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Concessions Revive UN Women Declaration

Published: 31/03/2013 04:18:56 AM GMT
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UNITED NATIONS - Overcoming deep divisions, Muslim and Western nations agreed on concessions to adopt a United Nations code to combat violence against women and girls after two weeks of tense negotiations between the 193 UN m (more)

UNITED NATIONS - Overcoming deep divisions, Muslim and Western nations agreed on concessions to adopt a United Nations code to combat violence against women and girls after two weeks of tense negotiations between the 193 UN member states.

“People worldwide expected action, and we didn't fail them,” Michelle Bachelet, executive director of UN Women, said concluding what she described as a “historic” meeting, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported on Saturday, March 16.

“Yes -- we did it.”

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The resolution, passed late on Friday, March 15, followed two-weeks race to reach a consensus on a document aimed to end violence against women.

Ending threats to block the declaration, Muslim nations agreed to language stating that violence against women could not be justified by ‘any custom, tradition or religious consideration.'

Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Libya, Nigeria and Sudan, along with Honduras and the Vatican, expressed reservations about the declaration of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, but did not block adoption of the 18-page text.

They had objected to references to abortion rights and language suggesting that rape includes forcible behavior by a woman's husband or partner.

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood had called the proposed UN document un-Islamic and warned it would lead to the "complete degradation of society."

The Brotherhood also objected to references to giving contraceptives for adolescent girls and training them to use.

It also criticized granting equal rights to adulterous wives and illegitimate sons resulting from adulterous relationships.

The Islamist group also rejected the provision of legalizing abortion to get rid of unwanted pregnancies in the name of sexual and reproductive rights.

A proposed amendment by Egypt, that would have allowed states to avoid implementing the declaration if they clashed with national laws, religious or cultural values, failed.

Some diplomats said it would have undermined the whole document.

Action Needed

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said states have a responsibility to turn the 2013 declaration into reality.

“Violence against women is a heinous human rights violation, global menace, a public health threat and a moral outrage,” Ban said in a statement.

“No matter where she lives, no matter what her culture, no matter what her society, every woman and girl is entitled to live free of fear.”

The United States welcomed the accord as an important first step to ensure that women and girls "live productive and safe lives, free from the scourge of violence and abuse," senior US envoy Terri Robl told the meeting.

Germany's UN ambassador Peter Wittig said the document was “balanced and strong.”

Wittig tweeted that the declaration “sends a much needed message to the women around the world: your rights are crucial.”

The last attempt by the UN commission to agree a declaration on violence against women in 2003 ended in failure.

Islam, as a divine religion, sets down rules that strike a balance between men's responsibilities and women's rights.

Woman is recognized by Islam as the full and equal partner of the man in the procreation of humankind.

By this partnership, she has an equal share in every aspect.

She is entitled to equal rights, she undertakes equal responsibilities, and she has as many qualities and as much humanity as her partner.

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net




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