News/UN: Third Committee hears reports of trafficking ...

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Subject: News/UN: Third Committee hears reports of trafficking ...
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Wed Oct 13 1999 - 13:35:58 EDT


          UN: Third Committee hears reports of trafficking ...

OTC 10-13-99 12:13 PM

 OCT 13, 1999, M2 Communications - Trafficking in women and children was a
multiform phenomenon that involved migration, social issues, crime,
corruption, health, gender and human rights, the representative of the
Ukraine told the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) this
morning. The Committee met to continue considering issues related to the
advancement of women and implementation of the outcome of the Fourth World
Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995).
   The Global Programme against Trafficking in Human Beings, prepared by
the Centre for International Crime Prevention and by the United Nations
Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, would help governments
deal better with the issue of trafficking, she continued. That issue was
not just a violation of human rights but also had social and economic
costs.
   The representative of Thailand said that trafficking in women and
children was of special concern in his country. Coordinated measures and
programmes were needed because trafficking across borders could not be
controlled without the cooperation of other States.
   Discrimination and violence against women and girls were embedded in
cultures, traditional and customary practices around the world "so much
that many women themselves consider it a normal part of life", the
representative of Ghana said. Violence, or even the threat of it, impaired
women's health as well as decision making in all aspects of their lives.
   Women were particularly vulnerable to the world's shift towards a
market economy because production, social services and welfare support
services had been disrupted, the representative of Mongolia said. The
benefits and opportunities opened up by privatization had not equally been
shared by women. The representative of the World Bank said gender
mainstreaming was now common practice in lending sectors such as health,
education and rural development. It was also making an important
difference in non- traditional sectors such as infrastructure and finance.
To strengthen the Bank's impact on poverty reduction, gender was being
made an integral part of a comprehensive development framework.
   The representatives of the Sudan, Colombia, Yemen and China also made
statements.
   The representative of the International Federation of the Red Cross and
Red Crescent Societies also made a statement.
   The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow October 13, to
continue considering issues related to the advancement of women and
implementation of the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women
(Beijing, 1995).
          Committee Work Programme
   The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met this
afternoon to continue considering issues related to the advancement of
women and implementation of the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on
Women, held in Beijing in 1995. (For background information, see Press
Release GA/SHC/3521 of 11 October.)
          Statements
   APIRATH VIENRAVI (Thailand) said women were making themselves felt in
the political arena in his country. Even so, they were underrepresented.
Gender differences must not be allowed to impede the ability of men and
women to interact together in any sector of the social arena. On 10
December, Human Rights Day, his country would sign the Optional Protocol
to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
against Women. Trafficking in women and children was of special concern in
Thailand, he continued. Coordinated measures and programmes had been taken
to keep those women from prostitution and numerous laws had been enacted
to control trafficking. A committee had been established and arrangements
made with Cambodia to restrict cross-border trafficking. Such arrangements
would be made with others in the region; however, trafficking across
borders could not be controlled without the cooperation of other States.
Skills training was also important to control the trafficking. The
cross-cutting theme of protection and skills development was an important
focus. Women had made much progress, but more was needed to ensure that
gender did not make a difference as to the person we are and will become.
   ABDEL RAOUF AMIR (Sudan) said the goals and aspirations for women set
out in Beijing could be achieved by addressing problems in a comprehensive
manner. The problems took on different aspects in various cultures. In
Sudan, for women to enjoy their rights meant that all had to enjoy their
rights. The principle of justice presided. Women in Sudan enjoyed a lofty
status. Because of education, equal pay was guaranteed. Equal electoral
rights were provided. Equality was a right for the Sudanese woman, it was
guaranteed by the constitution. Women's development units had been
established in the Sudan, she continued. The national plan had been
established on the basis of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for
Action. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to advance women's rights
were becoming more numerous and more active. They were combating
illiteracy and advancing child care. Despite that, many problems remained,
including the absence of infrastructure in wartorn areas and lack of
external assistance. The American bombardment of a Sudanese pharmaceutical
firm had caused enormous problems for the country. That had been
unjustified force against civilian targets, a gross violation of human
rights. For the five year review of the Beijing Platform for Action;
donors should look to honour their Official Development Assistance (ODA)
commitments and to alleviate debt burdens. Sudan would actively
participate in preparations for the General Assembly's special session.
   ALFONSO VALDIVIESO (Colombia) said the Committee on the Elimination of
Discrimination against Women had identified some deficiencies in his
country's report. It was essential to recognize what the realities in each
country were. He urged those countries who had not presented their reports
to the Committee to do so.
   The situation of rural women worldwide was a matter of considerable
concern, he emphasized. Their situation was closely related with the
on-going integration of world markets. There was a tendency to
discriminate against women's access to resources and services. In spite of
their important role in agricultural production, rural women continued to
suffer poverty, he continued. The structural adjustments necessary for the
liberalization and privatization processes had had a direct impact on
those women. They lacked information, programmes to purchase land as well
as access to credit. Even though his country had implemented public
policies addressed to rural women, they had not established a
cross-sectoral approach.
   NAGIBA AL-NADARI (Yemen) said her country's legislation had been very
beneficial for women. Her Government's five-year economic plan included a
national strategy to improve the role of women in society. That strategy
included increasing of the number of girls in the educational system, the
reduction of differences between girls and boys in schools, and programmes
to offset the withdrawal of girls from school. Furthermore, literacy rates
for women had increased. Women's freedom to choose employment as well as
professional and training rights had been improved in her country, she
continued. Among other national objectives related to women were the
eradication of poverty, the means to create cooperatives, and programmes
to promote gender equality within the family. There was also a programme
called women and development. It was intended to provide equal
participation while respecting Islamic laws.
   YUAN XIAOYING (China) said the new openness and reform in her country
had brought profound changes for the broad masses of its women. They were
increasingly aware of being equal and independent. They had a strong sense
of participation. Due to the industrial structural adjustment, women
workers in particular had lost posts. The government had undertaken
re-employment projects on the basis of policies targeted at women.
   She said the special session of the General Assembly coming up in June
should be devoted to an in-depth review of the work done in the 12
critical areas listed in the Beijing Platform for Action. It should not be
a renegotiation of questions going over the same areas. There should be a
comprehensive review and appraisal of implementation. Then there should be
an analytical, objective conclusion about what had been achieved and the
remaining obstacles. Common, acute problems should be identified, ones
that faced women universally. Measures to address those problems should
then be worked out accordingly. OKSANA BOYKO (Ukraine) said more
action-oriented efforts were needed to ensure that the human rights of
women the world over became an integral and indivisible part of universal
human rights. Ukraine protected the rights of women in that way. An
effective national mechanism for solving gender problems was available.
The objective was to promote women's economic rights, increase the number
of women in leadership positions within the government, emphasize
reproductive health programmes and eradicate violence against women.
   That latter priority had been recognized as a critical area of concern
in the Ukraine, she said. It was a painful issue to have the country's
women and girls being trafficked for sexual exploitation and prostitution.
In Ukraine, it was a crime punishable by law. A regional programme to deal
with the phenomenon had been set up. It was a multifold problem, however,
and needed to be addressed accordingly. Trafficking in women and children
was a migration issue, a social issue, a crime and corruption issue and a
health issue, in addition to being a gender and human rights issue she
said. A Global Programme against Trafficking in Human Beings had been
prepared by the Centre for International Crime Prevention and by the
United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute.
   OCHIR ENKHTSETSEG (Mongolia) said her Government and the United Nations
Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) had signed a Memorandum of
Understanding to Economically and Politically Empower Women into the
twenty-first century. The Memorandum of Understanding was aimed at
enhancing the effective implementation of the National Programme for the
Advancement of Women, she explained. In spite of such measures, the impact
of the world's shift towards a market economy had posed new challenges to
achieve equality, she said. Women were particularly vulnerable because
production, social services and welfare support services had been
disrupted. The benefits and opportunities that had opened up by the
privatization process had not been shared equally by women. There was a
growing tendency for women to be the first to be laid off both from State
and private institutions.
   A national training seminar on "sex-disaggregated data and the use of
statistics and indicators in policy design" had been organized last May in
her country. It was intended to improve gender statistics in the areas of
major concern in the National Programme for the Advancement of Women.
   BEATRICE ROSA BROBBEY (Ghana) said discrimination and violence against
women and girls persisted. They were factors embedded in cultures, and in
traditional and customary practices around the world "so much that many
women themselves consider it a normal part of life", she added. Violence,
or even the threat of it, impaired women's health as well as
decision-making in all aspects of their lives.
   Unfortunately, many States still considered the practice of genital
mutilation as an initiation rite which allowed the girl child to integrate
into the community, she said. "Only intensive education and wide
dissemination of information about the negative impact of this and other
customary practices can effectively guarantee their total elimination",
she emphasized. Efforts to obtain judicial decisions should be the last
recourse in that context. She hoped that the Draft Optional Protocol to
the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against
Women would help curb the violence and discrimination women faced in their
everyday lives.
   ARMAS RAHOLA, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red
Crescent Societies, said the Federation was currently focusing on the
identification of good practices to demonstrate how the efficiency of its
disaster programmes could be increased by considering gender issues. There
were more than 50 focal points on gender issues at its national and
regional societies as well as country delegations. The role of focal
points was to raise awareness on the importance of gender issues in the
national society's daily work and to assist with developing skills in
applying gender analysis to programming. Last July, the Federation's first
case study was published with a view to sharing the experience of the
Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, which had adopted a strategy of
recruiting female volunteers in its disaster management programmes, he
said. "The set quota of including at least eight women in disaster
response teams of 25 volunteers was necessary for reaching women
beneficiaries, thus providing more effective disaster preparedness and
response", he added.
   CECILIA VALDIVIESO, Principal Economist, Gender and Development,
Poverty Reduction and Economic Network, The World Bank, recalled the
impetus given by the Beijing Conference to the mainstreaming of gender
into poverty reduction. Mainstreaming of gender had been found important
to lending sectors such as health, education and rural development, where
actions to address gender disparities were now common practice. It had,
however, also made an important difference in non- traditional sectors
such as infrastructure and finance. To strengthen the Bank's impact on
poverty reduction, gender was being made an integral part of the
Comprehensive Development Framework. The Comprehensive Development
Framework took into account the economic, structural, social and
institutional aspects of development, she said. The participation of women
in strategic consultations had already been found to strengthen the
agenda, build national ownership and overcome gender disparities. New ways
would be found to integrate gender into work with partners and clients in
developing structures and mechanisms based on specific realities,
constraints and development priorities. Gender was also being integrated
into country assistance strategies.
   She said that next year, the World Development Report on Poverty and
Development would integrate gender throughout its central analysis of
empowerment, security and opportunity for the poor. The Bank was also
proposing to devote the World Development Report 2004 to an in-depth
analysis of gender for the international development agenda.
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Melanie Orhant
morhant@igc.org
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