safeguarding the rights of migrant women was an important priority for IOM. Governments, international organizations and other institutions needed to step up their discussions of possible solutions and collaborate with IOM on this issue. Interested and involved parties needed to focus discussion on the harmonization of effective legislation and policy and ensuring respect for and promoting the rights of migrant women. The root causes of female migration and trafficking in women - - poverty, lack of opportunities, scarce resources and political and economic instability -- also needed to be addressed. Governments of countries of origin and of countries of destination must work together to achieve a more equitable and sustainable balance of opportunity.

Right of Reply

The representative for Kuwait, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said she was answering the statement of the representative of the Iraqi regime. She drew members' attention to a report of the Secretary-General (document A/51/1, Chapter 4, Part D) which referred to the status of Kuwaiti prisoners held in Iraq. In the report, the Secretary-General called upon Iraq to release all Kuwaiti captives. Later in the same report (paragraph 87), the Secretary-General, stating Iraq's non-compliance in releasing Kuwaiti prisoners, called upon Iraq to once again abide by its commitments in full.

Regarding the representative for Iraq's words regarding the rights of women in Kuwait, she said the last person entitled to discuss human rights was, needless to say, the representative of the Iraqi regime.

* *** *