United Nations

E/CN.6/1998/5


Commission on the Status of Women

 Distr. GENERAL
23 January 1998
ORIGINAL: ENGLISH


COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN
Forty-second session
2-13 March 1998
Item 3 (c) of the provisional agenda*


                FOLLOW-UP TO THE FOURTH WORLD CONFERENCE ON WOMEN:
                IMPLEMENTATION OF STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES AND ACTION
                      IN THE CRITICAL AREAS OF CONCERN

        Thematic issues before the Commission on the Status of Women

                       Report of the Secretary-General

                                     SUMMARY
    The Economic and Social Council, in its resolution 1996/6 requested the
Secretary-General to submit an analytical report to the Commission on the
Status of Women on the thematic issues to be addressed at each session. Four
critical areas of concern from the Beijing Platform for Action were selected
for consideration at the forty-second session of the Commission: Violence
against women (chapter IV D), Women and armed conflict (chapter IV E), Human
rights of women (chapter IV I), and The girl child (chapter IV L).

    The present report takes into consideration intergovernmental mandates
contained in Commission on the Status of Women resolution 41/4 and General
Assembly resolution 52/97 on violence against women migrant workers; CSW
resolution 41/5 and GA resolution 52/98 on traffic in women and girls; GA res.
52/99 on traditional or customary practices affecting the health of women and
girls.

    The present report addresses strategies to accelerate the implementation
of the Platform for Action in these four critical areas of concern, drawing
inter alia on recommendations from expert group meetings organized by the
Division for the Advancement of Women in preparation for the Commission's
consideration of agenda item 3 (c).

     * E/CN.6/1998/1


                                  CONTENTS

                                                        Paragraphs    Page

INTRODUCTION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    1-4        3  


  I.  VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5-44      4-12 

      A.  Recent developments and trends  . . . . . . . . . 14-25      6-9 

          1.  International level . . . . . . . . . . . .   14-19      6-7 

          2.  National level  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20-25      7-9 

      B.  Strategies to accelerate implementation . . . . . 26-44      9-12


 II.  WOMEN AND ARMED CONFLICT  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45-87     13-20

      A.  Recent developments and trends  . . . . . . . . . 47-55     13-52
 
      B.  Strategies to accelerate implementation . . . . . 56-87     15-20

          1.  Protection during armed conflict  . . . . . . 57-64     15-17

          2.  Legal definitions and standards . . . . . . . 65-71     17-18

          3.  Training, education and dissemination . . . . 72-87     18-20


III.  HUMAN RIGHTS OF WOMEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88-104    20-29

      A.  Framework for women's enjoyment of human rights,
          with an emphasis on economic and social rights  . 91-100    21-24

      B.  Strategies to accelerate implementation . . . .  101-104    24-29

          1.  Action at the national level  . . . . . . . . .  102    24-25

          2.  Action at the international and regional level 103-104   25-29


 IV.  THE GIRL CHILD  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   105-134   29-37

      A.  The situation of the girl child . . . . . . . . . 107-115   29-32

      B.  Strategies to accelerate the implementation . . . 116-134   32-37

          1.  General recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . 116-122   32-34

          2.  Adolescent girls in need of special protection 123-127   34-35

          3.  Health of adolescent girls  . . . . . . . . . 128-130   35-36

          4.  Empowerment and human rights of girls . . . . 131-134   36-37




 

                                INTRODUCTION

1.    In its resolution 1996/6 or 22 July 1996, the Economic and Social
Council called for an analytical report to be submitted annually to the
Commission on the Status of Women on the thematic issues to be addressed in
connection with the implementation of selected critical areas of concern
from the Beijing Platform for Action. The four critical areas selected for
review at the forty-second session are: Violence against women, Women and
armed conflict, Human rights of women and The Girl child. It was
recommended that the reports on themes include recommendations and
conclusions, and identify the responsible actors, and, as far as possible,
be based on available data and information.

2.    During 1997, the Division for the Advancement of Women of the UN
Department for Economic and Social Affairs convened expert group meetings
on three of the critical areas of concern to be taken up by the Commission
at its present session. These expert group meetings focused on issues that
had not previously received the attention of the Commission, and/or in the
view of the Secretariat, required further exploration in light of the
Platform for Action. In the critical area of concern, Women and armed
conflict, the focus of the expert group meeting was on gender persecution. 
This focus was selected as a follow up to an earlier expert group meeting
on women in power and decision-making which addressed women's participation
in conflict resolution. In the critical area, Human rights of women, the
focus was on women's economic and social rights, emphasizing in particular
the impact of gender on the conceptualization and full realization of these
rights.  The meeting highlighted the interdependencies among various
critical areas of concern of the Platform, and the role of a rights-based
approach to the implementation of the entire Platform and, thus, the
achievement of gender equality.   In the expert group meeting on The girl
child, the focus was on the rights of adolescent girls including adolescent
girls in need of special protection, health of adolescent girls, including
reproductive and sexual health and nutrition and creating an enabling
environment for the realization of human rights and empowerment of
adolescent girls.  The Division also commissioned five regional studies on
violence against women focused on the impact of measures being taken to
address domestic violence.  The preliminary results of the studies have
been drawn upon in this report.  These studies will be published later in
1998.

3.    The aim of the present report is to identify policy measures to
accelerate the achievement of equality between men and women, to eliminate
discrimination against women, and to empower women in the context of the
Platform for Action. Recommendations from the expert group meetings and
preliminary results of commissioned studies are set out in the present
report. The reports of the expert group meetings are available as
background papers in one official language only.

4.    The Commission's attention is drawn in particular to sections I.B.;
II.B; III. B., and IV.B. of the present report containing "Strategies to
accelerate implementation", as a basis for formulating agreed conclusions.

                          I. VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

5.    The Platform for Action identifies violence against women as one of
the priority concerns of the international community and particularly
deserving of urgent response. Critical area D of Platform, which
specifically addresses violence against women, categorizes it as an
obstacle to the achievement of the objectives of equality, development and
peace.1/ Critical area D is interlinked with critical area I - human rights
of women. Both critical areas classify violence against women as conduct
which both violates and impairs or nullifies the enjoyment by women of
their human rights and fundamental freedoms.2/ The Platform points out that
in all societies, to a greater or lesser degree, women and girls are
subjected to physical, sexual and psychological abuse that cuts across
lines of income, class and culture.3/

6.    Consistent with the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence
against Women,4/ the Platform defines "violence against women" to mean any
act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in,
physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including
threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether
occurring in public or in private life. It encompasses, but is not limited
to:

    (a) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the
    family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the
    household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital
    mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-
    spousal violence and violence related to exploitation;
    (b) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the
    general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and
    intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere,
    trafficking in women and forced prostitution;
    (c) Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated by the
    State, wherever it occurs.5/

7.    Particular forms of violence against women are also specified in the
Platform for Action. These include violations of the rights of women in
situations of armed conflict, in particular murder, systematic rape, sexual
slavery and forced pregnancy;6/ forced sterilization, coercive/forced use
of contraceptives, female infanticide and prenatal sex selection.7/

8.    The Platform points out that women in all countries, irrespective of
culture, class and income are at risk of all or some of these forms of
violence, but some groups of women as especially vulnerable. These include
women belonging to minority groups, indigenous women, refugee women, women
migrants, including women migrant workers, women in poverty living in rural
or remote communities, destitute women, women in institutions or in
detention, female children, women with disabilities, elderly women,
displaced women, repatriated women, women living in poverty and women in
situations of armed conflict, foreign occupation, wars of aggression, civil
wars, terrorism, including hostage taking.8/

9.    Knowledge about the causes and consequences, as well the incidence,
of violence against women have greatly developed in the twenty years it has
been on the international agenda.9/ Resolutions relating to various forms
of violence to which women are subjected in diverse settings have been
adopted by the Commissions on the Status of Women, Human Rights and Crime
Prevention and Criminal Justice, the Economic and Social Council and the
General Assembly. Particular manifestations of violence against women,
including trafficking in women and traditional practices affecting the
health of women and children, such as female genital mutilation, have been
the focus of the Sub-Commission on Discrimination and Protection of
Minorities. Reports of the Secretary-General on the differing aspects of
violence against women, and the vulnerabilities of particular groups of
women in this regard, including migrant women workers, have been submitted
to the General Assembly and various United Nations Commissions. The problem
has also been addressed by the specialized agencies, funds and programmes
of the United Nations, including the United Nations High Commission for
Refugees, the World Health Organization, UNFPA, UNICEF and UNIFEM, as well
as United Nations treaty bodies, in particular the Committee on the
Elimination of Discrimination against Women.10/

10.   The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, adopted
by the General Assembly in December 1993 was the culmination of United
Nations efforts since the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies11/ to address
violence against women. The Declaration locates violence against women
within the framework of violation of human rights obligations, categorizing
it as an issue of inequality and discrimination against women,  and sets
out strategies that Member States and United Nations agencies should employ
to eliminate its occurrence. States are urged to consider the development
of national plans of action to promote the protection of women against any
form of violence and, if appropriate, cooperate with non-governmental
organizations in that regard; adopt appropriate legal provisions; introduce
training for relevant sectors; address issues of education and the
portrayal of images of women; promote research and the collection of data
and statistics relating to gender-based violence; and adopt special
measures for women who are especially vulnerable to violence. Organs and
specialized agencies of the United Nations are requested to promote
awareness of violence against women, and coordination of efforts within the
UN is encouraged.12/  

11.   Categorization of gender-based violence against women by the
Declaration as a violation of human rights and a dimension of
discrimination between women and men, encouraged the United Nations
Commission on Human Rights to condemn all acts of gender-based violence and
to appoint a special rapporteur on violence against women.13/ Since her
appointment, the Special Rapporteur has reported on and made
recommendations relating to violence against women within the family,
including domestic violence, incest, and violence related to traditions and
customs, such as female genital mutilation, dowry violence and widowhood
rites and in the community, including rape, trafficking in women and
violence against migrant women workers.14/                       

12.   The recommendations adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women
with respect to violence against women built on previous efforts to address
the issue, both within and outside the United Nations.15/  They call for
Government condemnation of violence against women and due diligence in the
prevention, investigation and punishment of acts of violence against women;
implementation of existing international standards with respect to violence
against women and the support of international mechanisms in that regard;
adoption or effective implementation of legal measures to confront all
forms of gender-based violence against women; the introduction or
strengthening of  awareness-raising of the various forms of violence
against women, their causes and consequences, in all sectors, including
through an active and visible policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective
in all policies and programmes related to violence against women, research
and training and education for specific groups; and provision of services
for those affected by violence. Specific recommendations are also addressed
to the elimination of trafficking in women and the assistance of victims,
particularly young women and children, of violence due to prostitution and
trafficking.  

13.   The Platform's recommendations constitute a comprehensive policy
blueprint for elimination of violence against women; and efforts prior to
and following the Platform's adoption have gone some way to translating
those policies into action. The Secretary-General's second review and
appraisal of the implementation of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies
for the Advancement of Women16/ described strategies to confront gender-
based violence against women introduced at international and national
levels prior to the Fourth World Conference on Women.17/ Strategies are
also described in the reports of the Special Rapporteur on Violence against
Women; while measures introduced at national level pursuant to the Platform
are outlined in the national action plans which have been submitted by
governments to the Secretariat18/ in compliance with General Assembly
resolution 50/203 of 22 December 1995.


              A.   Recent developments and trends

                   1.  International level

14.   Since the adoption of the Platform for Action international activity
relating to violence has included further development of legal measures and
strategies to address gender-based violence against women; identification
of specific settings in which women are especially vulnerable to the risk
of gender-based violence; and continued emphasis on mainstreaming of a
gender perspective in all policies and programmes of the United Nations of
relevance in this regard.19/ The mainstreaming directive has sought to
ensure that relevant policies, programme formulation and delivery, for
example in the context of human rights, refugee protection, humanitarian
relief, and health, hitherto developed with little attention to their
differential impact on women and men, take account of these differentials
to promote the interests of women on a basis of equality with men. 

15.   The Commission on the Status of Women is currently formulating an
optional protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women which will allow women the right to seek
redress for violations of their human rights, including with regard to
gender-based violence. The preparatory committees for the Statute of the
permanent International Criminal Court have taken account of existing
provisions relating to the Ad Hoc Criminal Tribunals for the Former
Yugoslavia and Rwanda which address gender-based violence against women in
times of armed conflict.20/ The draft Statute for the Court, which will be
considered at an international conference of plenipotentiaries in June
1998, will almost certainly incorporate specific reference to gender-based
international crimes.

16.   The General Assembly has adopted Model Strategies and Practical
Measures on the Elimination of Violence against Women in the Field of Crime
Prevention and Criminal Justice which are put forward as a model of
guidelines to be used by Governments in their efforts, within the criminal
justice system, to address the various manifestations of violence against
women.21/ The Model Strategies, which build on the Declaration on the
Elimination of Violence against Women and the Platform, aim to provide de
jure and de facto equality between women and men and equal access for women
to justice. They outline detailed proposals with respect to criminal law
and procedure; police practice; sentencing and corrections; victim support
and assistance; health and social services; training for police, criminal
justice officials, practitioners and professionals involved in the criminal
justice system; research and evaluation; measures of prevention; and
international cooperation. Specific recommendations are also made with
regard to activities to follow-up the Model Strategies.

Vv   Monitoring of the implementation of the Plan of Action for the
Elimination of Harmful Traditional Practices affecting the Health of Women
and Children,22/ adopted by the Sub-Commission on the Prevention of
Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, which recommends strategies to
eliminate practices, including female genital mutilation, has continued
within the Sub-Commission.23/ The General Assembly addressed the issue of
traditional or customary practices affecting the health of women and
children in resolution 52/97 and a report on the implementation of that
resolution will be before it at its fifty third session in 1998.  UNFPA,
WHO and UNICEF issued a joint statement on female genital mutilation in
April 1997 offering collaborative support for Government and community
efforts in this regard. As part of an international advocacy campaign,
UNFPA appointed a Special Ambassador for the Elimination of Female Genital
Mutilation in September 1997.

18.   The vulnerability of women migrant workers to violence has emerged as
a concern of the international community, as has trafficking in women and
violence associated with prostitution, including in the context of sex
tourism. The Commission on the Status of Women and the General Assembly
have considered Secretary-General's reports on these issues24/ and have
adopted resolutions which suggest strategies relevant to these settings. In
resolutions A/C.3/52/L.19 and A/C.3/52/L.20/Rev.1, the General Assembly
invited the Commission to address violence against women migrant workers
and traffic in women and girls at its forty-second session under the
thematic issues on violence against women and/or human rights of women.    


19.   The Trust Fund in support of actions to eliminate violence against
women, administered by UNIFEM, became operational during 1997.  A number of
projects, predominantly relating to advocacy and public and sector-specific
education, have been resourced through the Fund25/. 

          2.   National level

20.   Approaches at national level to gender-based violence against women
emphasize policy and law reform; the introduction of services for victims
of violence; sector-specific and public-education and programmes; training;
and advocacy campaigns to address values, attitudes and actions related to
violence against women.   

21.   The major focus of activity, however, has remained law reform, with
many Member States seeking to provide women with comprehensive legal
protection from various forms of violence. Criminal and civil provisions to
address violence against women in the family have been adopted, with many
States recognizing that violence by a husband should be treated in the same
way as violence by a stranger. Sexual violence against women by their
husbands has been criminalized in several States; while others have
introduced legislation relating to female genital mutilation. Innovative
measures to combat stalking and harassment have been introduced in several
States, as have "sex tourism" provisions which allow for the prosecution of
acts of sexual abuse by nationals abroad in domestic courts. Evidentiary
and procedural reforms, which seek to ameliorate court proceedings, have
also been introduced with the aim of encouraging victims of abuse to come
forward.

22.   Governments have continued to recognize the value of shelters and
refuges and "hot lines" which offer support and assist survivors of forms
of violence against women and also provide a focus for social services,
such as counselling, public education and outreach services. A number have
acknowledged the key contribution of women's NGOs in the development of
measures to address violence against women and have assured them financial
support and involved them in the development of government measures to
address the problem.

23.   In recognition of the important role of the criminal justice system,
and particularly the police, in the context of gender-based violence
against women, Governments have encouraged the development of units within
the police to address various forms of violence. Domestic violence units,
police victim support sections, and other specialized services, including
anti-dowry cells, have been introduced in many countries, with officers
working in these units seeking to develop specific expertise in the
management of various forms of violence against women. Guidelines,
protocols, often with accountability procedures, have also been introduced
in some countries to ensure that victims are treated with sensitivity and
to provide the best opportunity for a successful outcome in any legal
proceedings. 

24.   Education and training for various sectors have also been priorities.
Many Member States have introduced or supported education and training for
police, criminal justice workers and others, such as prison and immigration
officers. Comprehensive gender awareness education, incorporating modules
relating to gender-based violence against women, has been introduced for
the judiciary and other judicial officers. Other sectors whose education
and training needs have been addressed include health care providers,
including traditional birth attendants, welfare workers and teachers.
Focussed education and training measures to address specific forms of
gender based violence, for example, relating to traditional practices have
also been introduced. Education materials, including guidelines and
protocols and interdisciplinary curriculum guides have been developed and
in several Member States measures of accountability have been built into
education and training strategies to ensure that lessons learned are
implemented. A number have also prepared resource guides to encourage the
sharing of best practices and good ideas which can be adapted for use in
other settings or jurisdictions.  

25.   Project proposals submitted to UNIFEM for funding under the Trust
Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women testify to
the growing acknowledgement of the importance of public education,
awareness and advocacy campaigns to foster a recognition of women's human
rights, an atmosphere of public disapproval of violence against women, and
community responsibility for such violence. Local and national campaigns,
using various media, such as drama, press and print, including posters,
radio, television and film have been initiated in many countries, by
Governments, NGOs and other parts of civil society, including the private
sector. Campaigns have ranged from general campaigns with regard to women's
human rights to very specific campaigns relating to particular forms of
violence, such as female genital mutilation, sexual harassment and
trafficking. In several countries comprehensive, innovative multi-media
"zero tolerance" campaigns have been initiated. These campaigns seek to
create a community consensus that violence against women is unacceptable.
Evaluations of these campaigns have suggested that they have had an
important impact on public perceptions of and tolerance for the forms of
violence against women they have addressed.


                   B.  Strategies to accelerate implementation

26.   Despite the clear progress in the achievement of its objectives,
concerted endeavours are still required to accelerate implementation of the
Platform and to have substantial impact on the elimination of violence
against women.  

27.   Several factors continue to limit the impact of strategies that have
been introduced or are proposed in this context. First, there remains lack
of understanding of violence against women and its root causes, with
efforts to address the issue very often being reactive, focussing on
symptoms and consequences, not causes; second, approaches tend to be
fragmented, rather than integrated; third, sufficient resources have yet to
be allocated to measures to address the problem; and competing values and
beliefs about women, their place in the family, the community and society
frequently serve to undermine the measures and their implementation. The
following paragraphs make a number of recommendations to accelerate
implementation of the Platform for Action.  These recommendations, which
are addressed to the national and international levels, are drawn from
suggestions made in various contexts, including previous expert group
meetings convened by the Division for the Advancement of Women and the
reports of the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women.

28.   The Platform stresses the importance of developing a holistic and
multidisciplinary approach to the elimination of violence against
women.26/ It also expresses regret at the absence of adequate gender-
disaggregated data and statistics, as well as documentation and research on
all forms of violence against women, noting that this makes the elaboration
of programmes and monitoring changes difficult.27/ The Platform makes
specific recommendations in this regard, emphasizing the importance of wide
dissemination of data, and research into the impact and effect of any
ameliorative measures.28/ 

29.   Member States may wish to consider developing a common basis for the
collection of data and statistics on violence against women and to
recommend that all cases of violence against women, whether they are first
reported to the police, health and social services, refuge or help lines or
women's organizations be systematically recorded. Member States may wish to
recommend the development of guidelines and protocols for statistics and
data collection, and research on violence against women. 
 
30.   In order to encourage appropriate resource allocation to address
gender-based violence against women, Member States may also wish to
recommend specific research on the social and economic consequences of
violence against women, taking into account financial costs, such as
housing, social services, health care, police protection, legal costs, lost
working hours and insurance costs. Member States may also wish to recommend
increased research into particular forms or sites of gender-based violence
against women.  For example, increased research into violence against
migrant women workers, trafficking and violence related to prostitution
might be recommended.

31.   The impact of existing measures to address forms of violence against
women has received little attention from researchers. As the development of
effective strategies depends on knowledge of approaches that have or have
not worked in the past, Member States should encourage impact assessment
studies. In collaboration with an international NGO and national NGO
partners, the Division for the Advancement of Women, assisted by resources
from the UNIFEM Trust Fund on violence against women, has commissioned
regional studies on the impact of measures to address domestic violence.
Further impact studies on all forms of violence against women, successful
intervention models and preventive programmes should be initiated, by
Member States, the UN and other bodies, and results widely disseminated. 

32.   Particular emphasis should be placed on the impact of legislative,
evidentiary and procedural law reform in eliminating violence against
women. Most countries which have adopted strategies to address forms of
violence against women have concentrated on legal measures. It is rare for
the impact of these legal measures to be assessed, but they are often
replicated in other settings and jurisdictions.  

33.   Legal change is rarely sufficient to address inequities women face in
the justice system, particularly as legal responses and reforms in this
context are usually based on a model of gender neutrality in a gender
specific area and rarely take into account the systemic inequalities in the
legal system which based on outdated sexual stereotypes. In addition, legal
reforms have usually been piecemeal, so that although important legal
changes may have been introduced in one area, their effectiveness has been
undermined by other laws and practices. The interaction of laws has
sometimes inadvertently resulted in conditions which lead to imbalances in
power relatings between men and women and increase women's economic and
social vulnerability to violence. For example, some countries have
introduced increased penalties for trafficking in women and better
implementation of controls against trafficking, but they have not
introduced complimentary reforms to protect victims of trafficking,
especially from deportation.  Again, the intersection of laws relating to
female genital mutilation in some countries with immigration legislation
has increased the vulnerabilities of victims of female genital mutilation
and their families. Governments should ensure that legislation is
comprehensively reviewed so that laws relating to other areas do not
adversely affect victims of violence against women.

34.   The most enlighted, integrated and comprehensive legislative reforms
are only successful if they are fully implemented.  Governments should
ensure that legal reforms are fully implemented by an enlighted and
educated justice system. One means of ensuring implementation is through
the introduction of measures of  accountability for police, the judiciary,
medical and psychiatric facilities, social services and others with regard
to their treatment of violence against women. Measures of accountability
should emphasise individual responsibility for the eradication of violence
against women, while at the same time underlining gender-based violence as
a critical community and national concern. 

35.   Continued multifaceted and multi-targeted measures to address
simultaneously specific institutions, such the criminal justice system, the
judiciary, hospitals and detention centres, the military, the workplace,
health and schools are also required. Education and training strategies
need to be continued and strengthened and should always incorporate
mechanisms of accountability. Model Guidelines and Strategies for all
sectors, such as those adopted by the General Assembly with respect to
crime prevention and criminal justice system are required, as are education
and training protocols and manuals. Existing training and resource manuals
which have proved effective, such as the UN Strategies for Confronting
Domestic Violence: a Resource Manual29/ should be widely disseminated and
translated into local languages.
      
36.   While education and training is necessary to change behaviour with
regard to victims, measures to bring about profound attitude change with
regard to violence, to promote the message to perpetrators that violence is
unacceptable and reassure victims that they will be taken seriously and
treated sympathetically are urgently required. 

37.   Governments should support the development of school programmes aimed
at enhancing awareness among girls and boys of gender-based violence and
its links with discrimination on the basis of sex. Programmes of peer
mediation and conflict resolution for children should be developed and
special training for teachers to equip them to teach cooperation in the
classroom should be introduced.  Programmes and training in this regard
should be monitored for effectiveness and routinely shared between Member
States.  Education and training for all disciplines should incorporate non-
violent conflict resolution and mediation skills. 

38.   Comprehensive public awareness and advocacy strategies seeking to
make gender-based violence against women a critical concern to everyone
should also be introduced. Campaigns such as the successful "zero
tolerance" campaigns should be replicated and their results monitored. 
Steps should also be taken to address  the generally harmful consequences
arising as a result stereotypical definitions of male and female behaviour
and the links between masculinity and violence. The notions that male
violence against women is a natural expression of masculinity and that
women are helpless and subordinate to men require constant challenge, with
steps being necessary to ensure that media portrayals and expressions of
popular culture do not reinforce these notions and thereby undermine
existing measures to confront forms of violence against women.  Governments
and other actors should encourage promotion of media portrayals of men as
cooperative, sensitive and full partners in the upbringing of children and
strong images of women. 

39.   Governments should explore ways to emphasise the positive roles men
can play in preventing violence against women and should also introduce
programmes for perpetrators of violence against women which encourage men
to take responsibility for their actions and to change their behaviour with
respect to women. Programmes should be evaluated and successful
interventions shared and replicated in other settings and jurisdictions. 
 
40.   Governments should recognize the role of NGOs in combating violence
against women and actively to support their development, including through
financial support.
 
41.   Consistent with the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence
against Women and the Platform for Action, Governments should recognize
violence against women as one of the results of the subordination of women
and the interrelationship of this issue with other areas of discrimination. 
Governments should recognize the interconnection of forms of gender-based
violence against women with other forms of discrimination and introduce
broad efforts aimed at increasing women's economic and social autonomy.
They should ensure that women's human rights are fully respected and the
full implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women.

42.   The impact of the Inter-American Convention on Violence against Women
should be closely monitored by Member States.  Governments should consider
the possibility of adopting a comprehensive international legally binding
instrument on violence against women, perhaps as a protocol to the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
In the interim, Governments should consider introducing a voluntary
reporting obligation with respect to the Declaration on the Elimination of
Violence against Women which would call for biennial reports on the
implementation of the Declaration in Member States.  Reports should include
assessment of the impact of measures introduced in this context. 

43.   States should ratify and comply with ILO conventions on the rights of
migrant workers so as to reduce violence against women migrant workers. 
States should actively address the abuse of migrant workers' rights,
particularly those who are women.  States should ensure that migrant
workers have the right to review their contracts in advance and be ensured
of a minimum wage of regular and appropriate wages of maximum hours of work
and holiday with pay and social security/welfare benefits at least equal to
those of the nationals of the country.

44.   Governments should encourage coordination and cooperation between UN
bodies and agencies with respect to violence against women.  The United
Nations should be requested to establish a readily accessible data base of
good practices and lessons learned relating to gender-based violence. 


                        II. WOMEN AND ARMED CONFLICT

          

45.   Chapter Two of the Beijing Platform for Action notes the change in
international politics as a result of the end of the cold war and
diminished competition between the super-Powers, including reduced threat
of global armed conflict and improved international relations and prospects
for peace between nations. At the same time, it recalls that wars of
aggression, armed conflicts, civil wars and terrorism continue to plague
many parts of the world and that "[g]rave violations of the human rights of
women occur, particularly in times of armed conflict, and include murder,
torture, systematic rape, forced pregnancy and forced abortion, in
particular under policies of ethnic cleansing".30/

46.   Critical area E of the Platform for Action addresses the effect of
armed and other kinds of conflict on women, including those living under
foreign occupation. It emphasizes that peace is inextricably linked to
equality between women and men, but that aggression, foreign occupation,
ethnic and other types of conflicts are an ongoing reality affecting women
and men in nearly every region. Noting that international humanitarian law,
prohibiting attacks on civilians, is at times systematically ignored and
human rights are often violated in armed conflict, affecting the civilian
population, especially women, children, the elderly and the
disabled,31/the Platform states that 'while entire communities suffer the
consequences of armed conflict and terrorism, women and girls are
particularly affected because of their status in society and their
sex'.32/ 


              A.   Recent developments and trends

47.   Women civilians and combatants may become targets of abuse from
different aggressors, including regular army and militia members, irregular
forces and members of their own community. While the abuses women
experience are various, recent extensive and reliable evidence has
documented their particular vulnerability to sexual abuse, rape, sexual
mutilation, sexually humiliating treatment, forcible impregnation, sexual
slavery, and forcible prostitution.33/ 

48.   Reports suggest these gender-based abuses are not an accident of war,
nor incidental adjuncts to armed conflict. Rather, these forms of
persecution reflect the inequalities that women face in their everyday
lives in peacetime. They may also constitute a deliberate strategy designed
to intimidate or undermine and inflict deep and lasting damage on entire
communities. The Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women has suggested
that gender-based persecutions, such as rape, in situations of armed
conflict, are not sexual, but aggressive acts, providing satisfaction
because of the humilation and helplessness of the victim. She has noted
that these abuses are used as instruments to punish, intimidate, coerce,
humiliate and degrade.34/ 

49.   Mass groups of citizens flee the destruction and physical harm caused
by conflict and become internally displaced persons or refugees. The
majority of these uprooted and displaced persons are females of all ages
and include unaccompanied girls and older women, whose male family members
are combatants, have disappeared, or died. Refugee women and girls,
particularly those with inadequate documentation or who are single and
unaccompanied, are especially vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse,
during flight, on arrival in refugee camps and in the country of ultimate
settlement.35/ Internally displaced women are often even more vulnerable
because the governments that have been unable to prevent their displacement
remain responsible for their safety while they are displaced. Perpetrators
include the military, bandit gangs, border guards, army and resistance
units and male refugees.36/ 

50.   Problems faced by women in refugee camps include lack of physical
security and privacy, sexual exploitation, physical and mental illness,
lack of suitable occupation and income-generating opportunities, and lack
of control over matters traditionally within their domain. The social
dislocation and disruption that accompanies flight from armed conflict may
also lead to increased intimate violence. 

51.   At the same time, during times of armed conflict and the collapse of
society it entails, women, whether or not displaced, play an especially
important role in attempting to preserve social and familial order.
Historically, neither the particular forms of harm suffered by women, nor
their role in maintaining some form of social order during conflict and in
post-conflict reconstruction have been addressed in legal and political
processes.

52.   Victims of gender-based abuses, such as rape and other sexual
assaults, in armed conflict are faced with overwhelming problems. Like
victims of such crimes in times of peace, they may feel ashamed and fearful
of rejection and ostracism by their families and communities. In times of
conflict, however, their trauma extends beyond their personal suffering to
encompass the conflict.  Family members and friends may have been killed
during the conflict and their personal problems may appear to them to be of
little significance. Those who have become pregnant by force or as a result
of rape may experience particular problems and may reject, deny or conceal
the pregnancy, attempt self-induced abortion or suicide.  Many victims may
experience sexual and reproductive health problems, but may be reluctant to
seek help because of shame or fear of stigmatization. Health problems may
include sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDs, the consequences
of mutilation and complications resulting from unsafe abortion. They will
also be psychologically scarred by their own experiences and those of their
families and communities.

53.   Significant developments in the treatment of harms experienced by
women in situations of conflict have occurred. The ad hoc Tribunals for War
Crimes Committed in Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda both explicitly
incorporate rape as a crime against humanity within their jurisdictions.
The Statute of the latter Tribunal also expressly includes rape, enforced
prostitution and any form of indecent assault as a violation of article 3
common to the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II. Through
prosecutorial policies, sexual violence has been charged under the Statute
of the Yugoslav Tribunal as constituting a grave breach of the Fourth
Geneva Convention, Relative to the Protection of Civilians in Times of War,
as constitutive of enslavement and torture and as crimes against
humanity.37/ Indictments have now been issued by the Yugoslav and Rwanda
Tribunals charging sexual violence as genocide.38/  The Rules of
Procedure and Evidence of the Tribunals recognize the need for particular
evidentiary exclusions in cases of rape and sexual assault.  The Statute
and Rules of the Tribunals also provide for a range of other protective
measures for witnesses testifying in Court.39/ 

54.   The United Nations Compensation Commission, created by the Security
Council to compensate for losses suffered as a result of Iraq's unlawful
invasion of Kuwait in 1990,40/ recognized that sexual violence as a
compensable war-related harm.41/The General Assembly Preparatory
Committee on the Establishment of a Permanent International Criminal Court
has included rape and other forms of sexual violence as crimes over which
the proposed court would have jurisdiction.42/The Inter-American and
European regional human rights bodies have found rape in conflict to
constitute violations of the human rights obligations of States under their
respective human rights conventions.43/  At national level, criminal and
civil proceedings have been initiated against individuals alleged to have
perpetrated gender-based violence against women in conflict
situations.44/  

55.   In 1991 the UNHCR issued "Guidelines on the Protection of Refugee
Women",45/ designed -to help the staff of UNHCR and its implementing
partners to identify the specific protection issues, problems and risks
facing refugee women."46/ They include guidelines for assessing the
protection situation of refugee women, addressing the physical security and
legal protection problems these women face, and methods for improvement in
camp design and operation. The UNHCR has also issued more specific
guidelines on the "Prevention of and Response to Sexual Violence Among
Refugees"47/which examine the nature and causes of sexual violence
against refugee women, and propose measures to prevent its occurrence. 
Some States have formulated guidelines for decision-makers with respect to
gender-related asylum claims.48/ 


              B.   Strategies to accelerate implementation

56.   Further progress is required before the actions identified in the
Platform for Action are implemented fully and women no longer experience
violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in times of
armed conflict, or as refugee or displaced women. It was in this context
that the Division for the Advancement of Women convened an expert group
meeting on "Gender-based persecution", organized jointly with the Centre
for Refugee Studies at York University, Toronto, Canada, from 9-12 November
1997.49/  Emphasizing the interconnections between critical area E and
other parts of the Platform for Action, including critical areas D and I,
the meeting made recommendations relating to legal definitions and
standards; training, education and dissemination; the participation of
women in decision-making and implementation, monitoring and accountability. 
The following recommendations for action at national, international and
national level are drawn from the results of the expert group meeting.  

              1.   Protection during armed conflict

57.   Greater efforts are required to understand the particular ways in
which women are affected by armed conflict. Sexual violence is only one
aspect of the problems confronting women in armed conflict. Governments,
intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations should
be encouraged to collect and disseminate information and statistics about
the effect of armed conflict upon women in all areas of their lives.
Greater attention should be paid to understanding the way that
characteristics other than gender, including race, ethnicity, sexual
orientation etc., play in determining the way that women experience armed
conflict. In this regard, the fact-finding and monitoring capacities UN
human rights mechanisms, and national and international NGOs, should be
strengthened.

58.   Special attention should be directed to the long-term health needs of
women affected by armed conflict. These include the psychological needs
arising from trauma and the effects of violations of reproductive rights,
including being forced into bearing children or denied the freedom to bear
children.  The experts proposed that initiatives to maintain and
reconstruct health systems during and after conflict should be taken by
Member States and bodies of the United Nations, including the World Health
Organization which focus on the provision of physical and mental health
services for women who have suffered the effects of armed conflict. 

59.   The expert group meeting recommended that the Office of the High
Commissioner for Human Rights should ensure that gender is fully
incorporated as a component in its field operations. OHCHR and other UN
system field operations should draw on the expertise within the United
Nations, including in the Division for the Advancement of Women, UNIFEM and
UNICEF and NGOs and others as appropriate, to develop gender sensitive
methodologies and guidelines and take cognizance of violations of women's
human rights.

60.   Member States should ensure that support is made available to the UN
High Commissioner for Human Rights to take measures for ensuring the
security of human rights monitors in order to facilitate performance of
their tasks.

61.   Experts recomended that the gender issues which arise in the creation
or operation of "safe havens" or "secured zones" as a means of protection
in situations of armed conflict should be examined. An expert group meeting
should be convened to consider peace-keeping forces, their membership and
accountability, and their role in the protection of civilians, including
women and men, in areas of armed conflict, with special reference to the
internally displaced and those located in or moved to safe havens or
security zones.

62.   Member States, international and regional intergovernmental
organizations and others should ensure that the design of camps for
refugees and those who are internally displaced is in accordance with the
1995 UNHCR guidelines on preventing and responding to sexual violence
against refugee women which seek to minimize the opportunities for sexual
and other forms of violence against women.
Steps should also be taken to ensure that women are closely involved in the
distribution of humanitarian supplies to ensure their needs are taken into
account.

63.   United Nations human rights treaty bodies should be encouraged to
take account of the sexual violence and other abuses against women in
situations of armed conflict and those abuses experienced by refugee women
and those who are internally displaced in their consideration of the
reports of States parties; as they formulate general comments and
recommendations; and in procedures, such investigations initiated under
article 20 of the UN Convention against Torture, and Other Cruel Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

64.   States parties to treaties, and in particular to the Convention on
the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, should
include information on the measures that they are taking with respect to
protecting, respecting and fulfilling the human rights of women refugees
and asylum seekers, internally displaced  women, returnees  and  women
affected by armed conflict both within their borders and beyond, in their
initial and periodic reports.  

              2.   Legal definitions and standards

65.   Existing and future international legal definitions and standards
should be examined to determine whether they adequately encompass claims
brought by women and address women's interests.  Women's interests must be
incorporated in mainstream legal principles, and definitions should reflect
the progressive development of the law. Particular care should be taken to
ensure that a gender perspective is incorporated in the future
International Criminal Court (ICC).
 
66.   Experts suggested that the governing statute of the proposed ICC
should declare in its substantive part that all its provisions shall be
governed by the international legal norm of non-discrimination on the basis
of sex. Sex-based crimes should be referred to in the Statute of the ICC,
and these crimes defined in such a way that their definition can evolve in
accordance with the progressive development of international law.  

67.   Redress for victims of armed conflict, including compensation for
women subjected to sexual violence, including in the framework of the ICC
should be a priority for Member States.
 
68.   Sexual violence in armed conflict should be considered as
constituting torture as defined in international human rights law. In
appropriate cases, sexual violence should be prosecuted as torture before
the ad hoc war crimes tribunals and the ICC.

69.   Member States should fully cooperate with the ad hoc Tribunals and
the future ICC in order to ensure that these bodies operate effectively.
Member States should introduce legislation and other measures at national
level providing inter alia for the service of arrest warrants and
extradition of alleged international criminals.

70.   Member States should recognize that discrimination in the
interpretation and application of the 1951 Convention Relating to the
Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention) and its 1977 Protocol is in
contradistinction to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women. States parties to the Refugee Convention
should adopt guidelines relating to gender-related asylum claims.  The
definition of "refugee" in the 1951 Convention relating to the status of
refugees and its 1977 Protocol should be interpreted in accordance with
international human rights and humanitarian law.
 
71.   Sexual violence in the context of armed conflict should be regarded
as "persecution" in international refugee law.  Where a woman's sex or
gender is a significant reason for persecution, her fear of persecution
should be recognized decision-makers as because of her membership in a
particular social group under the Convention relating to the status of
refugees. 

              3.   Training, education and dissemination

72.   Information on the jurisdiction and procedures for accessing the ad
hoc War Crimes Tribunals, human rights treaty bodies, and other relevant
mechanisms should be widely and actively disseminated by Member States, the
United Nations system and NGOs, including to women's groups and in local
languages. 

73.   Adequate professional support and appropriate gender training should
be provided for all departments of the ad hoc War Crimes Tribunals and the
ICC, especially the Witness Protection Unit of the Registry. 

74.   Legal education, including continuing legal education for members of
all levels of the legal profession should incorporate international
humanitarian law, human rights law and gender issues. Continuing legal
education should be available to the Office of the Prosecution, the staff
of the Registry, the members of the defence bars of the ad hoc War Crimes
Tribunals and the ICC, and the international judiciary.

75.   Support for the continuing development and psychological needs of the
staff members of the ad hoc War Crimes Tribunals, human rights monitors and
special rapporteurs be made available, for example through the appointment
of professional counsellors. 

76.   An adequate protection programme for witnesses and potential
witnesses and other forms of ancillary services, including physical and
mental health, social and other services to promote the interests of
witnesses and potential witnesses and to ensure the effective functioning
of the ad hoc War Crimes Tribunals and the ICC should be ensured.  A trust
fund to assist in the provision of financial resources for witness
protection and related services should be established.

77.   The expert group meeting emphasized that all relevant international
bodies, including the International Law Commission, the ad hoc War Crimes
Tribunals, the ICC, the  human rights treaty bodies, and extra-conventional
human rights mechanisms should reflect an equitable gender balance at all
levels.  The recruitment, appointment and promotion of all staff, including
at the ad hoc War Crimes Tribunals, and the ICC should be transparent and
governed by the policy statements of the Secretary-General with respect to
gender balance within UN agencies. The same principles should apply to
seconded personnel.  States should be required to conform to the policies
of gender balance, gender integration and gender mainstreaming agreed in
the Platform for Action, resolutions of the General Assembly, and the 1997
agreed conclusions of ECOSOC on gender mainstreaming50/in general.  
Gender balance in international judicial posts should be an explicitly
stated goal, and a consideration in judicial appointment alongside the
existing requirements of geographic distribution, and professional and
personal qualities.  Networks to identify appropriate candidates should be
established, and data bases maintained, by the Division for the Advancement
of Women.  The the OHCHR and the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and
Advancement of Women should develop pro-active roles in monitoring these
policies.

78.   In order to minimize the trauma for women associated with talking
about sexual violence, the ad hoc War Crimes Tribunals and the ICC should
ensure that female investigators, translators and other necessary personnel
are available.  

79.   The expert group meeting recommended that all UN peace-keepers should
receive training in international humanitarian law, human rights law and
gender issues. The training and pre-training programmes of UN peacekeepers
with regard to their mission should reflect sensitivity to women's security
rights and be informed on cultural specificities. Trainers should include
civilians, women and experts in gender issues. The Code of Conduct for UN
peace-keepers, which inter alia addresses behaviour of forces with respect
to women, should be kept under review and its impact monitored for
effectiveness.  In the training of peace-keeping forces, and preparations
of materials for that purpose, the expertise within the Division for the
Advancement of Women, UNIFEM and UNICEF should be drawn upon and utilized.
The impact of training should be independently monitored, evaluated and
assessed on a long-term basis. 

80.   Mechanisms for monitoring the behaviour of peace-keeping forces
should be introduced, particularly with respect to the impact of their
activities on women. Monitoring mechanisms should be accessible to affected
civilians and should reflect the views of the civilian population. Alleged
violations of human rights by United Nations peace-keepers should be
investigated and attract disciplinary action and appropriate sanction,
according to the expert group meeting.

81.   The experts also proposed that ad hoc committees to consider the
deployment of peace-keeping forces in particular areas or in respect of
particular conflicts should be established.  These ad hoc committees should
work in partnership with UNHCR, DAW and UNHCHR  with a view to ensuring
full protection of human rights for all and a gender-sensitive approach in
situations of armed conflict.
  
82.   In accordance with their legal obligations in the Geneva Conventions,
States should ensure dissemination of these Conventions and their
Additional Protocols at national, regional and international levels. Steps
should be taken to disseminate, and enhance the understanding, of the
substantive law of the ad hoc War Crimes Tribunals, and, as it emerges, of
the ICC. Standards in international human rights instruments and methods of
implementing these standards should also be widely disseminated.
Electronic, as well as traditional means, should be used for the purposes
of dissemination.

83.   Tolerance for diversity, respect for human rights and gender
sensitivity should be included in national education curricula at primary,
secondary and higher levels, including in teacher training. Curricula
should also incorporate international humanitarian law and human rights
law, including the jurisdiction and work of the ad hoc War Crimes
Tribunals. 

84.   Land-mine awareness classes that are accessible to everyone,
including women, should be conducted in afflicted areas.

85.   States should be encouraged to ensure full incorporation and
implementation of international humanitarian law, including the
jurisprudence of the ad hoc War Crimes Tribunals and the ICC into national
legal systems. Law enforcement personnel should be trained with respect to
the obligations resulting from this body of law and, in particular their
gendered aspects.

86.   The training of all persons involved in refugee determination should
include the impact of trauma, cultural difference and sex difference on the
willingness of women to disclose gender-based persecution, their ability to
present their stories, and assumed links between demeanour and credibility.
Training materials consistent with the Guidelines of UNHCR should be
developed by States and made available to others. Compliance with training
directives should be monitored and the impact of training independently
assessed.
 
87.   The ICRC should be encouraged to take further steps to increase
gender sensitive interpretation of international humanitarian law,
including practices and policies relating to internally displaced women.
The ICRC should be encouraged to enhance the status of its 1992 Aide
Memoire relative to sexual crimes in times of war and make it more widely
known.


                         III. HUMAN RIGHTS OF WOMEN

88.   Attention to the human rights of women has acquired a new dimension
over the course of the last decade.  While the 1985 Nairobi Forward-looking
Strategies for the Advancement of Women proposed various basic strategies
for women's legal equality in the chapter on equality, little attention was
paid to international human rights law as a framework and an obligation of
Governments in the realization of women's equality in the chapters on
development and peace.  Since then, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of
Action and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, as well as
other global United Nations conferences and summits of the 1990s, have
reaffirmed that enjoyment by women of their human rights is a priority for
Governments and the United Nations and essential for the advancement of
women51/.  

89.   Mainstream national52/ and international mechanisms for the
protection and promotion of human rights - including United Nations human
rights treaty bodies, non-conventional mechanisms such as the Commission on
Human Rights and its special rapporteurs, working groups and similar
mechanisms53/ - are increasingly paying attention to the full and equal
enjoyment by women of their human rights and to violations of human rights
that are particular to women.  These mechanisms are also increasingly
responding to the challenge of paying attention to gender factors that
impact on women's ability to enjoy fully and equally all human rights they
are entitled to54/.  Non-governmental organizations and organizations of
civil society continue to be critical actors in awareness raising regarding
women's enjoyment of their human rights.  In these efforts, the Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women55/ and
the work of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against
Women, together with the Platform for Action, provide an essential basis
and guidance for a gender-sensitive conceptualization, interpretation and
implementation of human rights.  

90.   Human rights require that States accord priority consideration to
their fulfillment56/.  Rights are not simply a matter of policy choices
for Governments, but impose legally sanctioned duties to respect and ensure
the rights in question.  Moreover, the full recognition of rights requires
the creation of effective channels of redress to hold States accountable
for violations of these rights.  Guaranteed rights are reinforced by
international mechanisms of monitoring and supervision which ensure
governmental acountability for their implementation and realization at the
national level.  Women's empowerment is advanced by establishing concrete
standards and mechanisms of accountability for violations of human rights,
encompassing civil and political rights as well as economic, social and
cultural rights.  Thus, the rights-approach is being increasingly pursued
by women, women's organizations and other entities seeking to promote
gender equality and women's empowerment57/.

            A.    Framework for women's enjoyment of human rights, with
                  emphasis on economic and social rights

91.   The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action provide a framework
for translating the provisions and positive forces of human rights law into
concrete actions for achieving gender equality.  Building upon the Vienna
Declaration and Programme of Action and taking it further, the Platform for
Action devotes one of its twelve critical areas of concern to the human
rights of women, and takes a comprehensive approach to women's human
rights, calling for an active and visible policy of mainstreaming of a
gender perspective in all policies and programmes58/.  It underlines the
importance of gender analysis in addressing the systematic and systemic
nature of discrimination against women in order to achieve the full
realization of human rights for all59/.  Both conferences and other
recent United Nations conferences contributed to the understanding that
women's equality and non-discrimination between women and men, as well as
women's equal enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms do not
occur automatically as a result of the overall protection and promotion of
human rights60/.  They thus strengthened an approach whereby these goals
are to be addressed explicitly and systematically at all stages of the
implementation of human rights instruments and conference outcomes,
including in the conceptualization of the protected rights and freedoms.

92.   Human rights and fundamental freedoms are inherent in the human
person and belong to women and men alike.  Referring to equal entitlement
guarantees contained in major international human rights instruments,
mainstream human rights approaches have long insisted on the presumption
that human rights norms are gender neutral or unaffected by gender. 
However, structural imbalances of power between women and men, the systemic
nature of discrimination against women, and the general absence of women in
law creation and implementation continue to reflect disproportionately the
experiences of men and exclude the experiences of women.  These imbalances
also influence the generally accepted understanding of international human
rights law whose structure and substance may present or preserve obstacles
to women's equality.  Many of the substantive norms of international law
are defined in relation to men's experience, and stated in terms of
discrete violations of rights in the public realm.  In addition,
inattention to rights of particular interest to women in the international
human rights discourse has resulted in neglect, and pervasive denial, of
the rights of women in particular in the private sphere.  These factors
have contributed to a lack of enjoyment of human rights by women which has
at its roots gender-specific explanations. 

93.   Women's equality cannot be achieved by treating women and men
identically, nor through protective measures for women.  Identical
treatment ignores women's and men's different social realities and gendered
roles.  Protective measures for women do not challenge the source and
nature of women's subordination and tend to perpetuate gender stereotypes. 
A focus on gender recognizes that women's unequal status is based on, and
is perpetuated by, structures of systemic inequality and discrimination
against women.  In that regard, the standard of measurement in the
realization of women's equality is not the current male standard of
equality, which would simply be a reaffirmation of the status quo.  Rather,
a new standard of equality should be envisaged based on a reconsideration
of current assumptions and a reconceptualization of the meaning of equality
from a gender perspective.  This standard would reflect the visions,
interests and needs of women, as well as those of men. 

94.   The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action noted that the
international community must treat human rights globally in a fair and
equal manner, on the same footing, and with the same emphasis61/. 
Notwithstanding the firm commitment to the indivisibility and
interrelatedness of all human rights62/, economic and social rights
remain less well understood than other human rights, and are treated by
States in a different way than civil and political rights63/.  While
various justifications for such differential treatment have been advanced,
it has also been emphasized that both civil and political and economic and
social rights entail positive and negative obligations, obligations of
conduct and of result, and obligations to respect, to protect, and to
promote and fulfill64/.  

95.   Women face constraints and vulnerabilities which differ from those
which affect men and these are of significant relevance in the enjoyment of
human rights.  In addition, these variables mean that women may be affected
by violations of economic and social rights in ways that are different from
men.  Gender factors thus need to be fully integrated at all three levels
of States duties in relation to economic and social rights - the duty to
respect, to protect, and to promote and fulfill.  

96.   Women are disproportionately affected by poverty and social
marginalization, and systemic and systematic discrimination against women
result in deep patterns of inequality and disadvantage.  Many women
experience multiple barriers in gaining access to economic and social
rights such as employment, housing, land, food and social security.  These
barriers include: the disproportionate burden of reproductive and caring
work performed by women; the sexual division of labour, and segregated
employment practices; discriminatory traditional and cultural laws and
practices; unequal representation by women in political and other decision-
making structures at all levels; the widespread violence perpetrated
against women.  These constraints are particularly acute for women who also
face discrimination on one or more other grounds65/.  Even when women do
have access to socio-economic rights, they frequently experience
discrimination in the enjoyment of these rights.  This discrimination is
manifested, for example, in unequal pay for work of equal value, inferior
benefits under social assistance programmes (as compared to the more
favourable benefits under social insurance schemes) and insecure tenure to
land and housing.

97.   Pro-active policies are required to ensure that women enjoy economic
and social rights.  However, the explicit and implicit inequalities that
affect women's enjoyment of these rights can be exacerbated by policies
introduced to ensure that women fully enjoy economic and social rights in
those cases where policy-makers fail to take account of the reality of the
lives of women, as well as men.  In most societies, women and men do not
occupy the same position.  For example, while poverty affects both women
and men, women experience poverty differently from men66/.  Measures
which are introduced to address poverty which fail to take account of the
differential impact of poverty resulting from gender may serve to
exacerbate and entrench this violation of economic rights where women are
concerned.  By failing to address gender, they may also fail to support and
strengthen women's capacity to break the cycle of poverty.  

98.   The rights of women to enjoy civil, political, economic and social
rights are often subsumed in a wider societal struggle for the realization
of rights.  For example, women's rights to enjoy economic and social
resources are frequently postponed until all members of society are able to
take full advantage of these rights.  Far from diluting the wider societal
struggle for the realization of economic and social rights, the
identification of women's independent entitlement to these rights can
strengthen the general quest for realization of human rights.  In addition,
postponing women's entitlement to full enjoyment of human rights in this
way entrenches and legitimizes existing inequalities based on gender. 
Therefore, specific constraints affecting women in the enjoyment of
economic and social rights should be identified in the societal struggle
for rights so that inequalities within societies can be addressed at an
early stage and a measure of gender equality ultimately achieved.

99.   A gender-sensitive methodology needs to be adopted to ascertain the
extent to which women enjoy economic and social rights and to determine
violations of these rights.  Data disaggregated by sex and gender-specific
information help to ensure that the different experiences of women in the
enjoyment of these rights, as well as their violation, are rendered
visible, especially since violations of women's economic and social rights
are seldom perceived as such.  

100.  It is important to interpret existing human rights norms creatively
so that they can be applied to those experiences of women which are
different from those of men.  As there are an infinite variety of ways in
which women's work can be rendered invisible and their contribution to
society can remain unaccounted for, Governments have a responsibility to
making visible these activities.  In this regard, many opportunities are
available to United Nations human rights treaty bodies and other monitoring
mechanisms for creative interpretation.  Such mechanisms need to be
perceptive and sensitive to the activities of women in different societies
which meet an innovative and gender-sensitive definition of work.  The
definition of some economic and social rights in existing instruments which
are not based explicity on the experiences or realities of women's lives
might need to be supplemented by newly-formulated rights which take account
of the life patterns of women.

                  B.    Strategies to accelerate implementation 

101.  It was against this background that the Division for the Advancement
of Women convened an expert group meeting on `Promoting women's enjoyment
of their economic and social rights', organized jointly with the Institute
for Human Rights at the bo Akademi University in bo/Turku, Finland, from
1-4 December 199767/.  Focussing on economic and social rights of women
not only allowed the expert group meeting to consider critical area of
concern I of the Platform for Action, but also emphasized the
interrelationship of this area of the Platform with other critical areas of
concern.  In particular, it drew attention to the connections between
critical area I and critical areas A (women and poverty) and F (women and
the economy).  These interdependences highlight the rights-based approach
that underlies the Platform and the pivotal role these rights play with
regard to the overall goal of the Platform for Action:  the achievement of
gender equality.  The following recommendations for action at national
level, and at international and regional level are drawn from the expert
group meeting.
      
            1.    Action at the national level

102.  While many actors have a role at the national level in promoting
women's enjoyment of their economic and social rights, primary
responsibility for ensuring enjoyment of these rights rests with
Governments.  

      (a)   Constitutional guarantees and the legal framework 

      -  Governments should guarantee economic and social rights in
national Constitutions; should put in place the necessary legislative and
regulatory framework guaranteeing a gendered interpretation of these
rights; should regulate the activities of individuals or groups so as to
prevent them from violating women's economic and social rights, and enforce
such regulations; should create and maintain infrastructure that provides
remedies for violations through acts of omission or acts of commission of
economic and social rights, and strengthen domestic enforcement mechanisms.

      (b)   National action plans

      -  National action plans on human rights of women should cover
strategies for implementing treaty obligations and responsibilities from
other instruments containing human rights commitments into national law and
policy; contain methodologies that identify different types of women's
experiences and needs in the area of human rights; cover data collection
and the development of qualitative indicators, and establish time-bound,
targeted outcomes and specific steps to achieve these outcomes; allocate
and reallocate resources to implement the plan and reflect gender policies
in national budgets; create and/or maintain an institutional framework to
enable women to enjoy, enforce and protect their rights, and to increase
women's legal literacy; and establish visible and transparent reporting
mechanisms on progress in the implementation of the plan.


      (c)   Gender-sensitive policies

      -  Governments should establish national gender equality objectives,
based on the appropriate constitutional mandate and the legal framework;
review and formulate development policies in all areas (such as in the
areas of agriculture, health, education, work, employment) in a way that
targets explicitly the enjoyment by women of their economic and social
rights; and establish monitoring systems to assess the impact of policies
with regard to particular violations that women encounter with a view to
reviewing and revising these policies.  Policies should aim at ensuring
women's equal access to economic resources and secure land tenure. 

      (d)   National human rights institutions

      -  Independent national human rights institutions should be mandated
to monitor explicitly the situation with regard to women's enjoyment of
human rights, including their socio-economic rights; should have the power
to request relevant information from State organs on measures taken toward
the full realization of economic and social rights of women and should have
the power to recommend legislative and policy changes; should have the
mandate to conduct public inquiries to investigate human rights issues,
identify structural problems, recommend solutions, and educate the general
public on human rights matters, particularly women's human rights issues;
should collaborate closely with national machinery for the advancement of
women.  

      (e)   Public awareness and civil society actions

      -  Public awareness campaigns should be conducted to publicize
women's human rights issues, including violations of these rights.  Civil
society should be involved through participatory processes in the
development of plans to promote and protect women's enjoyment of
socio-economic rights.  They should also be involved in setting realistic
targets, monitor progress and contribute to the implementation of such
plans. 

            2.    Action at the international and regional level

103.  Full integration of gender factors in all policies and programmes of
international and regional organizations is important to accelerate women's
enjoyment of their human rights.  Relevant mandates emanating from the CSW,
the ECOSOC and the GA on gender mainstreaming should be implemented and
effectively integrated in all activities of these bodies.  Greater
collaboration between international and regional bodies dealing with human
rights and gender equality should be pursued.  Further efforts are
necessary to move beyond recognition to gender-sensitive interpretations of
economic and social rights and the development of strategies for ensuring
their implementation. 


104.  The following recommendations are addressed to specific bodies and
mechanisms.

      (a)   United Nations Charter-based bodies 

      -  All Charter-based bodies should pay greater attention and devote
more time to economic and social rights, and the gender dimensions of these
rights.

      -  The work on the drafting and adoption of optional protocols
establishing communications procedures under the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights should be
completed as soon as possible, especially since it is in the framework of
such individual communications procedures that the gendered content and
meaning of such rights can be clarified and given form and substance.  

      -  The Commission on the Status of Women should give further
consideration to enhancing the communications procedure of the Commission
to make it an effective instrument for remedying violations of women's
human rights, including women's economic and social rights, in particular
by increasing the transparency of the procedure and ensuring the
independence of the body reviewing communications.

      -  The Commission on the Status of Women and the Commission on Human
Rights should keep under review obstacles and progress in the field of
women's rights relating to economic resources in order to ensure progress
in realizing women's economic and social rights.  To that end, the
Commission on the Status of Women should consider the appointment of a
thematic special rapporteur in the field of women's economic and social
rights.

      -  The Commission on the Status of Women or the Commission on Human
Rights should request that an authoritative study on the relationship
between global financial institutions and international human rights norms
from a gender perspective be prepared by the Division for the Advancement
of Women, in conjunction with the Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights.

      -  The Commission on Human Rights should continue to review the
attention which Special Rapporteurs and other non-conventional mechanisms
pay to gender issues.  Training and briefings should be provided by the
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in cooperation with the
Division for the Advancement of Women, to the Special Rapporteurs and other
non-conventional mechanisms on the gender dimensions of their mandates, and
the potential impact of their work on women's enjoyment of their economic
and social rights. 

      (b)   States parties to human rights instruments

      -  States parties to international human rights instruments should
renew their efforts to achieve a more appropriate gender balance in the
membership of male-dominated human rights treaty bodies.  In selecting
candidates, States should recognize that an awareness of, and sensitivity
to, gender issues in the field of human rights is an essential aspect of
the expertise expected of an independent expert who is to serve as a member
of a human rights treaty body.

      -  States parties to international human rights instruments should
request the Secretary-General to ensure that future editions of the United
Nations Manual on Human Rights Reporting under Major International Human
Rights Instruments fully reflect gender issues in the discussions relating
to all human rights treaties covered by the Manual. 

      -  States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
of Discrimination against Women and the International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights should ensure that the policies and programmes
of financial institutions to which they belong do not violate the rights
they have bound themselves to respect as States parties to those treaties. 
They should encourage the financial institutions to adopt policies which
enhance and improve women's full and equal access to economic and social
rights.  

      (c)   Specialized agencies of the United Nations system 

      -  Specialized agencies of the United Nations system should take
active measures to enhance their engagement, in a systematic and sustained
manner, with the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in order
to strengthen the Committee's attention to women's enjoyment of their
economic and social rights.

      -  Specialized agencies, in particular the ILO, should conduct
research to identify areas of women's work that are insufficiently covered
by international norms and standards, and to contribute to the gender-
sensitive interpretation of existing standards and norms.  Particular
attention should be paid to provide adequate standards of protection and
promotion of women workers' rights in the informal sector.  ILO
constituents should devote increased attention to sexual harassment in the
workplace as a violation of women's human rights, and as an obstacle to
women's active participation in the world of work.  ILO and other
specialized agencies should further disseminate international standards and
norms relating to women's economic and social rights, and encourage States
to ratify or acceed to such instruments. 
 
      -  Initiatives of specialized agencies that indicate greater
awareness of, and commitment to, the rights and gender dimensions of their
mandates, should be consolidated, utilized and further developed by all
actors in the field of human rights and gender equality.  The example of
the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and Plan of Action, agreed at
the World Food Summit organized by FAO in 1996, should be used as an
example in this regard.  

      -  Steps should be taken to integrate, where appropriate, a rights
approach to the policies and programmes of specialized agencies and other
entities of the United Nations system.  As in the case of UNICEF and the
Convention on the Rights of the Child, this may include the elaboration of
standards, whether by way of treaty or declaration, statements of
principles, recommendations or other normative measures.

      -  Specialized agencies should sensitize staff to the human rights
and gender dimensions of their work. 

      -  Specialized agencies, making full use of the expertise and support
of gender units or focal points - such as the United Nations Division of
the Advancement of Women - should institutionalize the mainstreaming of a
gender perspective at all levels and in all areas.  Wherever possible,
strategies to mainstream a gender perspective in specialized agencies
should be closely linked to those measures which are designed to integrate
a human rights dimension into the work of the agencies.

      (d)   Regional bodies 

      -  Various regional bodies should undertake steps so as to reinforce
the integration of women's full and equal enjoyment of their economic and
social rights within their respective mandates.  The establishment of an
African Court on Human Rights as well as the adoption of an additional
protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights concerning
women's rights should be supported and encouraged.  Collaboration between
the Inter-American Commission on Women and the Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights should be strengthened.  The Council of Europe should be
encouraged to restart its negotiations relating to the elaboration and
adoption of an additional protocol to the European Convention for the
Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms recognizing a
fundamental right to equality between women and men as an independent,
substantive right.  

      (e)   International and regional trade and financial institutions

      -  International and regional trade and financial institutions should
be urged to ensure that their policies, directives and other outputs
enhance women's enjoyment of economic and social rights.  This would
require as a first step the identification of key gender equality
objectives as integral part of the overall policy goals of these
institutions. 

      -  The World Bank and other international financial institutions
should be urged to integrate human rights impact assessments and gender
impact analysis into the programme formulation procedures of the
organization.

      (f)   Non-governmental organizations

      -  International NGOs should both reflect gender equality objectives
in their policies and programmes, and fully integrate economic and social
rights into their activities.

      -  NGOs should be encouraged to submit to human rights treaty bodies
`shadow' reports on economic and social rights that include a gender
analysis.  National NGOs, especially NGOs not in consultative status with
the Economic and Social Council, should be encouraged to contribute in
innovative ways to the work of United Nations human rights treaty bodies,
and particularly to their consideration of States parties reports. 
Information submitted by NGOs to United Nations special procedures and
mechanisms on human rights should include gender-specific information. 
They should also target other international bodies and processes with a
significant economic and social rights and gender dimension, such as the
ILO, WHO, FAO, UNESCO, World Bank (including its Inspection Panel), and the
World Trade Organization. 

      (g)   Transnational corporations

      -  The activities of transnational corporations require action at the
national and international level to encourage and enforce conduct conducive
to women's enjoyment of economic and social rights.  Governments should
enact and enforce laws to prevent and prohibit violations of economic and
social rights by TNCs, including discrimination against women in this
sphere.  Governments should create incentives to encourage TNCs to actively
promote women's enjoyment of economic and social rights.


                             IV. THE GIRL CHILD


105.  The issue of the girl child is addressed in Chapter IV.L of the
Beijing Platform for Action.  The Platform underlines that "discrimination
and neglect in childhood can initiate a lifelong downward spiral of
deprivation and exclusion from the social mainstream" (para. 260).  It
recommends that "initiatives be taken to prepare girls to participate
actively, effectively and equally with boys at all levels of social,
economic, political and cultural leadership" (para. 260).  Governments are
called upon to eliminate all forms of discrimination against girls
including in education, skills development and training and in health and
nutrition, and to eliminate negative cultural attitudes and practices
against girls, their rights and increase awareness of girls' needs and
potential.  Concerns of girls and young women addressed in this critical
area of the Platform for Action are amplified in all the other areas.

106.  The issue of the girl child was firmly placed on the international
agenda by the 1990 Declaration of the World Summit for Children which
accorded priority attention to the girl child's survival, development and
protection.  At the World Summit the international community acknowledged
that the equal rights of girls and the equal participation of women in the
social, cultural, economic and political life of societies is a
prerequisite for successful and sustainable development. The Programme of
Action, adopted at the International Conference on Population and
Development (ICPD) in 1994 also highlighted the need to improve the
situation of the girl child, to eliminate all forms of discrimination
against her, and to increase public awareness of her value.  The Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and
the Convention on the Rights of Child (CRC) contain mutually reinforcing
principles which, if fully implemented, would ensure the protection and
fulfilment of the rights of girls and contribute to ending gender-based
discrimination.


                  A.  The situation of the girl child

107.  Despite the world community's agreed commitments and legal
obligations, and general progress in improving the health, nutrition and
education of children, the situation of girls continues to be disadvantaged
compared to that of boys in many parts of the world.  Prevailing cultural
and social attitudes about girls' roles and the division of labour in
everyday life influences girls' status.   Worldwide, approximately 500
million children start primary school, but more than 100 million children,
two thirds of them girls, drop out before completing four years of primary
school.68/  In many countries, girls are breast-fed for shorter periods
than boys.69/  They are fed less than their brothers, forced to work
harder, provided less schooling and denied equal access to medical care. 
They marry earlier and face greater risks of dying in adolescence and early
adulthood because of early and too closely spaced pregnancies.  In
societies in which sons are preferred over daughters for social, cultural
and economic reasons, from early stages of their lives girls  become aware
that less value is placed upon them.70/

108.  In many countries, unlike boys, girls are often more expected to
assist their mothers and labour inside the home, or in family enterprises. 
These efforts are unacknowledged or underrated by family members and rarely
reflected in national accounts.  In many families and communities, there is
also less consideration and support to girls' education and career
development than for boys.  Furthermore, views  of girls, like those of
their mothers, are often not  sought on matters affecting the family and
even less on community matters or other public issues.  In such an
environment, it is almost impossible for girls to develop physically,
mentally and socially to their fullest potential and to prepare for their
roles as full citizens and to undertake unrestricted career choices.  In
addition, rapid urbanization, growing economic disparities between rich and
poor, and especially between the resources women and men control, armed
conflict and gender-based violence, exacerbate the already vulnerable
situation of girls in many parts of the world.  

109.  Furthermore, globalization, poverty, erosion of values, and family
and community ties make adolescent girls increasingly exposed to the sex
industry, child pornography, trafficking in women and children.  These
phenomena are neither confronted with adequate legal and political measures
at national and international levels, nor sufficiently addressed by civil
society.

110.  Neglect or abuses of girls in childhood generally lead to, or are
linked to, a lower status for them as women.  This situation not only
contradicts the human rights of girls and women but also deprives societies
of their full contributions in all spheres of life.  If girls are given
equal opportunities to develop themselves to their fullest potential, they
are more likely to grow up to be empowered women. 

111.  The increased awareness of prevailing discrimination against the girl
child and the results of the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights and the
1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing which called for concrete
measures to improve their situation and protect their human rights led to
the elaboration by some Governments assisted by NGOs of new policies and
gender-sensitive projects aimed at the improvement of the situation of
girls in various sectors.  Some positive examples can be noted in this
regard.  In the area of education, in Malawi the primary school textbooks
portrayed  girls and women in more realistic and positive roles.71/ 
Funds were provided by USAID to develop a gender-appropriate curriculum for
use in primary schools, teachers' colleges and in-service teacher training.
In Zimbabwe, the Ministries of Education and Culture and Higher Education
have adopted a policy of positive discrimination in favour of female
students with regard to the allocation of advanced level, technical and
scientific training places in secondary schools and technical colleges
respectively.72/  In Bangladesh, where the Female Education Scholarship
Programme (FESP) awarded scholarships to girls in grades 6 to 10, girls'
enrollment doubled and drop-out rates were significantly reduced.73/  The
FESP in Nepal showed similar results.74/ In India, an NGO in cooperation
with the Centre for Development and Population Activities launched a
project that offered training for adolescent girls who dropped out of
school.75/  The girls had the possibility to work at home with periodic
visits to local training centres.  Upon successful completion of their
course, they received a high school certificate.  In Namibia, the project
focussed on the preparation of girls for public life and decision-
making.76/  The NGO Preparatory Committee for the Beijing Conference has
developed an initiative to train young women for leadership positions in
the Namibian women's movement, and provided selected young girls with
special financial and academic support.  With regard to policies and laws
aimed at combating child prostitution, sex tourism, trafficking in children
and child pornography, some countries have enacted specific provisions to
ensure better protection of children.  Sri Lanka amended its Penal Code to
include sexual exploitation and abuse which cover prostitution.  The
Philippines addressed child prostitution and other sexual abuse in its
recent law against child abuse, exploitation and discrimination.  St. Kitts
and Nevis's Child Welfare Board Act 1994 defined child abuse.

112.  Discrimination against the girl child is particularly marked during
adolescence.77/  Adolescence is the period of transition from childhood
into adulthood during the second decade of life.  It is a time of physical
and emotional transition,  a critical period for personal development and a 
stage when impressions are made and minds are formed.  It is during
adolescence, at home, school and in the community, that girls and boys
learn how to relate to others, about their position in society, and about
the roles they are expected to play as adults.  Adolescent girls are often
treated as inferior to boys and socialized to have low self-esteem.  They
may receive conflicting and confusing messages on their gender roles and
may be denied the same opportunities as boys to receive education, skills
training, and employment, and to improve their status.  Many at the onset
of puberty, or even before, are considered adults and face early
marriage,78/ premature and/or unwanted pregnancy,79/ and coercion into
commercial sex work.80/  There is also a considerable risk that they may
become victims of sexual exploitation and/or exposed to the risks of
HIV/AIDS.  

113.  Because of their biological and social role differences, adolescent
girls have needs that differ significantly from those of boys.  Yet their
specific situation and needs remain largely ignored and neglected. And only
a few studies have focussed on adolescent girls and their situation or
sought to explore ways in which the risks facing adolescent girls can be
addressed and their human rights protected.      

114.  It was in this context that the Division for the Advancement of Women
(DAW), jointly with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United
Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Economic Commission
for Africa (ECA), organized the Expert Group Meeting on Adolescent Girls
and their Rights from 13-17 October 1997 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.81/ 
The Meeting focussed on the following critical aspects relevant to
improving the situation of adolescent girls:

      -     Adolescent girls in need of special protection, which include
            girls in armed conflict situation; refugee girls; girls who are
            sexually exploited; girls with disability; working girls; girls
            living in conditions of temporary or permanent loss of family
            and/or primary care-givers and; girls affected by deficient
            laws and abusive legal and judicial processes.

      -     Health, including reproductive and sexual health and nutrition.

      -     Creating an enabling environment for the empowerment of
            adolescent girls.

115.  Since the expert group meeting focussed on adolescence, many of the
recommendations specifically address this phase of a girls' life.  However,
most of the following strategies resulting from the meeting are relevant to
the advancement of girls at any age. 

                  B.    Strategies to accelerate implementation

                        1.  General recommendations

116.  The creation of an enabling environment for empowering adolescent
girls, particularly in line with the Beijing Platform for Action's
Strategic Objectives L.1, L.2, L.4 and L.5, requires the  recognition of 
their specific needs and situation.  Resources need to be mobilized and
secured to carry out in-depth assessments of the status of adolescent
girls.  This includes the disaggregation of existing information by sex,
age and other relevant variables and the acquisition and dissemination of
new information including: (a) qualitative and quantitative information
about the status of girls; (b) the factors which affect the fulfilment of
their rights in society; and (c) what will work best to achieve positive
changes for more effective policies and programmes.    Such findings should
be broadly disseminated and information sharing and networking among young
people, government agencies, international organizations and non-
governmental organizations should be encouraged.

117.  The media should lead public information campaigns aimed at
eliminating negative cultural attitudes and practices against girls and
achieving gender equality within the society.  Such campaigns, for example,
could focus on the historical role women played in national liberation
struggles, in negotiating for peace, in rebuilding the nation after war,
and their past and present roles in national and international development. 
At the same time, positive role models for girls emphasizing the importance
of women's various contribution to society in social, cultural, economic
and political activities should be presented by media and through other
forms of communication, including traditional communication modes to ensure
the messages reach a wide audience.  This will also work effectively for
boys and men to recognize their equal partnership with the female
population, since boys and men also need to be trained to be gender-
sensitive.

118.  Laws and other regulations should be reviewed with an aim to
eliminate all forms of de jure and de facto discrimination against women
and girls.  It is the obligation of States to ensure that rights of girls
are respected, protected and promoted.  At the same time, initiatives
should be taken to ensure that girls participate actively, effectively and
equally with boys at all levels of social, economic, political and cultural
activities, and to encourage  positive interaction for girls and boys
throughout these activities.

119.  States which are not parties to  the Convention on the Rights of the
Child and/or the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women should take urgent measures towards ratifying
the Conventions.   States which are parties to  the two Conventions are
urged to ensure their full implementation through the adoption of all
necessary legislative, administrative and other measures and by fostering
and enabling environment that encourages full respect for the rights of
adolescent girls.  At the same time, the Committee on the Rights of the
Child and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
should be encouraged to make particular reference to the needs and
situations of adolescent girls when considering country reports and their
comments should address those issues.

120.  The rights of the girl child to the realization of her human
potential in all spheres of life should be put at the forefront of action
at all levels of society.  This requires an approach in which the needs and
views of the girl child are elicited and taken into account in the
planning, designing, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes
designed for their benefit.  Girls should be trained in advocacy and
leadership skills to prepare for active and equal participation in all
aspects of civic life.  The approach should be multisectoral and holistic
and based on needs and opportunities throughout the life-cycle.  Government
agencies and civil society actors should make every effort to generate and
develop a collective understanding of gender issues and their impact on
social values, community attitudes and the behaviour of the girl child at
the national and community levels. 

121.  In formulating policies and programmes addressing the rights and
needs of the girl child, Governments should pay special attention to the
protection of girls from sexual exploitation and abuse, harmful traditional
practices including early marriage, teenage pregnancy and sexually
transmitted diseases.  They should also address special needs of girls in
the situation of armed conflict; refugee girls; working girls; girls in
dysfunctional family structures or living in conditions of loss of family
or primary caregivers; and girls with disability.  Targeted programmes may
allow the specific requirements of these girls to be examined in more
detailed manner, which can help effectively implement the policy measures
to improve their  status.  This can be best organized in coordination with
non-governmental organizations and community groups which work involve
close interaction with adolescent girls, and which are familiar with and
sensitive to local culture and social arrangements.   

122.  All levels of society including the family, community, governmental
and non-governmental institutions should be involved in implementing policy
measures to improve the status of girls.  This requires participatory and
holistic approach, actively involving all sectors of society including
justice, education, health, employment, social welfare, economic planning,
religious affairs, youth and culture.  Regional and international
institutions should collaborate closely and respond to the needs of all
actors at national level.  Effective mobilization of the whole community
and child-focussed community structures at national and local levels should
be given the highest priority to assume responsibility for situation
analysis, advocacy, monitoring, protection, recovery, rehabilitation and
the participation of the girl child.  


            2.  Adolescent girls in need of special protection

123.  Several factors contribute to the growing number of adolescent girls
in difficult circumstances, such as war, civil strife, ethnic conflict,
lack of legal mechanisms to punish perpetrators, increasing substance
abuse, changing value systems in transitional economies, and the general
increase in dysfunctional family structures due to, for example, overseas
migration of primary caregivers. 82/ Governments, international and
national organizations and civil society should:

   (a)   Formulate policies and programmes for the protection,
         participation and rehabilitation of girls in need of special
         protection;

   (b)   Organize community based actions including setting up local
         committees to monitor the implementation of the CRC and CEDAW,
         with special focus on adolescent girls;

   (c)   Promote a child-to-child approach in which trained adolescent
         girls communicate with, counsel and empower other girls.

124.  With regard to girls affected by armed conflict and refugee girls,
Governments, international and national organizations and civil society
should:

   (a)   Encourage groups at community level to take a substantive role in 
         reporting the violations of the rights of girls and in providing
         support services;

   (b)   Undertake various measures, including training and awareness
         raising campaigns to make personnel involved in peace-keeping and
         security missions, camp leaders and other support workers gender-
         sensitive;

   (c)   Ensure access to education of refugee and displaced girls in
camps;

   (d)   Implement the recommendations in the report of the expert of the
         Secretary-General, Ms. Graca Machel, on "Impact of armed conflict
         on children" (A/51/306);83/ putting special emphasis on
         adolescent girls, and working in close collaboration with the
         United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees and other
         international aid agencies.84/

125.  In order to advance the status of disabled girls, Governments,
international and national organizations and civil society should ensure
that disabled adolescent girls have access to  medical and social services
and provide them with education training and employment opportunities.

126.  With regard to adolescent working girls, the  Governments,
international and national organizations and civil society should:

   (a)   Take a leading role in monitoring and implementing the ILO
         standards and existing national laws on child labour;

   (b)   Ensure the rights of adolescent working girls to education,
         health, food, shelter and recreation and protect them from sexual
         abuses in the work setting;

127.  In order to protect adolescent girls from abuse and trafficking, 
that Governments should:

   (a)   Condemn and prosecute the perpetuators of violations of the rights
         of girls and the groups and individuals operating in the sex
         industry;

   (b)   Review or enact legal intercountry adoption laws and policies to
         prevent trafficking of girls under the guise of adoption;

   (c)   In coordination with civil society, support the recovery of
         victims, by establishing recovery centres with specially trained
         personnel;

   (d)   Completely ban child pornography and strictly prosecute persons
         engaged in production and distribution of such materials.

            3.  Health of adolescent girls

128.  Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being
and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity. The health of
adolescent girls is closely linked to the developmental nature of this
period of life. In order to promote the health of adolescent girls,  the
Governments, international and national organizations and  communities
should:

   (a)   Provide a supportive and safe environment at homes, schools,
         workplaces and give due attention to the health and well-being of
         adolescent girls;

   (b)   Establish coalitions of concerned organizations and individuals to
         advocate for adolescent girl's reproductive and sexual health and
         for eliminating traditional practices that are harmful to the
         health of girls;

   (c)   Support provision of comprehensive and accurate information and
         education about adolescent girls' health through multiple sources,
         including homes, schools, outreach programmes, youth centres,
         religious institutions, health services, media and social
         marketing programmes;

   (d)   Provide girls with the opportunity to participate in sports and
         recreational activities.
   
129.  In view of the importance of grounding policies and programmes
solidly in reality and to have better quality information on the health
status and needs of adolescent girls, the national and international
statistical and research institutions should:

   (a)   Disaggregate data on adolescents by age and sex;

   (b)   Establish and maintain a data base on the status of adolescent
         girls' health and development, including reproductive and sexual
         health, nutrition and HIV/AIDS; 
   (c)   Develop qualitative and quantitative indicators for the health of
         adolescent girls and boys, and consider these indicators when
         programming activities for adolescents;

   (d)   Disseminate research findings in an accessible format.

130.  Health services have to be sensitive towards the needs of adolescent
girls.  Therefore, Governments, non-governmental organizations and public
and private service providers should:

   (a)   Expand services, including counselling to adolescents by building
         on existing services which should ensure privacy and
         confidentiality, low cost, and accessible hours and sites that
         will optimize their use by adolescents;

   (b)   Ensure that all medical personnel is sensitized and trained with
         regard to the special health needs of adolescent girls;

   c)    Monitor and evaluate the existing reproductive health services and
         develop guidelines to ensure that they meet the special needs of
         adolescent girls.

            4.  Empowerment and human rights of adolescent girls

131.  Education; family, culture and social-economic environment; law and
legal reform; and the role of the media are critical for creating an
enabling environment for realizing the human rights of adolescent girls and
their empowerment. 

132.  Education is an important tool for the empowerment of girls.  Beside
providing access to knowledge, job and career opportunities, education
facilitates intellectual and social development, promotes health and
contributes to responsible decision-making.  Girls are often limited in
their access to education and teachers.  Moreover, educational materials
often reproduce a stereotyped image of girls as passive and destined to
serve others.  Governments, international and national organizations, civil
society and educational institutions should:

   (a)   Provide affordable gender-sensitive education at all levels and
         equal career opportunities for both sexes;

   (b)   Revise educational materials, teaching methodologies and curricula
         in order to eliminate negative images of girls and include
         positive role models;

   (c)   Design curricula that include information on women's contribution
         to history, development and culture;

   (d)   Introduce gender training for teachers;

   (e)   Carry out special programmes for girls who dropped out of schools.

133.  Stereotyped images are a major barrier to the empowerment of
adolescent girls. Both families and the mass media play a prominent role in
shaping the socially constituted role of girls.  Governments, international
and national organizations, and civil society should:

   (a)   Educate family members to respect the rights of adolescent girls
         according to the positive cultural and spiritual principles
         inherent within a society;

   (b)   Encourage parents to share family responsibilities on an equal
         basis by providing special support such as parental leave, child-
         care facilities and family life education;

   (c)   Establish guidelines for the media and utilize the potential of
         media in order to change the prevailing negative images of women
         and to promote the advancement of adolescent girls.

134.  In order to foster in adolescent girls a sense of their own potential
to develop and contribute as responsible citizens to society, Governments,
educational institutions and professional associations jointly with NGOs
should:

   (a)   Actively involve boys and men in all efforts to improve the
         situation of adolescent girls;

   (b)   Re-examine cultural traditions and practices so as to discover
         positive traditions that reinforce the international human rights
         standards regarding girls;

   (c)   Share the best practices from other countries and communities to
         illustrate that investments in the human development of adolescent
         girls are of critical importance to the well-being and progress of
         the family, community and the nation;

   (d)   Develop institutional mechanisms that will enable the
         consideration of views expressed by adolescent girls and women
         when formulating laws and national development policies and
         projects, and use such institutional mechanism to provide for a
         gender-impact assessment of those policies and projects. 


                                    Notes

1/   Platform for Action, para 112.
2/   Platform for Action paras. 112 and 224.
3/   Platform for Action, para 112.
4/   General Assembly resolution 48/104
5/   Platform for Action, para. 113; See also, Declaration on the Elimination
of Violence against Women, article 2.
6/   See also para. 135  (Check with JC before finalizing - Ref. to Armed
Conflict)
7/   Platform for Action, paras 114 and 116.
8/   Platform for Action, para 117.
9/   Report of the World Conference of the United Nations Decade for Women:
Equality, Development and Peace, Copenhagen, 14-30 July 1980, Chap. 1, Section
A, para 141 (f); Sixth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and
the Treatment of Offenders, Caracas, Venezuela, 25 August - 5 September 1980:
Report, Chapter 1, Section B.
10/  Second review and appraisal of the implementation of the Nairobi Forward-
looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, Report of the Secretary-
General, Addendum, Critical Areas of Concern, Violence against Women,
E/CN.6/1995/3/Add.3, paras. 12-21.
11/  Report of the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of
the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace, Nairobi,
15-26 July 1985, Chapter III, Sect. B, paras 258, 261 and 262 and Chapter IV,
Section E, para. 288, 290, 291 and 297.
12/  Relevant paras of system-wide medium-term plan report (E/1996/16).
13/  Commission on Human Rights resolution 1994/45, 4 March 1994; The mandate
of the rapporteur was extended for a further three-year period in 1997, res.
1997/44, 11 April 1997.
14/  Documents: E/CN.4/1994/42; E/CN.4/1996/53 and Adds.1 and 2;
E/CN.4/1997/47 and Adds. 1,2,3 and 4.
15/  For example, the expert group meeting on violence in the family, with
special emphasis on its effects on women, 1986; expert group meeting on
measures to eradicate violence against women, 1993.
16/  E/CN.6/1995/3/Add.4
17/  Nairobi Forward looking Strategies, Second review and appraisal of the
implementation of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement
of Women, E/CN.6/1995/3, paras. 23-73.
18/  See E/CN.6/1998/6
19/  ECOSOC agreed conclusions 1997/1.
20/  See infra paras.   
21/  General Assembly resolution A/C.3/52/L.6.
22/  E/CN.4/Sub.2/1994/10/Add.1 and Corr.1
23/  E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/6; E/CN.4/Sub.2/1997/10 and Add.1.
24/  A/50/378, A/51/325 and A/52/356.
25/  A report on the Trust Fund is before the Commission (E/CN.6/1998/9).
26/  Platform for Action para 119.
27/  Platform for Action para 120.
28/  Platform for Action para 129.
29/  ST/CSDA/20
30/  Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, para 11.
31/  Platform for Action, para. 131.
32/  Platform for Action 135.
33/  Letter dated 24 May 1994 from the Secretary-General to the President of
the Security Council and annex (Final report of the Commission of Experts
established pursuant to Security Council res. 780 (1992), S/1994/674; Rape and
Abuse of Women in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia: Report of the
Secretary-General, E/CN.4/1994/5; Report of the situation of human rights in
the territory of the former Yugoslavia, E/CN.4/1993/50, para 61; Report on the
Situation of human rights in Rwanda, A/51/657, para. 16-18; Report of the
Special Rapporteur on the situation of systematic rape, sexual slavery and
slavery-like practices during times of armed conflict, E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996,
para. 10.
34/  E/CN.4/1995/42, paras. 277-281.
35/  UNHCR (1993), The State of the World' Refugees: The Challenge of
Protection, London: Penguin Books, p. 70.
36/  UNHCR (1991) Guidelines for the Protection of Refugee Women, Geneva,
paras. 30-43; E/CN.4/1995/42, paras. 297-302.
37/  Gagovic and Others: The 'Foca' Indictment IT-96-23-1, 26 June 1996.
38/  Before the Yugoslav Tribunal see In re Karadzic and Mladic:  Indictment
(The Prosecutor v Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic), 1995 ICTY No IT-95-5-I
(July 25).  Before the Rwanda Tribunal see In re Jean Paul Akayesu: Amended
Indictment (Prosecutor v Jean Paul Akayesu), ICTR-96-4-T, 30 June 1997.
39/  See Secretary-General's Report on Aspects of Establishing an
International Tribunal for the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia (Report of
the Secretary-General Pursuant to Paragraph 2 of Security Council Resolution
808 (1993)) U.N. SCOR, 48th Sess., U.N. Doc. S/25704 (1993), at para 108: "In
light of the particular nature of the crimes committed in the former
Yugoslavia, it will be necessary for the International Tribunal to ensure the
protection of victims and witnesses.  Necessary protection measures should
therefore be provided in the rules of procedure and evidence for victims and
witnesses, especially in cases of rape or sexual assault."
40/  S/RES/987 (1991) and S/RES/692 (1991).
41/  UNCC Decision No 3, Personal Injury and Mental Pain and Anguish,
specifically recognising that "serious personal injury" includes "instances of
physical or mental injury arising from sexual assault." 
42/  Fnote documents
43/  Aydin v Turkey, European Court of Human Rights, September 1997. 
44/  Jane Doe I and Jane Doe II v Karadzic, US District Court Civil Case no
93 0878 PKL, Complaint; and Kadic & others v Karadzic, US District Court,
Civil Action No. 93-Civ-1163, Complaint p11.
45/  Geneva July 1991.
46/  1991 Guidelines para 16.
47/  UNHCR, Geneva, December 1993.
48/  Guidelines on Women Refugee Claimants Fearing Gender Related
Persecution, Issued by the Chairperson of the Canadian
Immigration and Refugee Board in March 1993 and reissued in 1996;
Considerations for Asylum Officers Adjudicating Asylum Claims for
Women issued by the United States' Immigration and Naturalization
Service in 1996; Guidelines in Gender Issues for Decision-makers
issued by the Australian Department of Immigration and
Multicultural Affairs in 1996.
49/  The Report of the meeting, EGM/GBP/1997/Report, is available
from the Division for the Advancement of Women/DESA.
50/  ECOSOC Agreed Conclusions 1997/1.
51/  Vienna Declaration and Plan of Action, para. II.36, and
Platfrom for Action, para. 213. 
52/  For an overview of activities as reflected in national
action plans and strategies of implementation of the Platform for
Action see the Report of the Secretary-General, E/CN.6/1998/6,
chapter I, human rights of women.   
53/  For the most recent overview on the integration of the human
rights of women in human rights activities see E/CN.4/1997/40.
54/  See, for example, the concluding comments of the Human
Rights Committee regarding the third periodic report of Peru.  In
this case, clandestine abortions were the main cause of maternal
mortality, and provisions criminalizing abortion even for
pregnancies resulting from rape were found by the Committee to
subject women to inhumane treatment, and to be "possibly
incompatible with articles 3, 6 and 7 of the Covenant". 
Consequently, the Committee recommended that Peru "must take the
necessary measures to ensure that women do not risk their life
because of the existence of restrictive legal provisions on
abortions".  A/52/40, paras. 160, and 167. The Committee on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights increasingly assesses how
women's enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights
compares to men's with regard to work-related rights, and the
impact of violence against women and of societal attitudes
towards women in this regard.  See, for example, the Committee's
concluding comments on Ukraine, E/1996/22, paras. 263 and 272. 
In its concluding comments on Algeria, the Committee "deplore[d]
the fact that such fundamental feedoms as the right to work, to
education, to freedom of movement, and the right freely to choose
a spouse are not fully guaranteed for Algerian women". 
E/1996/22, paras. 294 and 298. 
55/  As of 1 January 1998, there are 161 States parties to the
Convention.  
56/  See, inter alia, PfA, para. 213, and the VDPA, paras. I.1,
I.4 and II.36. 
57/  A rights-based approach is increasingly underpinning the
work of United Nations funds and programmes.  For example, in
January 1996, UNICEF's Executive Board endorsed an approach to
UNICEF's follow-up to the FWCW which inter alia emphasizes
children's and women's rights, enabling the Fund to use a rights
approach to strengthen action at both the policy and programming
level.  UNDP is establishing the link between sustainable human
development and the protection and promotion of human rights.  
58/  Bejing Declaration, para. 38, and PfA, para. 229 regarding
the enjoyment of human rights.  
59/  Platfrom for Action, para. 222.
60/  Platform for Action, para. 215 emphasizes that "Governments
.. must work actively to promote and protect [the human rights of
women]".  The VDPA, para. I.18, urged Governments and other
actors to "intensify their efforts for the protection and
promotion of human rights of women and the girl child".
61/  Vienna Declaration and Plan of Action, para. I.5.
62/  These have been reaffirmed, inter alia, in the VDPA and the
     PfA.  
63/  A study on `Progress and obstacles in the implementation of
human rights: review of the period 1945-1992' prepared for the
World Conference on Human Rights noted that of the 157 States
having constitutions, 83 per cent covered the three civil
freedoms (life, security of person and justice), and the three
rights to equality (race, sex, minorities).  On the other hand,
only 38 per cent covered the group of seven economic and social
freedoms (forced labour, child labour, freedom of association and
the rights to food, health, education and employment), 
A/CONF.157/PC/60/Add.1, para. 19. 
64/  For s summary of some of the arguments see the study Right
to Adequate Food as a Human Right, prepared by the Special
Rapporteur of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination
and Protetion of Minorities, issued as UN Publication Sales No.
E.89.XIV.2.
65/  Platform for Action, para. 225, indicates a series of
additional barriers faced by many women in the enjoyment of their
human rights. 
66/  See in particular Chapter II in the 1994 World Survey on the
Role of Women in Development, UN Publication Sales No. E.95.IV.1.
67/  The report of the meeting, EGM/WESR/1997/Report, is
available from the Division for the Advancement of Women/DESA. 
It is also available on the Division's Website.   
68/  Women: Looking beyond 2000", United Nations, New York, 1995.
69/  Women: Looking beyond 2000", United Nations, New York, 1995.
70/  Women: Looking beyond 2000", United Nations, New York, 1995.
71/  Human Development Report 1995", United Nations Development
Programme, New York, 1995 "International Labour Conference 86th
session (1998) Report VI(1), Child Labour: Targetting the
intolerable", Internatonal Labour Office (ILO), Geneva, 1998.
72/  Kurz, K.M. & Prather, C.J., "Improving the Quality of Life
of Girls", Association for Women in Development (Washington D.C.)
& United Nations Children's Fund (New York), 1995.
73/  Initial Report of Zimbabwe to the Committee on the
Elimination of Discrimination against Women, 20 July 1996,
CEDAW/C/ZWE/1.
74/  Kurz, K.M. & Prather, C.J., "Improving the Quality of Life
of Girls", Association for Women in Development (Washington D.C.)
& United Nations Children's Fund (New York), 1995.
75/  Kurz, K.M. & Prather, C.J., "Improving the Quality of Life
of Girls", Association for Women in Development (Washington D.C.)
& United Nations Children's Fund (New York), 1995.
76/  Kurz, K.M. & Prather, C.J., "Improving the Quality of Life
of Girls", Association for Women in Development (Washington D.C.)
& United Nations Children's Fund (New York), 1995.
77/  Initial Report of Namibia to the Committee on the
Elimination of Discrimination against Women, 10 February 1996,
CEDAW/C/NAM/1.
78/  see also "Enabling Environment for Empowering Adolescent
Girls", Background Paper prepared by the Division for the
Advancement of Women fo the Expert Group Meeting on Adolescent
Girls and their Rights, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 13-17 October
1997.
79/  The World's Women 1995: Trends and Statistics", United
Nations, New York, 1995.
80/  The World's Women 1995: Trends and Statistics", United
Nations, New York, 1995; Women: Looking beyond 2000", United
Nations, New York, 1995.
81/  Kurz, K.M. & Prather, C.J., "Improving the Quality of Life
of Girls", Association for Women in Development (Washington D.C.)
& United Nations Children's Fund (New York), 1995.
82/  See also "Report on the Expert Group Meeting on Adoelscent
Girls and their Rights" (EGM/AGR/1997/Report).
83/  See also "Impact of armed conflict on chidlren"
(A/51/306/Add.1).
84/  See also "Adolescent Girls and their Rights: Girls in Needs
of Special Protection", Background Paper prepared by the United
Nations Chidlren's Fund (UNICEF) for the Expert Group Meeting on
Adolescent Girls and their Rights, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 13-17
October 1997.

    	

 


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