More than 400 women activists from the Asia-Pacific region call on governments to meet their obligations to uphold women's human rights this week, ahead of an intergovernmental meeting on gender equality convened by UN ESCAP in Bangkok, Thailand.

The collective statement comes from the Asia Pacific Civil Society Forum on Beijing+20, which from 14-16 November brought together feminist women activists to discuss and put together recommendations for the 20-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA). The BPfA is a global policy framework for the advancement of women's human rights and gender equality, and is currently undergoing review by States in the run-up to the 20th anniversary of the framework next year.

Over the past few days, representatives from Asia-Pacific civil society organisations have been looking into whether reported progress by States has been sufficient, and what States should be doing to tackle the remaining challenges in the 12 critical areas of concern identified in the BPfA. The outcome document from the forum makes recommendations to the governments that will meet this week in Bangkok for the Asian and Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment: Beijing+20 Review.

GAATW-IS is currently taking part in the 20-year review of the BPfA, a process known as the Beijing+20 Review. Alongside other NGOs in the Asia-Pacific region, we are advocating for women's human rights and gender equality, with a focus on government accountability. GAATW-IS is on the steering committee responsible for delivering the Civil Society Forum.

Find statements from the intergovernmental meeting in the Statements section of the website. There you can find:

Opening ceremony statement from civil society from Eni Lestari

Outcome statement from the Asia Pacific Civil Society Forum on Beijing+20

Civil Society Statement on Agenda Item 5: Review of forward-looking policies to address challenges in achieving gender equality and women's empowerment, and opportunities for accelerating the implementation of the BPfA in the post-2015 era

The Civil Society Steering Committee statement on the Asian and Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Advancing Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment

 

 

The Asia Pacific Civil Society Forum on Beijing+20 will take place in Bangkok, Thailand from 14 to 16 November 2014. There will be a Media Working Group in charge of distributing and disseminating information about the goings-on, discussions, and statement outcomes during the duration of this event.

We have put together a news item announcing the Forum (see below), it would be great if you can post this on your website and help promote Asia-Pacific CSO involvement in the Beijing+20 review.

For media inquiries contact: Jasmin Qureshi (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.+66940567281). Isis International will be providing coverage from the CSO Forum and the UN ESCAP Review which takes place from 17-20 November. Check out www.bit.ly/apcsob20 for daily articles, the CSO Forum programme, and other resources to come including podcasts of the plenary sessions and a video of civil society participants. 

To get the updates straight in your inbox subscribe to e-newsletter at www.bit.ly/apcsob20subscribe.

For those who would like to keep abreast of what's happening through social media check out the Social Media Toolkit which provides information on how CSOs can monitor and update themselves about relevant news and information about the CSO Forum. 

The CSO Forum has its own Facebook - facebook.com/apcsob20 and Twitter - twitter.com/apcsob20. Follow these accounts for on the scene updates. And don't forget to like, share and use the event hashtag #APwomen to spread the word and get involved in the online discussion as we look towards the Asia Pacific Review of Beijing+20.

 

 

We are counting down the days to Friday 14 November when we welcome more than 400 activists to Bangkok for the Asia Pacific Civil Society Forum on Beijing +20! Over three days we will discuss the progress made and the implementation gaps and strategise for accountability on the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA) across the region. GAATW is part of the civil society steering committee responsible for delivering this exciting programme.

Two decades after its adoption, the BPfA by consensus remains the most comprehensive and progressive global policy framework for the advancement of women's human rights and gender equality.

GAATW-IS is currently taking part in the 20-year review of the BPfA, a process known as the Beijing+20 Review. Alongside other NGOs in the Asia-Pacific region, we are advocating for women's human rights and gender equality, with a focus on government accountability.

You can follow all the news and outcomes from the Civil Society Forum (14–16 November) on Facebook and Twitter. #Beijing20 is the hashtag to use for this event. Please share the news and help promote our call for increased government accountability to ensure gender equality and the protection of human rights for all women.

UN ESCAP Asian and Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment

Following the Civil Society Forum, GAATW-IS will bring our messages to the Asian and Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment, convened by UN ESCAP (Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific) from 17-20 November. This is the intergovernmental regional preparatory event for the Asia-Pacific region, leading up to the international review at the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York next year.

There are also preparatory events across the other global regions: to see what is happening in your region, and for States' national reviews of their implementation of the BPfA, click here. Do let us know if you are taking part in any BPfA activities by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We'll also be posting news and outcomes from the UN ESCAP Conference – keep an eye on our website, Facebook and Twitter profiles.

 

 

Last week, GAATW’s International Advocacy Officer and representatives from several GAATW member organisations participated in the seventh session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and the Protocols Thereto.

GAATW has been following the discussions on a possible review mechanism to the UNTOC and its Protocols since 2008 when states at the fourth session of the COP acknowledged that it was difficult to measure progress made in their implementation of these treaties without an effective monitoring mechanism. We view it as a necessary and overdue step towards accountability for anti-trafficking initiatives. However, at the sixth session of the COP in 2012, States were unable to agree terms for such a process. On 8 October 2014, GAATW delivered a statement to the plenary emphasising the importance of a review mechanism civil society participation in that process.

Following two years without formal negotiations, this year’s COP saw a resolution looking to renew the work towards a review mechanism with a view to bringing it to the next session of the COP for adoption (in 2016). The resolution focused on extending the mandates of the working groups of the COP and mandating them to move forward on discussions on a review mechanism.

For most of the week we heard that States were locked in stalemate over the issue of civil society participation in the working groups and this remained in question after the session was due to have finished on Friday evening. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were requested to leave the room, and, at the time of writing, we have not seen the final text of the resolution that States were finally able to adopt late on Friday night. However we have learned from our contacts that there is a basis for NGO involvement in a prospective review mechanism included in the adopted resolution. This is a positive outcome though it is troubling that it is deemed by some States to be such a contentious issue.

By the time states return to the COP, at the eighth session in 2016, both the UNTOC and the Trafficking Protocol will have passed their 15-year anniversaries. It means that it will be nearly 16 years from their adoption that we get another chance to see if states can agree to do what the UNTOC mandated them to do in 2000 – to “agree upon mechanisms for […]: Reviewing periodically the implementation of this Convention” (Article 32.3(d)). Any process adopted needs to live up to the guiding principles identified for the review mechanism two years ago of being “transparent, efficient, non-intrusive, inclusive and impartial”. Anything less than this will not provide accountability in anti-trafficking work and will fail people who are trafficked.

GAATW members from La Strada International (Netherlands), LEFÖ-IBF (Austria), Ban Ying Coordination and Counselling Center Against Trafficking in Persons (Germany), Legal Support for Children and Women (LSCW, Cambodia); CHS-Peru, and Pravasi Nepali Coordination Committee (PNCC, Nepal) attended the session in Vienna, Austria, and spoke at side events addressing the links between corruption and organised crime , and on trafficking in persons.

 

The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) will be running a side event at the seventh session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations (UN) Convention against Transnational Organized Crime this week in Vienna, Austria.

The COP is due to “discuss draft resolutions on human trafficking, smuggling of migrants and firearms smuggling among others matters”. GAATW’s side event will focus on the UN Trafficking Protocol as 2015 marks the 15th anniversary of the international law against human trafficking.

At the side event, we will look back at some of the success and challenges while using the UN Trafficking Protocol (in full: UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children) as the basis of efforts to eradicate trafficking in persons. We will critically assess how policies relate to the human rights approach to trafficking in human beings and the impact of measures on the rights of trafficked persons. We will identify some of the issues that need to be addressed in the next few years.

Topics discussed will range from access to justice, in particular compensation for trafficked persons, the demand side of trafficking, participatory research with people who have been trafficked, and research on funding for anti-trafficking work and how anti-trafficking money is spent.

Panel:

  • Ambassador Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, National Coordinator on Combating Human Trafficking, Director General for Legal and Consular Affairs at the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, Austria
  • Anne Gallagher, Former UN Adviser on Trafficking; International legal scholar and practitioner, Australia
  • Kate Sheill, International Advocacy Officer, GAATW International Secretariat, Thailand
  • Evelyn Probst, Head, LEFÖ-IBF Austria
  • Marieke van Doorninck, Advisor Public Affairs, La Strada International, the Netherlands
  • Paula Riedemann, Project Coordinator, Ban Ying Coordination and Counselling Center, Germany

The side event will take place on 9 October. For more information about the COP, see the UN Office on Drugs and Crime website 

Next year, GAATW’s journal the Anti-Trafficking Review will publish a series of articles themed on ’15 years of the UN Trafficking Protocol’. Visit www.antitraffickingreview.org for more information.