Bush Administration launches new battle in the war on women
New York City: This week the Bush Administration sought to reverse historic agreements that have significantly contributed to advancing the rights, economic status and health of the world's women. The United States was the only country to reverse long-standing support of the historic agreements reached in Cairo in 1994 and Beijing in 1995.
"This is a devastating blow to women around the world. The actions of the Bush Administration means more women will continue to die because of inadequate reproductive rights and health programs," noted June Zeitlin, Executive Director of WEDO, the Women's Environment and Development Organization.
"Furthermore, the Administration's unilateral policy reversals on women's rights will only perpetuate and reinforce the inequalities between women and men in the economy and in society," Zeitlin added.
"I was disappointed to watch the United States reverse itself on the historic Beijing agreement," added Charlotte Bunch, Executive Director of the Center for Women's Global Leadership at Rutgers University. "Many of us have devoted decades of our lives working with women around the world on this and other issues. Until the Bush Administration, the United States has provided leadership on many women's rights issues. Fortunately, not one country supported the direction of this isolationist move," she added.
Yesterday in New York, the United States was the only one of 42 countries at the UN Commission on the Status of Women meeting to reject a resolution on the release of women and children hostages because it contained language on reaffirming the Beijing Platform. The resolution condemned violent acts as the consequences of hostage taking, in particular, torture, murder, rape, slavery, and trafficking in women and children. It calls for the immediate release of women and children taken hostage in armed conflict.
In Santiago, Chile, at a regional planning meeting of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the United States was the only one of 38 country delegations to oppose a declaration of support for the International Consensus on Population and Development (ICPD) adopted in Cairo in 1994.
The historic ICPD Programme of Action rejected quotas and demographic targets, agreeing instead on the need to invest in meeting the needs of individuals for education, reproductive health care and services, especially for women. In 1994, the United States was a leader in drafting the consensus, but the Bush administration has sought to recast the document in ideological terms, eliminating all references to "reproductive health services" and "condoms" and asserting parental control over all adolescent decision-making regardless of the family situation.
For more information, go to www.PLANetWIRE.org, a journalist website and www.WglobalScorecard.org on the Bush record on women's global rights.
Also see www.WEDO.org and www.cwgl.rutgers.edu
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