|NGO GSWG at the Commission on the Status of Women....|
Onsite report: 15 March 2003
by Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, Isis International-Manila
CSW Chair suspends session; no agreed conclusions were adapted for the theme women's human rights and elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls
New York, 15 March 2003 -- In an unexpected move, the Chairperson of the Commission on the Status of Women Ambassador Othman Jerandi of Tunisia, suspended the closure of the 47th session of the Commission on the Status of Women following the delegates' failure to agree on the adoption of the agreed conclusions on the theme women's human rights and elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls.
The delegate from Iran, with support from Egypt, objected to the inclusion of paragraph which reads: Condemn violence against women and refrain from invoking any custom, tradition, or religious consideration to avoid their obligations with respect to its elimination as set out in the Declaration on the elimination of Violence against Women.
Realising that there were no conclusions that were unanimously agreed upon, the CSW Chair remarked: "No agreed conclusion? Then we have no agreed conclusion." At this point, the Brazilian delegate who facilitated the informal consultations on the theme "women's human rights and elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls," stressed that the draft agreed conclusions were a product of extensive deliberations and therefore need to be respected. He suggested that the opinion of the UN legal officer be sought.
The UN legal officer presented these options: the adoption
of the document after which Iran will register its reservation; or votation
However, the Iranian delegate did not agree with the first option. Instead, he reiterated his appeal to delete paragraph o from the agreed conclusions. Without resorting to votation, the Chair moved for the adoption of the agreed conclusions. This prompted the Iranian and U.S. delegate to question the rules of procedures.
A recess was then called. After about 15 minutes, the CSW Chair called the meeting to order only to announce that because Conference Services, i.e. translation, were no longer available, the meeting is being suspended to a later date.
Both NGO and government delegates expressed disappointment in the way this year's CSW session ended. The week-long negotiation and the one week of discussion preceding that amounted to nothing according to them.
The contributor, Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, was not able to monitor the negotiations on the theme women's human rights and elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls as she focused on media and ICT. All those who have followed the discussions on this theme, including the closing plenary are invited to share information, as well as views and opinions on the CSW issues and process.