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Claim Women's Human Rights
8 November - 17 December 1999

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Working Group Summaries
  • Nov. 8 - Nov. 12, 1999
  • | English | franšais | espa˝ol |
  • Nov. 15 - Nov. 19, 1999
  • | English | franšais | espa˝ol |
  • Nov. 22 - Nov. 26, 1999
  • | English | franšais | espa˝ol |

    About the Working Group

    The Beijing Platform for Action is one of the most comprehensive articulations of government commitments to the human rights of women and gender equity. The Platform Mission Statement affirmed "the fundamental principle" that the human rights of women and the girl child are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights. The text of the Platform calls for the implementation of strategies to ensure the rights of women and girls in all areas: legal rights, health, economic life, political decision making, education, situations of war and personal safety. The task following the conference was the translation of these commitments into reality.

    The five-year review of the Beijing Platform presents an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of a human rights based approach to women's issues/lives and on the challenges facing the women's human rights movement. Woman's human rights advocates have achieved recognition of the idea that women's rights are human rights in the Beijing Platform and other important documents of the decade. Yet reality lags far behind such rhetoric. In spite of courageous and innovative actions by women all around the globe, the concerted action and allocation of resources required for reducing human rights violations has not been committed.

    A rights based review will provide an opportunity to assess the progress made in the implementation of strategies to address both gender specific violations and those with a disproportionate impact on women.

    The Beijing Platform addressed the issue of women's human rights in two ways:

    1. Strategic Objective 1 - Human Rights of Women
    2. Articulation of women's human rights in the other critical areas of concern The "Claim Women's Human Rights" Working Group will discuss whether the strategies set out in both these areas have been realized. The Working Group will focus on the following questions:
      1. What are the trends since 1995 in attitudes and values that support the human rights of women and girls? What progress has been made? What concrete steps have been taken?

      2. What are the obstacles to full realization of these rights?
        • Resistance to the Platform for Action strategies
        • Contradictory government policies and practices
        • Lack of political will and and/or resources
        • Macroeconomic realities that mitigate against and violate the human rights of women and girls

      3. What must be done in the future?
        • Benchmarks of progress
        • Minimum standards for women's human rights in particular areas
        • New regional and international mechanisms required
        • Assessment of resources needed

      The Working Group will meet 8 November-10 December 1999.

      We proposed the following schedule for our discussion together:

      • Week One: What are the trends in changing attitudes and values toward women's human rights since 1995?
      • Week Two: What progress has been made in the ratification and implementation of basic human rights instruments especially CEDAW?
      • Week Three: What concrete actions taken to strengthen and expand women and girls knowledge of their rights through programs to promote legal literacy and human rights education about and for women?
      • Week Four: What actions have been taken to promote equality and nondiscrimination in the areas of: political participation, indigenous and migrant rights, health and reproductive rights etc?
      • Week Five: What actions have been taken to promote equality and non-discrimination in areas of economic rights, land and inheritance rights, access to basic services etc?
      • Week Six: What else needs to be done to secure women's human rights? What should the UN do?
      We look forward to discussing and sharing your experiences and ideas for claiming women's human rights.

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