The Women’s Human Rights Campaign Ireland 1998 On the Occasion of the 42nd meeting of UN Commission on the Status of Women (New York, March 3-15, 1998) Overview: Issues and Recommendations 1. Monitoring and Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (PFA):Despite a commitment from the Irish Government to consult with NGOs in the drafting of the first official report to the UN CSW on implementation of the Beijing PFA, no effort was made by the Irish Government to hear the views of NGOs. To date, there are no indications that the Irish Government intends to take seriously its obligations under the PFA . To mark the 42nd Session of the UN CSW and International Women’s Day (March 8th), we ask that in 1998 the Irish Government:· Work in consultation with NGOs to develop a national Plan of Action to implement the Beijing PFA
· Establish and ensure adequate resources for effective mechanisms to regularly and systematically monitor and review implementation of the PFA
The National Traveller Women’s Forum calls on the government to:
· Make available to Traveller and other minority ethnic groups and women's organisations the resources necessary for them to play a full and ongoing part in developing national strategies for the implementation of the PFA
· Take immediate action to remove all existing reservations and actively implement the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).3. Violence Against Women
· Establish transparent and comprehensive procedures for completing the Government’s periodic reports to the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, including extensive consultations with NGOs concerned with women’s human rights.
· Ensure that all national laws comply with CEDAW and take immediate measures to advance the adoption of comprehensive equality legislation
· Support the adoption of a strong Optional Protocol to CEDAW (Women’s Convention). Continue the Irish Government’s support of the Optional Protocol to CEDAW. In the context of the UN CSW meeting, the Government should support a strong and progressive Optional Protocol which contains: authorization for CEDAW (Treaty Monitoring Committee) to receive complaints from individuals, as well as, from groups and organizations; an inquiry procedure that enables CEDAW to initiate investigations of serious or systematic violations; and the general principle that the protocol should not be used to exclude certain rights from scrutiny for discrimination on the premise that certain rights are not justiciable.
Women’s Aid and the Women’s Human Rights Campaign recommends that:
· Government departments assess the resources needed to implement the Report of the Task Force on Violence Against Women and include these estimates in the yearly budget proposals to the Department of Finance.
· Increased resources be allocated to the voluntary and community sector which has been running front line services for women subjected to violence for many years.
· Time and geographic location targets must be set for the establishment of new services and the implementation of prevention measures.
· Relevant voluntary and community groups and organisations must be resourced to enable them to participate fully on the national, regional and local Task Forces on violence against women
· The best models of good practice in responding to violence against women both nationally and internationally must be examined by the Task Force with a view to drawing up a criteria for both voluntary and statutory agencies who wish to access resources through the Task Force initiative
· The Task Force must take a lead role nationally, regionally and locally in promoting best practice.
· The factors that influence conviction rates and the criminal justice response to men who are violent toward wives and partners must be examined. The regionalisation of the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault unit should be effected so that Garda policy can be adequately monitored and supported and consistently applied.
· Comprehensive education and training for police, prosecutors and judges on the dynamics of violence against women is essential.
The National Traveller Women’s Forum urges the Government to:
Regarding prostitution in Ireland, we call for:
The Government needs to take proactive measures
to protect and assist women who are displaced. This includes women refugees
and asylum seekers and women who have been trafficked for any purpose,
including women trafficked for purposes of prostitution.
In keeping with Para. 130 (d) of the PFA: In particular, we call on the Irish Government to:
· Initiate and fund research on trafficked women and their needs in collaboration with appropriate NGOs
· Ensure that health care and social work staff be given training in the delivery of advice and assistance to trafficked women
· Ensure access by trafficked women to interpreters as necessary.
In keeping with Paragraph 145 (c-e), we ask that the Irish Government:
· Advocate for the inclusion of all forms of gender-based violence in the remit of the International Criminal Court and that all staff of the ICC Witness Protection Unit receive gender-sensitivity training. (Please see the report Women and Armed Conflict produced by WIDE in preparation for the CSW meeting.)
· Ensure that fair procedures are observed at point of entry including providing access to interpreters at the border, and the proper training of immigration officers.
· Female asylum seekers should be interviewed by female officials who have undergone gender-sensitivity training.
· To avoid undue economic, psychological, and emotional suffering decisions on refugee status and family reunification must be taken within a shorter period than the current 2-3 years.
· Ensure that all displaced women, including refugee women, have supported access to education and training including inter alia the provision of childcare.
· Support a government-funded resettlement programme to reduce the hardship of seeking housing.
· Actively involve refugee women and NGOs representing them in planning and implementing the policies and services affecting them
· Support the immediate ratification and implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) and the Convention Against Torture with full attention to gender-specific concerns under each instrument.
· Support steps to involve NGOs in the development and execution of a national plan of action to implement the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (1993).
· Support the establishment of a national independent human rights commission as recommended in the Report of the Constitutional Review Group
· Take steps to ensure the full integration of gender and women's human rights concerns in all activities and programmes to mark the 50th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights.
· The Government and the UN must demonstrate that they give a real priority to promoting and protecting women’s human rights. The relevant international human rights treaties should be ratified and implemented by all governments, without limiting reservations including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention Against Torture
·To bring Ireland in line with international human rights standards, the Government must take urgent action to put in place in Ireland Anti-Discrimination/Equal Status Legislation
·Governments must act to protect women from gender-based violence, whether occurring in public or private life, including taking effective steps to uphold the provisions of the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women.
· Recruitment, training and accountability of all police, prison and armed forces personnel should ensure effective protection of women’s human rights.
· The protection and promotion of the human rights of women and girls should be given high priority in bilateral and multilateral development assistance projects.
· The UN must prioritise and integrate fully it’s work on women’s rights and human rights. All members of UN human rights bodies must have a sound knowledge of international human rights standards and be able to apply them in a gender-sensitive manner.
We call upon the Irish Government to:
· gender awareness campaigns to sensitise parents, and the wider community to the importance of educating girls
· gender awareness training for teachers
· an increase in the number of female teachers particularly in rural areas
· measures to remove gender stereotypes from textbooks.
· Through the Development Assistance Programme provide support for awareness raising /legal rights programmes which are endeavouring to eliminate harmful practices such as female genital mutilation, child/early marriage, and abduction of young girls for marriage.
· The particular needs of young Traveller women and girls need to be recognized and included in the forthcoming Education and Youth Bills and adequate resources need to be made available to appropriately meet their needs.