What have we achieved and where are we 20 years down the lane from when the historic document Beijing Platform for Action was drafted in 1995. While we are heading towards drafting a new world development agenda post 2015, civil society organizations around the globe are mobilizing and accelerating their efforts to get their voices heard and concerns adopted in the post 2015 development agenda. In a similar effort a three day Asia Pacific Civil Society forum on Beijing +20 Regional Review was held in Bangkok, Thailand. The three day workshop had eighteen simultaneous workshops touching upon issues that affect women’s human rights and their empowerment in the region. The discussions in the workshops forged the recommendations that civil society gave to governments in the inter-governmental meeting—UN ESCAP Asia and Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Beijing+20 review— held on November 17-20 in Bangkok. A summary of the first day’s discussion is available here: http://www.isiswomen.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1734:all-women-were-seen-all-women-were-heard&catid=211&Itemid=468
The Beijing +20 CSO forum brought together 400 women’s rights activist from the region, in the three day workshop where cross-cutting issues, such as race, class, ability, age, HIV status, reproductive and sexual rights and sexual orientation and gender identity were deliberated. The forum ended with an outcome document adopted by consensus, containing recommendations for the governments that were scheduled to meet next week in Bangkok. The document included key issues linked to the economy and the environment and its interconnection with development, poverty, trade, and labor and land rights. Thirteen briefing papers on crucial discussions informed the outcome document. The key message on abortion adopted by the document read as follows:
“Abortion- There is a need to guarantee safe and legal abortion in the region and decriminalize this practice. Government should eliminate social, cultural, structural and religious barriers to access abortion and guarantee that it is part of public health policies and health care services.” ASAP along with WGNRR played a critical role in drafting the language around abortion and reproductive rights. Read all statements here:
The CSO statement called on the governments to commit to development justice and listed concerns and priorities for women in the region regarding the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, the Post-2015 Development Agenda and beyond. In the area of SRHR, CSOs demanded to ensure that all women and girls can exercise their right to a full range of quality, free, and comprehensive sexuality education and reproductive health information and services, including safe and legal abortion, to revoke discriminatory and punitive laws and policies that undermine the sexual and reproductive health and rights of marginalized women and girls, and to guarantee sufficient financing for sexual and reproductive health services among others.
Read the full statement here: file:///C:/Users/JXS0126/Downloads/CSO-Forum-Statement-FINAL-17-Nov-14-%20(1).pdf