IPPF to Committee on Status of Women: Protect rights of women, girls

Dakar, Senegal (PANA) - The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) has called on the Committee on the Status of Women (CSW), a UN body currently meeting in New York, under the theme "Eliminating violence against women", to ensure that countries are protecting and advancing the rights of women and girls.

IPPF, a worldwide movement providing reproductive health and family planning services in over 180 countries, said incontrovertible statistics had shown that in countries and regions where sexual health services are poor, fertility is higher, maternal and child mortality greater, educational opportunity diminished, and economic prospects for women and for whole countries vastly depressed.

In a exclusive interview with PANA, the Director General of IPPF, Mr. Tewodros Melesse, said: "In Colombia for example, a woman is killed by a current or former partner every six days and In Somalia, 98% of women have undergone female genital mutilation while in Amhara, Ethiopia, 50% of girls are married by the time they are 15 years old.

"We are not seeing the rate of improvement that we would like to. What we are seeing is that if anything, abuses are intensifying and rights are weakening. We are better informed about these abuses and public outrage clearly shows that these violent acts are unacceptable in a modern society."

Every year, representatives of Member States meet at the UN in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote women's empowerment worldwide.

According to Mr. Melesse, the outcome of the meeting is a set of “Agreed Conclusions” that are passed by consensus by all Member States.

"Last year, there was a great deal of lobbying from the conservative and anti-choice movements. They were certainly very vocal. They were also very successful" by using  a range of statements to suggest that previously agreed wordings in the UN terms on gender equality should be amended.

"For instance, the term 'child marriage' should be replaced with 'early and forced marriage' because this covers girls who are married between their first period and the age of 18. They can also be recognised as victims of violence, not seen as willing brides," Mr Melesse said.
-0- PANA SSB/VAO 8Mar2013

08 march 2013 14:55:09

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