News / Middle East

Muslim, Western Nations Agree to UN Accord on Women

In this Wednesday, March 13, 2013 photo, Indian villagers walk to fetch drinking water at Kasu village, in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.
In this Wednesday, March 13, 2013 photo, Indian villagers walk to fetch drinking water at Kasu village, in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.
VOA News
Muslim and Western nations have overcome deep differences to agree to a historic United Nations declaration setting out a code of conduct for combating violence against women and girls.

Several Muslim nations and the Vatican had expressed reservations about the declaration of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women, but did not block its adoption Friday at the U.N. headquarters in New York.

While the declaration of the commission is not binding, diplomats and rights activists say it carries enough global weight to pressure countries to improve the lives of women and girls.

The accord urges state to "strongly condemn" all forms of violence against women and girls, and to refrain from invoking "any custom, tradition or religious consideration to avoid their obligations" to eliminate violence against females.

Russia, the Vatican, Iran and other Muslim states had also objected to references to reproduction rights.

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood had warned the proposal would lead to the "complete degradation of society."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said violence against women is "a heinous human rights violation, global menace, a public health threat and a moral outrage."

The secretary-general said every woman and girl has "the universal human right to be free from all forms of violence so as to fulfill her full potential and dreams for the future."

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by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
March 16, 2013 11:09 AM
A very small incremental step, at this rate by the year 2200+, we may see full equality and fully protected rights for females. There are two aspects, one about equal rights for males and females; and the other one is directly related to the enforcement of laws when a crime, especially a crime of violence, is committed against a female. The fact that no reporting/data gathering mechanisms have been mandated (not mentioned in the article), a voluntary code of conduct will probably do very little to protect females or to improve on their rights. In societies that females are not emancipated, and are not fully allowed to contribute to their societies, such societies are failing and are not sustainable. We see ample examples of this reality all over the world, of successful societies in which females contribute; and those societies struggling for survival in which females are not emancipated, and are not allowed to fully contribute. The common denominator is the status of the rights of females- in failing societies, females are not emancipated; in successful societies females are emancipated. These voluntary agreement will do little to improve living conditions/rights for females, and little to improve the sustainability of the marginal/failing societies.

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