Recap of Days 6&7 at CSW63
The first two days of the second week have come to a close and while the focus of this week will be the negotiations, the events continue as per usual – some are a bit shocking and others are inspiring.
On Monday March 18th, one of our CLC delegates attended an event focused on the current and potential role of faith-based partnerships in preventing sexual and gender based violence (SGBV). The event, “Unlocking the Power of Faith-Based Partnerships: Enabling the Right to Social Protection,” emphasized the need to re-interpret the scriptural understandings of faith-based partners through a gendered lens. In addition, the overall tone of the panel communicated a sort of consensus on the decision that, in the end, many of the opinions of faith-based organizations needed to be influenced and changed. In other words, they saw religion and religious leaders as barriers. Furthermore, they called for a rights based approach to education, which, rather than ensuring a child’s right to learn their letters and their numbers, is an indirect call for universal access to comprehensive sexuality education (CSE). When commenting on the benefits of CSE and the reasons for its inclusion in the education of both men and women, the panelist emphasised its power in making it possible for both men and women to remain free for sexual pleasures and access to free abortion.
On Tuesday morning at an event titled “Social Protection during Conflict and War,” co-hosted by UNFPA, Regional Syria Response Hub and The Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL), one topic of discussion was the exclusion of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) from the “life-saving package” of immediate humanitarian aid. Our CLCY delegate approached a panelist afterwards to further the conversation inquiring as to how things like comprehensive sexual education, abortion, and contraception could ever be considered as equally as essential as the most basic necessities of life in the midst of a crisis. The panelist responded saying that for her, in the context of her work, SRH was a reference to immediate maternal health needs like post-miscarriage care, pregnancy complications care, prenatal and antenatal care, etc. However, during the panel she had clearly stated that the provision of capability training for SRH was to put the decision of “when, how and if to have babies” back in the hands of women. Intrinsically, that phrase is not wrong - proper boundaries and bodily autonomy are not bad. However, in the context of the United Nations, the inclusion of the phrase SRH is almost always synonymous with the promotion of free access to abortion and contraception, two things that are supposedly the key to women’s empowerment.
However, regardless of the frequency of their voices and opinions, there still remain several pro-life groups working to advance the recognition of not only the right to life of the unborn, but the dignity of women. At an event co-hosted by The Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations and Center for Family and Human Rights, panelists discussed the need to safeguard femininity in order to achieve women’s empowerment. Lila Rose, founder of Live Action, stated that there are four main barriers to authentic women’s advancement:
- The Promotion of False Rights (abortion)
- The treatment of fertility as a sickness
- The expectation for women to be just like men.
- The tendency to view children as problems.
Overall, the panel called for a celebration and a championing of the differences between men and women.
With just three days to go, negotiations are heating up. Unfortunately, it has come to our attention that this year's negotation process, as well as the document itself, are both very concerning. The use of problematic, pro-abortion language persists and it appears to be very difficult for anyone to reach a consensus on anything. We will keep you posted.
For more on CLC's work during the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women, read: