Women Gain Last Minute Victory At Global Earth Summit
As the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Earth Summit) in Johannesburg, South Africa drew to a close yesterday, delegates agreed to add language to the final plan that guarantees access to comprehensive healthcare and reproductive services for women. The issue had become a road block during the last days of the international environmental meeting. While negotiations on the final plan were completed Monday, Canadian and European delegates were able to reopen the document Tuesday to add the 10 words, “and in conformity with all human rights and fundamental freedoms,” to a paragraph that promotes the strengthening of women’s healthcare.
Canada originally proposed the inclusion of a specific statement of human rights tied to women’s healthcare in an effort to prevent such atrocities as female genital mutilation and to safeguard abortion rights. Without this language, countries would be permitted to hide behind traditional customs and laws to vindicate the denial of reproductive services and other healthcare to women – as the Taliban did in Afghanistan, where women were not allowed to go to the hospital, to be treated by male doctors or to work as doctors themselves. Although the wording matches other international declarations on the topic, the addition of the human rights language was opposed by a coalition that includes the United States, the Vatican and conservative Islamic countries.
The United Nations Population Fund, which recently had $34 million in funding blocked by the Bush administration, notes that 70,000 women die every year from unsafe abortions, and 585,000 perish during pregnancy and childbirth due to inadequate healthcare, the LA Times reported.
Executive Director of Women’s Environment and Development Organization June Zeitlin said that after hours of “intense negotiations,” summit delegates added the language in a slightly different place in the paragraph. “We won, we won,” Zeitlin exclaimed as reported in the LA Times. “Never underestimate the women of the world.”
11/25/2015 Afghan Women Launch 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence - Afghanistan marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and begun participating in the worldwide 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which is being called in Afghanistan "Peace from Home to the World." During the launch day's event, which was attended by government officials, including First Lady Rula Ghani and women's rights activists, speakers expressed their commitment to ending violence against women.
First Lady, Rula Ghani gave a speech on ending violence against women and supporting women by stating that "war often leads society towards violence and this violence is in violation of human dignity. . . .