MAY 9, 2013







The New York County Lawyers’ Association (NYCLA), an accredited Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) to the United Nations Economic and Social Council since 2003, has seven designated representatives for 2013: Marilyn J. Flood, Gordon Eng, Sophia J Gianacoplos, Christina T. Holder, Hon. Joseph Kevin McKay, Sophie K. Pierson and Barbara T. Rochman.


Because of NYCLA’s interest in women’s rights, five representatives participated in meetings and joined committees preparing for the 57th meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) held at the UN from March 4 to March 15, 2013. The CSW’s official description states: “The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) founded in 1946. It is the principal global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and the advancement of women. Representatives of the member states meet each year at United Nations Headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide.”


This report provides summaries of the events the representatives attended during the CSW meeting, including briefings by the U. S. Mission, side events sponsored by UN Member States, and programs sponsored by NGOs, including a forum sponsored by the Stop Trafficking in Persons Committee (STIP), of which NYCLA is a member. The Theme of this CSW meeting was: Elimination and Prevention of All Forms of Violence against Women and Girls.


Violence against Women and Girls in a Situation of Conflict: March 4


Sponsor: Mali


Attended by: Sophie K. Pierson


Speaker: Minister from Mali


In Mali, women have suffered a great deal in the past ten months because of conflict within the country. Rapes and other violence against women have been reported. Finding the perpetrators and promoting reparations to victims are challenges.


Panel on Violence against Women in Gender-Equal Societies: March 4


Sponsor: Norway


Attended by: Sophie K. Pierson


Speakers: Inga Marte Thorkildsen, Minister of Equality, Children and Social Inclusion, Norway; Michael Kaufman, consultant from Canada; a participant, the Philippines


Ms. Thorkildsen noted a paradox: how can we have violence against women in gender-equal societies? Despite the fact that Norway is among the top ten countries in the world for standard of living and equality, violence prevails. Norway still has a long way to go to achieve gender equality, in terms of work environment, income and participation in the workforce. Inequalities, caused by socio-economic realities, can create conditions for violence. The problem is that law does not always change society. The choices for women are limited by power and lack of flexibility in the workplace.


Mr. Kaufman talked about male culture. Men have entitlement, privileges, social acceptance. Male power is institutionalized. Men are raised differently and violence is part of the male culture. In order to be a man, males have to display power and control over others. Our societal messages promote these values, and when boys do not fit in they are humiliated. This robs men of their capacity to have empathy. The agenda must include men as we have to transform masculinity.


A participant from the Philippines talked about patriarchal society. In these types of societies, women are second-class citizens. Prostitution is a form of violence against women, so users of prostitution must be part of the discussion. Men still control money in many societies so they must be part of the change. We now have an accountability deficit where violence against women is still accepted and acceptable.


Elimination and Prevention of Violence against Women and Girls: Legal Reforms and Best Practices: March 4


Sponsor: Turkey


Attended by: Marilyn J. Flood


Speakers: Moderator, Dr. Selma Acuner, Turkish Civil Society Representative; Jet Bussemaker, Minister of Education, Culture and Society, Netherlands; Lynn Featherstone, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, United Kingdom; John Hendra, Deputy Executive Director, UN Women; Fatma Sahin, Minister of Family and Social Planning, Turkey; Linda Amalia Sari, Minister of State for Women Empowerment and Child Protection, Indonesia; Aynur Sofiyeva, Deputy Minister, State Committee on Family, Women and Children’s Issues, Azerbaijan


Panelists agreed that legislation addressing violence against women and girls must be comprehensive and uphold their human rights. Laws must address prosecuting perpetrators and protecting victims, including services such as shelters and counseling. Ms. Featherstone emphasized the need for coordination among agencies serving both perpetrators and their victims and public education to change attitudes toward violence. Ms. Sari discussed bringing “gender justice” to villages and rural areas and working with local and religious courts. Mr. Hendra emphasized the need for multisectoral services, data collection and preventive measures addressing inequality and the root causes of violence.


Transforming Social Norms to Prevent Violence against Women: March 4


Sponsors: Finland, South Africa, United Kingdom, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)


Attended by: Marilyn J. Flood


Speakers: Speakers were introduced but no printed program was available.


The speaker from Finland noted that all societies have stereotypes. The Finnish five-year plan has a component for children featuring safety and educational materials to help children recognize sexual attitudes. In South Africa, there is a national campaign to educate men and boys in the hope of changing attitudes toward women and also a campaign against rapes in schools. The United Kingdom has established a research fund and is working to change norms in communities about practices such as female genital mutilation. OECD has collected data from 100 countries in a project called SIGI, Social Institutions and Gender Indexes, and has held online discussions to develop messages about interventions, economic empowerment, cultural and religious practices and defining the roles of men and boys. Speakers from India and Ghana emphasized the use of community members to educate both men and women.


Women’s Economic Empowerment as a Tool for Combatting and Eliminating Violence against Women: March 4


Sponsors: Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations; United Nations Economic Commission for Europe; Coalition Against Trafficking in Women


Attended by: Barbara T. Rochman


Speakers: Moderator, Antoine de Jong, Director of Resource Mobilization, UN Women; Aynur Sofiyeva, Deputy Chairperson, State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs, Azerbaijan; Dr. Malinka Koparanova, Gender Focal Point, UN Economic Commission for Europe; Mazal Renford, Director, Golda Meir Mount Carmel International Training Center, Israel; Malka Claire Marcovich, Director for Europe, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women– Europe


The speakers all saw women’s economic independence and their ability to gain power and control over all aspects of their lives as a way to escape from domestic and other forms of violence. Women in all the countries where the speakers’ agencies work need access to resources, education, training and financial information. They need legal and business environments ready to accept women. Empowering women through entrepreneurship gives women badly needed self-esteem. Access to credit is often severely limited for women. Women business associations can provide role models. Funding is needed for local women’s groups who can provide services and support to women and advocate on their behalf for supportive social structures. Equality at home with regard to caregiving and children, as well as equality in the workplace, would help free women from violence. Better statistical data on violence, disaggregated by sex and including intimate partner violence, are needed to understand the scope of violence against women. Early marriage is one indicator that violence will occur. Early childhood education programs against violence are needed. Bad economic times have made women more vulnerable to trafficking and have also affected the abilities of groups to aid women seeking to exit from the cycle of violence.


Violence as a Means of Social Control against Women and Girls: March 5


Sponsor: Denmark


Attended by: Sophie K. Pierson


Speakers: Michael Kauffman, founder of the White Ribbon Campaign, Canada; Lynn Featherstone, Minister in the Department for International Development, United Kingdom; Randi Iverson, Chairperson of Women’s Council, Denmark


Mr. Kauffman noted that if men have a space to rethink their masculinity and paternity, then violence will decrease. Men are part of the solution. Northern countries have demonstrated that men are very good caregivers. The definition of masculinity includes violence, superiority and domination; nurturing is not part of it. Ms. Featherstone and Ms. Iversen addressed how media representation of gender roles and the increasing influence of global celebrity culture can distort young people’s sense of self, limit their aspirations, increase their vulnerability to low body confidence and heighten their risk of damaging experiences, including sexual violence. In England, a media campaign shows young people what’s not permissible. In Denmark, there are campaigns in the schools.


Namibia & Zimbabwe: A Southern African Take on Tackling Violence against Women: March 5


Sponsors: Zimbabwe and Namibia


Attended by: Sophie K. Pierson


Speakers: Speakers were introduced but no printed program was available.


Zimbabwe, a signatory to many conventions and international treaties, has domestic violence laws that criminalize acts of violence against women. As poverty is the main driver for domestic violence, economic empowerment of women is crucial. Raising public awareness has produced results. Men have to be seen as activists and not as perpetrators. Zimbabwe has launched the 365 days campaigns, which focuses on prevention, protection, participation and programs. Namibia has engaged in a zero-tolerance campaign about violence that includes trafficking. Namibia has also criminalized domestic violence because it is a violation of basic human rights.


Most domestic violence campaigns are targeting women to educate them about their rights. In Zimbabwe, 33% of women think that it is acceptable to be beaten for going out without telling their male partner, 30.2% of women for neglecting children, and 24.3% of women for refusing sex. In Namibia, 25.9% of women think it is acceptable to be beaten because of the alleged neglect of children. In Mali, 73.5 % of women will accept being beaten for refusing sex; in Guinea, the figure is 61.7% of women. The figures are higher in rural areas because women are more dependent on men. Embarrassment when reporting abuse and the risk of ending the relationship are big deterrents for many women. Even where the police have special units, domestic violence is traditionally considered a private affair.


Comprehensive Strategies to Combat Violence against Women/Domestic Violence in the European Union: March 5


Sponsor: Delegation of the European Union


Attended by: Sophie K. Pierson


Speakers: Francoise Hetto Gash, Minister of Equal Opportunites, Luxembourg; Stavros Lambridnidis, Special Representative on Human Rights, European Union; Kathleen Lynch, Minister of Disability, Equality, Mental Health and Older People, Ireland; Joelle Milquet, Deputy Prime Minister, Minster of Home Affaires, Belgium.


Violence against women is a clear violation of human rights. The European Union and its 27 member states are committed to increasing cooperation and combating all forms of violence against women, which includes legislative action, criminal and civil justice undertakings and fighting discrimination in employment.


Ireland has tackled increasing awareness and addressing what is missing in the legislation to protect women. In Belgium, it is a priority to fight violence against women by translating policies and legislative efforts into everyday life. The goal is integrated services and a whole family approach. A new law allows the police to take immediate action to protect the victims. In addition medical practitioners are allowed to disclose information if they see violence in the family. Luxembourg punishes most acts of domestic violence under criminal law. The main goal is to evict the perpetrator, with the eviction lasting for ten days and a possible extension up to three months with a court’s decision. Restraining orders are imposed during the eviction. Police, prosecutors and support services for perpetrators are all working together.


Domestic violence costs 16 billion euros in Europe, with services costing 34 billion euros. The EU recognizes that the powerless confront the powerful and also family traditions and values. Some countries do not have a framework that can fight these notions. The EU is developing alliances, mainly with NGOs, to fight this problem and provides financial support.


Gender-Based Violence Prevention as a Human Right and Legally Binding State Obligation: March 5


Sponsors: Norway, South Africa, Human Rights Watch, Promundo, Sonke Gender Justice Network,

The International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict


Attended by: Marilyn J. Flood and Sophie K. Pierson


Speakers: Speakers were introduced but no printed program was available.


The speaker from Human Rights Watch reviewed the international legal obligations of states to prevent violence against women, children and people with disabilities and noted regional protocols and UN resolutions in these areas. The minister from Norway discussed the need to reduce the power imbalance between men and women and to consider removing abusive men from the home rather than housing women and children in shelters. The minister from South Africa emphasized the enormous problem of poverty, often forcing women to stay in violent relationships; in addition to a national commission, South Africa is focusing on community- based programs to combat alcohol and substance abuse and to educate young people so they have a “pathway to equality.” Another speaker from South Africa discussed the Men’s Campaign, which works in partnership with women’s groups and seeks laws to give men child care leave and other benefits. The speaker from the International Campaign emphasized the need for civil society to provide sufficient, consistent strategic pressure on goals to reduce violence and provide services for victims. The speaker from Promundo, which is based in Brazil, discussed research about men and violence and recommended using research in the development of strategies for men and boys, such as using men as spokesmen to other men and supporting boys who witness violence to help break the cycle of violence.


The European Parliament’s Role in the Struggle Against Violence Against Women: March 5


Sponsor: European Parliament


Attended by: Christina T. Holder


Speakers (all members of the European Parliament and Members of its Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality): Mikael Gustaffson, Member of the Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left, Sweden; Brita Thomsen, Member of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, Denmark; Ulrike Lunacek, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, Austria


The panelists discussed recent developments in the European Union (EU) aimed at combatting gender-based violence and promoting gender equality in the public and private spheres. Of note, in 2009, the European Council adopted the Convention on Violence against Women, which is a set of comprehensive standards to prevent and combat gender-based violence. The Convention has been ratified by three countries to date. In 2011, the European Council adopted a directive on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings, which one panelist described as the “worst form of violence against women.” The panelists discussed efforts of the European Parliament, which shares legislative authority with the European Council, to ensure compliance with European gender-equality standards and combat all forms of violence against women, both in the EU and countries where the EU provides development assistance. The panelists discussed the relationship between unequal economic power and violence against women, as well as initiatives of the European Parliament to reduce the 17% average pay gap between men and women in EU countries and to protect the rights of female workers in informal sectors, as they are vulnerable to violence and exploitation.


Universal Period Review and Violence against Women and Girls: March 5


Sponsors: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Women’s UN Report Network, International Federation of Women Lawyers, Center for Women’s Global Leadership


Attended by: Marilyn J. Flood


Speakers: Moderator, Denise Scotto, International Federation of Women Lawyers; Laila Bourhil, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; Margot Baruch, Center for Women’s Global Leadership; Lois Herman, Women’s UN Report Network


The Universal Periodic Review, established in 2006, involves the review of the human rights records of all UN member states. All 193 states have been reviewed, with the issue of violence against women and girls in all forms, including rape, domestic violence, female genital mutilation and human trafficking, addressed in almost every review. Civil society was encouraged to follow up and hold states accountable for their shortcomings and commitments.


UN Heads of Agencies Forum on Violence Against Women and Girls: March 5


Sponsor: UN Women


Attended by: Marilyn J. Flood and Barbara T. Rochman


Greetings: Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General


Speakers: Moderator, Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director, UN Women; Irina Bokoba, Director-General, UNESCO; Rebecca Grynspan, UN Under-Secretary and UNDP Associate Administrator; Anne-Birgette Albrectsen, Deputy Executive Director, UNFPA; Geeta Rao Gupta, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF; Kyung-wha Kang, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, OHCHR; Jacob Kumaresan, Head of WHO, New York Office; Professor Sheila Tlou, Director, UNAIDS


A video from the World Health Organization was shown, which focused on violence against women and girls as a health problem. Death, injuries, unwanted pregnancies and illegal abortions result from violence.


Madame Bachelet stated that all organizations represented on the panel are agents of change. UN Women works in 85 countries, assisting with capacity building for support to victims, and in the Safe Cities Global Initiative, with local governments in 20 or more cities. The UN Trust Fund has dispensed $83 million to support these projects.


A video from the UNITE Campaign was shown: 60 million child brides worldwide were married before the age of 20.


Ms. Bokara described UNESCO’s role as changing laws and using education to instill in young people the idea that violence is not normal, nor is child marriage. Curricula and teacher training can change attitudes. There need to be more women in schools in places where now teachers are mostly men. UNESCO has developed international guides on sex education, gender equality and stopping violence in schools. The 2009 guidance on sexuality education is a comprehensive framework.


Ms. Grynspan noted that three out of ten women experience some form of sexual violence, which has a big effect on work and education, including a huge loss of productivity. Nations must understand that better economic growth and higher productivity will require ending violence against women. In the U. S. there’s a $6 billion loss in women’s productivity and development and also costs for health care, courts and lawyers. Countries need to take global commitments and internalize them and use multi-sectoral approaches. Boys and men need to be involved.


Ms. Albrectsen noted that violence takes away women’s control of their own bodies and is one of the main drivers of HIV or AIDS. Half of the violence against girls is on those under 16.

Intimate partner violence is an important cause of death, accounting for 40% to 60% of violent deaths for women. Gender-based violence needs to be ended to free up health services for other things, such as prevention. Sexual violence needs to become part of the crime statistics and health officials need to be able to recognize sexual violence.


Ms. Gupta discussed girls’ vulnerability as they have less access to resources. There is some progress as there are more data and more cooperation between civil society and governments. In Tanzania, 30% of girls have been victims of violence. The availability of these data prompted different government agencies and civil society groups to decentralize child-protective systems.


Ms. Kang noted the Vienna Declaration and the Beijing Framework declared that violence against women is a human rights issue, and states have an obligation to address it. States can be held accountable for progress or lack thereof. Under CEDAW, Section19(c), the due diligence responsibility is critical.


Ms. Tlou discussed a joint UN program on HIV/AIDS in Eastern and Southern Africa where 50% of women are infected with HIV.


Preventing Violence against Women and Girls by Ending Early Marriage: March 6


Sponsors: World Vision and Girls Not Brides


Attended by: Hon. Joseph Kevin McKay


Speakers: Speakers were introduced but no printed program was available.


There was a distinguished panel, featuring an MP and Minister for International Development and representatives from UNICEF, World Visions UK and Australia, and Girls Not Brides. There was also an unmarried 16-year-old-girl “activist” from Bangladesh. All emphasized that child marriage was a form of gender-based violence, driven by poverty, poor education and social norms that endangered young girls’ health, welfare and future life. A concerted and global effort by individuals, institutions and governments is needed to recognize this practice as violence and to modify the cultures, village by village. It is believed that progress has been made among member states to recognize their obligation in this regard. New laws can also help but must be enforced. India has a law outlawing marriage under 18, but it is not enforced.


Men and Women Partnering to End Violence against Women and Girls–Best Practices in India: March 6


Sponsors: Salesian Missions, Auxilium Navajeevana, People’s Action for Rural Awakening, Vides International and IIMA Human Rights Office


Attended by: Marilyn J. Flood


Speakers: Jacintha Lobo, Child Welfare Committee and Foster Home for Girls in Distress, Bangalore, India; Thomas Pallithanam and Pothumudi Sesharatnam, People’s Action for Rural Awakening, Andhra Pradesh, India; Shanthi Ravikumar, victim of violence from Bangalore, India


Speakers described grassroots efforts to assist victims by working with the police, attorneys and service providers and also their efforts to educate men and women about discrimination and violence against women and girls. Ms. Ravikumar told her personal story of violence in her family and how she and her siblings found a new and violence-free life.

Preparatory Panel for 2014: Challenges and Achievements in the Implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for Women and Girls: March 6


Sponsor: Commission on the Status of Women


Attended by: Marilyn J. Flood


Speakers: Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director, UN Women; doctors, professors and advocates


Ms. Bachelet noted that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will end in 2015 and that the 2014 CSW conference will review the goals to determine what goals need to be revised and what new goals need to be added. She emphasized the MDGs do not now include a goal of eliminating violence against women and a new one should include trafficking. Speakers then addressed the goals of eliminating poverty, improving maternal and child health and providing clean water and sanitation, and the benefits to women of progress in these areas. For instance, poor sanitary facilities prevent girls in India from attending school.


The Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and Practice: A New Mechanism and Its Use: March 6


Sponsor: The Working Group of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights


Attended by: Marilyn J. Flood


Speakers: Frances Raday, Vice Chairperson of the Working Group; Antonia Kirkland, Legal Advisor at Equality Now


The mandate of the Working Group is to receive information about cases or situations of alleged discrimination against women in law and in practice. It uses the definition of discrimination in the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and other UN documents when it reviews the situation in UN member countries. During its review, it meets with government officials, civil society organizations and individuals to assess possible discriminatory laws or practices, including violence against women and girls. As its mandate includes identifying best practices, the Working Group makes recommendations to the states assessed about ways to promote equality and improve laws.


Grassroots Women’s Parliament: March 6


Sponsor: Namibia


Attended by: Sophie K. Pierson


Speakers: Speakers were introduced but no printed program was available.


The Republic of Namibia has the legal framework to combat violence against women. Instead of developing skills to maintain relationships with women based on love and respect, men rather develop an ownership perception of women, which is fueled by the presentation of gifts to buy their love. Most men are not educated on how to treat a woman. They are also afraid to differentiate themselves from the traditional way of treating women. Real improvements will come from educating men and changing society’s values.


UN Women’s Knowledge Gateway on Women’s Economic Empowerment: March 6


Sponsor: UN Women


Attended by: Sophie K. Pierson


Speakers: Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director, UN Women; Guillermo E. Rishchynski, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Canada; Anna Faith, Gateway for Women’s Economic Empowerment, UN; Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Development Economist, UN; Josephine Okot, Victoria’s Seeds, Uganda; Yana van der Meulen Rogers, President-Elect, International Association for Feminist Economics, UN


Among the top priorities at UN Women for 2013 are a renewed push for women’s economic empowerment and political participation and ending violence against women and girls. Economic empowerment is the tool to decrease inequalities. Access to economic opportunities and ownership are crucial for women. Mr. Rishchynski noted that gender equality is smart economically and that the empowerment of women is a key priority in Canada, which has also invested in building schools and empowering communities in countries like Pakistan. Ms. Faith described the Knowledge Gateway for Women’s Economic Empowerment, which is not live yet but will be a one-stop shop. Its three key components are a knowledge library where documents can be uploaded, knowledge network to engage in discussion, and knowledge circles. All three are linked via social media tools. Anyone will be able to go on the website. Memberships will also be available. Ms. Fukuda-Parr emphasized that women can improve their environment by participating in the economic life of their country. They must have assets and be able to make decisions about economic resources.


Ms. Okot, the founder of Victoria’s Seeds, described Uganda’s Leading Seed House as a great living example of empowerment for rural women. Women need equipment to harvest and the right information for their specific crop. Educating women farmers is the key to entrepreneurship. In addition, access to financing and technology to market products are crucial to empower women.


Women in Politics: Latest Trends: March 6


Sponsor: Inter-Parliamentary Union


Attended by: Sophie K. Pierson


Speakers: Kareen Jabre, Manager, Gender Partnership Program, IPU; Mona Lena Krook, Associate Professor of Political Science, US


There can be no democracy without the equal participation of men and women in the political process. Women comprise only 20.3% of parliaments worldwide. The Nordic countries have more 40% of women as parliament members. The Arab region and Pacific region have the lowest number. For example, in the Pacific region, without Australia, the number falls to 3%. The Americas average 24.1%, including South America in countries such as El Salvador and Costa Rica. Gender quotas are really the new global norm to incorporate women at a political level. There are more than 100 countries with gender quotas, which work to reserve seats for women. Some parties also have quotas for women. Senegal has made the most progress, with 42% female participation in 2012. France had historically the first 50% quota law but, in reality, only 26.9% of women participate in the political process. As incentives, some countries give more advantages and media time to parties with more women. Harassment, physical and psychological violence that stop women from running must also be addressed.


Stop the Cycle: Strategies to Prevent Violence against Girls: March 7


Sponsors: International Council of Jewish Women and Armenian Relief Society


Attended by: Marilyn J. Flood


Speakers: Moderator, Cindy Dyer, Vice President for Human Rights, Vital Voices; Jessica Greer Morris, Girl Be Heard; Chi Yvonne Leina, World Pulse Correspondent, Cameroon; Dean Peacock, Executive Director, Sonke Gender Justice Network


In addition to discussing why men are violent, panelists noted that women perpetuate violence against other women through widowhood rituals and genital mutilation. Ms. Morris emphasized that girls need to be valued for more than their bodies and need to become economically self- sufficient. Ms. Leina described a program called the Men Care Campaign to bring men and women together to discuss parenting and the early involvement of men with their children.


Violence against Women in War Zones: Prescriptions for Ending Systemic Failures in Preventing War Crimes: March 7


Sponsor: KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights


Attended by: Marilyn J. Flood


Speakers: Professor Hines, New England Law School; Aisha Rahman, Executive Director, KARAMAH


Professor Hines discussed the conflict-to-peace continuum. The impact of war on women includes loss of jobs, increased poverty, injuries, rape, and refugee and displaced person status. Assistance needs to be context specific, related to the area, culture and religion, and sensitive to the changing needs of women over time. First they may require that basic needs be taken care of and then they may request restitution. Women need to be involved more in both informal and formal peace talks, which are usually “hyper-masculine” environments full of diplomats and military leaders. Often the local community and the international community have different post-conflict goals. In post-conflict reconstruction, the status of women can improve, as it did in Rwanda, with new legal systems.


Experience in Implementation of National Action Plans on Domestic and Gender-Based Violence: March 7


Sponsors: The Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic, Peru and Zambia in cooperation with Alternative to Violence, Norway, and UN Women


Attended by: Barbara T. Rochman


Speakers: Moderator, David Červenka, Deputy Permanent Representative, Czech Republic; Marcela Huaita, Deputy Minister of Women, Republic of Peru; Jan Dobeš, Deputy Minister for Social Inclusion and Gender Equality, Czech Republic; Lucia Zachariášoviá. Gender Equality Unit, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Czech Republic; Christine Kalamwina, Director of Gender, Ministry of Gender and Child Development, Republic of Zambia; Marius Råkil and Barbora Jakobsen, Alterative to Violence, Norway; Fredrik Arthur, Ambassador for Women’s Issues and Gender Equality, Norway; Dina Deligiorgis, Ending Violence against Women, UN Women.


Peru has two National Plans that are intersectional, involving several ministries, to encourage local governments to enact their own plans. Statistics are essential for the establishment of goals and benchmarks for the National Plan. The Justice Ministry provides support for trafficking victims, and is working with Ecuador and Chile on trafficking.


The Czech Republic strives for equality. The National Plan on Domestic Violence for 2011- 2014 created an independent Committee for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, including government ministries, police, local administrations and NGOs. The plan, which included violence against children and older persons, requires an annual summary to the Committee. The Committee works with police to expand their statistics, performs research on the economic impact of domestic violence, provides education to children, judges and prosecutors about domestic violence and provides financial support to NGOs working with violent persons. When the Plan expires in 2014, it will be expanded and renewed.


Zambia began to develop a comprehensive National Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence in 2010 to facilitate the implementation of recommendations in the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and other UN and regional instruments. Poverty levels are very high in Zambia. In 2006, 57% of female-headed households were living in extreme poverty. Gender-based violence is pervasive, with almost half of all women experiencing violence after the age of 15 and 20% experiencing sexual violence in their lifetime, much of it intimate partner violence. In 2011, the government passed the Anti-Gender-Based Violence Act; it also has adopted anti-human trafficking legislation.


Norway has had five action plans between 1995 and 2012, with relatively high involvement by NGOs and the Ministries of Justice and Police, Gender Inclusion, and Health in the formulation of the plans. The government funded conferences and training programs in the beginning and now funds research and many services, such as shelters for victims, as well as services for offenders, 60% of whom suffered trauma in their childhoods. There is a domestic violence coordinator in every police district in Norway. Emergency rooms for rape victims also treat victims of domestic violence. Criminal injury compensation is provided to victims, including children. There is an increased focus on the effects of domestic violence on children. UN Women reported that the UN Convention on Violence Against Women was passed, including the language that violence against women cannot be justified because of culture, tradition or religion.


Implicit Stereotypes, Explicit Solutions: Overcoming Gender-Based Discrimination in the Workplace: March 8


Sponsors: UN Women and Australia


Attended by: Marilyn J. Flood


Speakers: Moderator, Aparna Mehrota, Senior Advisor on Coordination, UN Women; Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Executive Director, UN Women; Shanthi Dairiam, International Women’s Rights Action Watch-Asia Pacific; Elizabeth Broderick, Commissioner, Australian Sex Discrimination Commission; Lieutenant General David Morrison, Australian Defence Force


Ms. Dairiam described the workplace-related rights, such as the right to safe conditions at work, contained in the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Ms. Broderick discussed programs in Australia to eliminate stereotypes, such as good mothers stay home with their children, provide new benefits, such as parental leave for men, and increase the number of women on corporate boards. Lt. Gen. Morrison advised that women now comprise 10% of the army and the goal is 12%; he discussed the necessity of changing attitudes and the culture of the army to better integrate women into the military.


From Acceptance to Resistance: Changing Attitudes Surrounding Violence against Women: March 8


Sponsor: United Nations Association of the US


Attended by: Marilyn J. Flood


Speakers: Moderator, Charlotte Bunch, Founding Director, Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University; Pablo Diaz, Protection Analyst, UN Women; Margaret Owen, Founding President, Widows for Peace through Democracy; Indai Sajor, Cross-Sector Gender Technical Consultant


Ms. Sajor discussed the problems in the Pacific Islands for women who have suffered violence; there is often no functioning court system but rather tribal courts. It is necessary to build coalitions of lawyers and civil society organizations to provide legal and psychological support services for women. Ms. Owen emphasized the problems widows face in all societies, ranging from invisibility to forced marriage and prostitution. Mr. Diaz described UN work in conflict situations, noting a 2008 resolution naming sexual violence as a war crime. The UN is including women on peacekeeper teams and is training peacekeepers to seek to protect women in a proactive way, such as patrolling at times women leave camps to get water and fuel. Longer- term development goals include one-stop centers for legal advice, economic support and health care, and improving justice systems, including transitional ones, that are responsive to gender concerns.


Cultural Best Practices in Preventing and Eliminating Violence against Women and Girls: March 8


Sponsors: Women and Family Affairs Committee, World Igbo Congress


Attended by: Hon. Joseph Kevin McKay


Speakers: Speakers were introduced but no printed program was available.


There was a UNICEF representative, as well as several faith-based leaders from Canada and elsewhere. Statistics for those forced into prostitution at an early age were truly alarming, but more harrowing was the connection made between non-state torture and this form of human trafficking, which was called a form of slavery. Also speakers emphasized the relationship between prostitution and pornography and that individuals can make a difference by their attitudes and conduct in condemning all forms of this violence. Enforcement focusing on the demand side was urged for those who profit, as well as for the “johns.” Currently the law in Sweden criminalizes the act of purchasing, not the act of selling, sex. All speakers urged that a multi-level concerted and continuous effort by individuals, institutions and member states is needed to make progress to rehabilitate those caught in this web and to reduce this form of violence against women.


Women: Equality, Justice and Labor: March 9


Sponsor: Women’s International Democratic Federation


Attended by: Christina T. Holder


Speakers: Dr. Vinie Burrows, Permanent Representative to the UN, Women’s International Democratic Federation, Denmark; Merle Ratner, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, World Federation of Trade Unions; Maritzel Gonzalez, Federation of Cuban Women, Cuba; Brigitte Triems, President, Democratic Women’s Union, Germany


Speakers described diverse movements of workers around the world and the initiatives they are pursuing to advance the socio-economic status of women. Dr. Burrows, a long-time women’s rights advocate, provided a historical overview and contextualized the modern challenges to women’s economic equality. Ms. Ratner spoke on behalf of the Vietnam Women’s Union and described, among other things, efforts to address the effects of dioxin contamination in the country. A representative of Veterans for Peace read a statement prepared by Dr. Goldsmith setting forth the World Federation of Trade Union’s position on the rights of women workers, including the importance of adequate maternity protection. Ms. Gonzalez and Ms. Triems provided information about women’s labor movements in the Caribbean and Europe, respectively. The presentations contributed to civil society dialogue around gender and development, which was the “emerging issue” of CSW 57 and will be the priority theme of CSW 58.


Successful Strategies and Funding Mechanisms to Eradicate Violence Against Women: Women Moving Mountains: March 9


Sponsor: Association for Women’s Rights in Development


Attended by: Christina T. Holder


Speakers: Lydia Alpizar, Association for Women’s Rights in Development (“AWID”); Irma van Dueren, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands; Srilatha Batliwala; Leila Hessini, Global Fund for Women; Rupsa Mallik, CREA; Lisa VeneKlasen, Just Associates


The panel focused on a study recently undertaken by AWID to assess the aggregate impact of 82 million euros in funding provided by the Dutch government to support gender equality and women’s empowerment initiatives around the world. The main goals of the Dutch “MDG3 Fund” were to reduce violence against women, increase women’s political participation, enhance women’s economic independence, and increase women’s property and inheritance rights. The study analyzed key achievements of 33 of the 45 women’s funds, networks and organizations that received funding, 82% of whose projects focused on eliminating gender-based violence. The panelists discussed successful strategies adopted by recipients of the funding, including linking gender-based violence to political and economic empowerment. The funding helped 230,000 activists spread information about women’s equality and gender-based violence to 224 million people in 164 countries. The panelists discussed the importance of continued funding for high-impact women’s empowerment initiatives and highlighted how effective monitoring and evaluation strategies can help women’s organizations secure resources.


Hand in Hand with Men and Boys against Gender Based Violence: March 11


Sponsor: South Africa


Attended by: Sophie K. Pierson


Speakers: Speakers were introduced but no printed program was available.


South Africa’s poverty is a very big problem for gender equality. However, in South Africa the 50% ratio of female participation has been reached in many political parties and Parliament is now 44% female. There is an affirmative action program in South Africa and a convention on child pornography.


Addressing Violence against Women in Latin America and the Caribbean: From Data to Action: March 11


Sponsors: El Salvador, Peru, Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization, UN Women, UNITE to End Violence Against Women Campaign, Global Women’s Institute at George Washington University


Attended by: Sophie K. Pierson


Speakers: Speakers were introduced but no printed program was available.


Stop impunity, focus on prevention and involve everybody are the three pillars of the UN’s campaign in partnership with many governments in South America/Caribbean. Policy is key in Peru, as well as prevention, as 20% of victims of violence went to public organizations before dying. In El Salvador, the criminal code and the family code have to be revised to reflect the international conventions that have been ratified by El Salvador. Institutions must collaborate to provide services to women and their children. In Nicaragua, one of two women had been abused and exposed to domestic violence. Violence starts very early in relationships even before women have children. The example of Nicaragua is applicable to Jamaica and other countries. Funding is still sporadic, which affects sustainability of programs.


Arab Spring: A Chance or a Risk for Women’s Rights: March 11


Sponsors: Qatar, Doha International Institute for Family Studies & Development


Attended by: Sophie K. Pierson


Speakers: Moderator, H.E. Noor Al Malki Al-Jehani; Dr. Nadine Naber; Dr. Sophie Ritcher- Devroed; Dr. Rabab Al Mahdi, Egypt


The Arab world is not homogenous. Women have played a significant role in the Arab Spring; however, when changes in government were over, women were asked to go back home.


Dr. Naber noted that women’s problems are reduced to Arabism and Islamism but go beyond that to criminal justice issues and pervasive violence against women. Women may not call the police when the police themselves have been perpetrating violence against women. In all the constitutions, including Tunisia’s, there are problems for women. Women are excluded in the transitional periods of the new governments. If poverty is the primary factor that mobilized women to join the revolutions, women need education and micro loans. Dr. Ritcher-Devroed discussed the visibility of women during the Arab Spring. Women also played a role during the anti-colonial times. Even if women are more visible during a revolution, it does not mean that violence against women stops. Islam has a patriarchal model and religion is a very big part of this model. Dr. Al Mahdi stated the Arab Spring is very good for women’s rights and also revealed more violence against women but also more resistance from women and open discussion. A representative of the Egyptian government spoke up and basically denied all that was being said about Egypt.


What Is the Price of Violence against Women and Girls? Capturing Costs and Consequences: March 11


Sponsors: The World Bank, UNICEF, George Washington University’s Global Women’s Institute


Attended by: Sophie K. Pierson


Speakers: Moderator, Jeni Klugman, The World Bank; Jacqueline Bhabha, Harvard University; Liz Forsyth, Lead Partner KPMG, Australia; Nata Duvvury, National University, Ireland; Mary Ellsberg, George Washington University


The World Bank stresses that violence against women and girl must stop as it is wrong from a human rights point of view and produces important costs for social cohesion, productivity and economic growth. Its impacts persist through generations. In Australia, the cost of gender-based violence is $14 billion a year or 1.1% of GDP. Ms. Duvvury conducted a study in Vietnam commissioned by UN Women. As hospitals there do not record cases that come to their attention and NGOs have very poor recording systems, it was not easy to gather data to estimate the cost of violence. To meet that challenge, she conducted a survey and asked women the cost for each incident of violence in the last 15 months. Of 500 women, 439 reported incidents of violence and estimated the cost as 9% of the household income. Total costs came to 1.41% of GDP. Pain and suffering were not estimated. After this study, the government implemented a minimum rescue package. In Nicaragua, nobody really took the topic seriously at the beginning. However, there are direct costs, both out of pocket and indirect. Lost earning is significant and women who have experienced violence have lower income.


Break the Silence, Join Hands: Multi-Sectoral Approach to Prevent and Respond to Violence against Women and Girls: Experience of the United Republic of Tanzania: Zanzibar as a Case Study: March 11


Sponsor: Tanzania


Attended by: Sophie K. Pierson


Speakers: Speakers were introduced but no printed program was available.


Ten percent of women in Zanzibar have experienced physical violence after the age of 15; 9% of women have suffered from spousal or partner physical or sexual abuse. Rape is the most prominent form of violence at 52%. Gender-based violence is increasing. The biggest issue is illiteracy, which is viewed as more important to work on than enforcing laws or economic empowerment.


Partnering to End Trafficking in Persons: March 11


Sponsor: NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons


Attended by: Barbara T. Rochman


Speakers: Introductions, Jackie Shapiro, Chair, Business Ethics Task Force, CSTIP; Libran N. Cabactulan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of to the United Nations, the Philippines; Carole Smolensk, ECPAT; Ursula Wyndhoven, General Counsel, UN Global Compact; Rev. David Schilling, Senior Program Director, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility; Jamie Day, Director of Corporate Responsibility, Real Hospitality Group


Ambassador Cabactulan noted that when he served as Ambassador to the Arab Emirates, he had to establish safe homes in Abu Dhabi and Dubai to protect Philippine domestic workers who were being abused. It was difficult to get prosecutions and for witnesses to come forward. Resources are needed to help the UN’s work on trafficking, The Trust Fund, which was set up for that purpose, isn’t getting enough money from the nation states.


ECPAT’s mission is to combat all forms of child exploitation on a global level. ECPAT Sweden developed a Code of Conduct for businesses, which was widely adopted in Europe and has been signed by 14 companies in the US. The UN Global Compact asks businesses to sign onto the Compact and commit to support environmental and labor rights and the Declaration of Universal Human Rights as they conduct their businesses. Trafficking is a priority. Out of 10,000 signatories, 7,000 are businesses. Businesses need employee codes of conduct.


Ms. Day described her work for a hotel-management group; where they are training 2,000 associates in their hotels about child sexual exploitation; 50% of their staff was not aware of the issue.


Exploring the Evidence in Preventing Violence against Women: March 12


Sponsors: Ireland, Raising Voices


Attended by: Sophie K. Pierson


Speakers: Speakers were introduced but no printed program was available.


The Penal Code has been reviewed in Cote D’Ivoire to determine where there are forms of discrimination and correct them. A program has involved men in addressing domestic violence. In Africa, political situations are often unstable, so funding is not steady.


Austerity, Fiscal Policies and Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights: Vienna+20 -Where Are Women Now?: March 12


Sponsors: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Centre for Women’s Global Leadership


Attended by: Sophie K. Pierson


Speakers: Speakers were introduced but no printed program was available.


Many countries are affected by economic challenges and the link between economic crisis and the exacerbation of violence against women is clear. Nepal is supposed to be a democracy, led by progressive leaders; however, women have increasing difficulty accessing justice. Fiscal austerity measures in Europe have reduced the commitment of governments to women’s issues and programs. The number of homeless people has doubled in many countries. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by fiscal austerity. The allocation of budgets is a woman’s issue.


The Impact of Small Arms and Light Weapons on the Women, Youths and Children of Latin America and the Caribbean: Profiles of Courageous Women, Youths and Children in the Region: March 12


Sponsor: El Salvador


Attended by: Sophie K. Pierson


Speakers: Moderator, Ugo J. Eze; Carlos Enrique Garcia, Permanent Representative to the UN, El Salvador; Eduardo Ulibarri, Permanent Representative to the UN, Costa Rica; Rodney Charles, Permanent Representative to the UN, Trinidad and Tobago


Women in post-conflict zones are suffering from the presence of small arms and light weapons. Legislation and services need to reduce this proliferation of weapons and violence.


Mr. Gonzalez noted illicit drug trafficking, trafficking, organized crime, corruption, and money laundry are elements related to small arms and light weapons. In El Salvador, there is a peace- building process; however, social violence has increased due to lack of control and because of the trafficking in weapons, organized crime and corruption. In trafficking, some women join gangs and become perpetrators. The United Nations initiatives are addressing issues of violence against women in post-conflict regions. There is a need to achieve a culture of peace. Mr. Ulibarri stated that the cost of violence in Central America is 8% of the regional GDP, according to the World Bank. Central America and the Caribbean are the two most violent regions in the world, outside conflict regions. While political violence has decreased, it has led to a culture of violence. Another source of violence is sexual exploitation related to organized crime groups and human trafficking. In drug trafficking, women are not the direct target but they have been criminalized by these groups and their partners and often end up in jail. In Costa Rica, 45% of the jail population is women who have been criminalized by their partners. Much of the violence in Latin America is domestic violence, which is more visible because it has been externalized. First, awareness needs to increase to create pressure on governments. Prevention needs a very systematic approach, including NGOs as well as religious organizations. Support for women needs to be multi-dimensional. International action is crucial.  According to Mr. Charles, most of the young male perpetrators of violence in Trinidad and Tobago come from poor single-parent families and are gang members. They may be involved in illegal activities to sustain their families.


Ending Abuse of Authority for Purposes of Sexual Exploitation (Sextortion): The Experience of the United Republic of Tanzania: March 12


Sponsors: Tanzania and Tanzania Women Judges Association.


Attended by: Sophie K. Pierson


Speakers: Speakers were introduced but no printed program was available.


Sextortion, which is sex plus corruption, is the abuse of power to obtain a sexual benefit or advantage. For example, an immigration officer in Toronto was jailed for wanting to receive sexual favors from a South Korean immigrant in exchange for a favorable immigration report. Teachers and employers try to exchange sex for better grades and opportunities. Too many women are raped by their guards, immigration officers or police.


Centre de Prevention des Violences Faites Aux Femmes: March 12


Sponsor: Burundi


Attended by: Sophie K. Pierson


Speaker: Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director, UN Women


Violence against women violates women the first time during the violence and the second time when they confront male impunity. The violence against women passes from one generation to the other through the children. While 160 countries have laws dealing with violence against women, impunity is high. Governments say that they do not have the resources but political will is more important than resources.


Men and Violence against Women and Girls—Seeking Solutions: March 13


Sponsors: UNITE—UN Secretary General’s Campaign to End Violence against Women, US Mission to the UN, Values Caucus of the UN


Attended by: Marilyn J. Flood


Speakers: Moderator, Mallika Dutt, Breakthrough; Brian Heilman, International Council for Research on Women; Quentin Walcott and Marlon Walker, CONNECT; Joseph Maldonado, NYC Men’s Roundtable; Julio Albino Langa, HOPEM, Mozambique


Mr. Heilman noted that data are available about gender equality, including successful models. Mr. Walcott described CONNECT’s work using co-ed models to encourage women and men to work together and also programs to show men the benefit of gender equality and to recognize different models of masculinity. Mr. Langa emphasized how young the population of Mozambique is, which presents an opportunity to educate young men about gender equality, including helping women with child care and household tasks, and to create a culture of accountability for one’s actions.


Laws on Violence Against Women and Girls Presented by Women Judges: March 14


Sponsors: U.S. Federation for Middle East Peace; Organization of Islamic Cooperation; Journalists and Writers Foundation


Attended by: Barbara T. Rochman


Opening Remarks: Mrs. Ban Soon-Taek, wife of the UN Secretary General


Speakers: Moderator, Sally Kader, Founder and President, U.S. Federation for Middle East Peace; Hon. Elizabeth Lamb, U. S. Immigration Judge; Hon. Helene Iskandar, Criminal Court Judge, Lebanon; Hon. Cathy H. Serrette, Maryland Judicial Circuit Court Judge; Hon. Doris Pechkurow, Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas Judge; Prof. Diane Rosenfeld, Lecturer on Law and Director, Gender Violence Program, Harvard Law School; Dr. Burcu K. Oguzturk, Professor, Istanbul University Law School, Turkey


Judge Lamb noted that women immigrants are afraid to report the violence they have experienced. Domestic violence can start in their own country and continue in the United States. They are unaware of orders of protection and often come from places where abuse of women is part of the culture. Women seeking political asylum are afraid to tell what happened to them.


Her court is spearheading pro bono programs for lawyers because they don’t have enough well- trained lawyers to handle the cases.


Judge Serrette spoke about US domestic violence laws generally, and specifics in Maryland law. She believes domestic violence should be named as a human rights violation as it is a pattern of oppression and represents a culture of violence against women. One of the most violent times for a woman is after the perpetrator has been served with an Order of Protection. Judge Serrette was one of several speakers who mentioned the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court case, Castlerock v. Gonzalez, holding that there is no violation of due process rights if a police department fails to enforce an Order of Protection. (In this case, three children were murdered by the father after the mother asked police to enforce the Order.)


Judge Pechkurow mentioned that 20 states in the U.S. have passed laws against dating violence, and there are new education programs on this topic. Funds from the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) are used for education and advocacy. Education of law enforcement agencies and courts has been a major component of VAWA since it first passed in 1994, and institutions throughout the country have greatly benefited from this funding.


Professor Rosenfeld noted that in a patriarchal system, women are set up to be divided. Men will use as much violence as necessary to maintain the patriarchy. Title III of VAWA provided a civil right to be free from gender violence, but the Supreme Court overturned that provision in Castlerock v. Gonzalez.


Dr. Oguzturk advised that Turkey has changed from religious to secular law and has a comprehensive domestic violence law, without ethnic, racial or religious discrimination. It also has a witness protection act for victims. The 2011 Council of Europe Convention on combatting violence against women and domestic violence, known as the Istanbul Convention, is the first international convention intended to work against violence against women. It treats violence against women as a human rights violation and creates a governmental duty to protect against it.


Effective Remedies for Victims of Trafficking in Persons: March 14


Sponsor: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights


Attended by: Marilyn J. Flood


Speakers: Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, Special Rapporteur on Trafficking, UN; Dr. Jean Koona, UN Women; Professor Susanna Phillips, International Human Rights Clinic at City University Law School; Professor Jane Huckabee, International Rights Clinic at Duke Law School


Ms. Ezeilo discussed the gap between laws and their implementation and the problem that remedies are often ad hoc rather than a matter of right. A 2011 report to the Human Rights Council included effective remedies and a mandate to conduct regional consultations focused on a human-rights-based approach to dealing with gender violence. Dr. Koona focused on problems of migrant and domestic workers, noting their isolation, lack of documentation and powerlessness. She recommended that basic principles must take these problems into account and address the demand for unskilled workers, sanctions for recruiting agencies and economic recovery for victims. Professor Phillips described the problems in the US where victims are often treated as criminals and criminal records have collateral consequences for victims in areas such as housing, employment, child custody and credit, in addition to the risk of deportation. Professor Huckabee emphasized that in international law, all states, including countries or origin, transition and destination for trafficked persons, should have an obligation for prosecution and remedies.