[Stop-traffic] 11/25: Enforcement of Violence Laws Sought

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] 11/25: Enforcement of Violence Laws Sought
From: Ann Jordan (Annj@HRLawgroup.org)
Date: Mon Nov 27 2000 - 19:24:14 EST

[ Please note the second paragraph from the bottom... ]

Enforcement of Violence Laws Sought

.c The Associated Press

VALENCIA, Spain (AP) - Delegates to a conference on violence against
women appealed to governments Saturday for a rash of measures ranging
from cracking down on rape within marriage to stopping female genital

As the three-day conference came to a close, many delegates praised
progress made in combatting violence against women. They cited
countries that have changed laws and launched education campaigns.

But the verdict from participants from Ghana, France, Afghanistan and
the United States was unanimous: such laws need to be enforced better.

``There is a global consensus on the need to tackle domestic
violence. It is time now to focus on implementation and assessment of
what has been agreed,'' said Noeleen Heyzer, executive director of
the U.N. Development Fund for Women. She called violence against
women a ``culture of silence and shame.''

The conference brought together some 1,300 delegates from 100
countries. They included both victims of violence and activists
working to stop it.

They focused a global spotlight on different aspects of gender-based
violence, including domestic violence, the effects of war on women,
female genital mutilation and sexual exploitation.

Data presented at the forum in this eastern Spanish city showed that
up to 50 percent of the world's women are physically abused by their
partners, four million are involved in sex-trafficking every year and
130 million women, most of them in Africa, have been subjected to
ritual genital mutilation.

In a final statement, the activists proposed criminalizing rape in
marriage and denying perpetrators of domestic violence automatic
rights of access to their children.

They also asked governments to earmark money for ensuring gender
equality and protecting women and children from violence.

Judge Navanethem Pillay, the head of the U.N. tribunal war crimes
committed in Rwanda, said governments should typify rape as a war

Elf Dorkenoo of Ghana, a panelist on female genital mutilation,
called on governments and the United Nations to eliminate the
practice worldwide.

Controversy arose when panelists on sexual exploitation agreed in
their final statement that prostitution should not be considered a
form of exploitation in cases where women freely choose it as a

The recommendations arising from the forum will be submitted to the
parliaments and governments of the participating countries. They
established Nov. 25 as a date every year to review progress and
monitor action plans to combat domestic violence all over the world.

AP-NY-11-25-00 1917EST

Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.

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