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.
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.
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.
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.
On 14-16 November 2014, Asia Pacific civil society organisations will gather in Bangkok, Thailand, to develop a collective strategy on the priority issues for the Asia Pacific region as part of the Beijing +20 review process. Registration is now open and application forms to attend and to organise workshops at the forum are online. The deadline for applications is Friday 3 October.
More than 100 experts from the fields of anti-trafficking, migration and women’s rights from around the world will come together this month for an international congress to celebrate 20 years of the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW).
The International Members’ Congress, taking place in Bangkok, Thailand, brings together members of the Alliance and partners to review successes and setbacks over the last 20 years of anti-trafficking work, and set goals for the future. Participants will discuss topics including women, migration and work; funding for anti-trafficking work; and accountability in the non-governmental organisation (NGO) sector.
Participants will represent diverse aspects of the alliance, which covers 45 countries, four regions, over 120 member organisations and varying areas of work, including service provision, access to justice and advocacy and for trafficked and migrating women.
At the conference, GAATW will present initial findings from its accountability research, which with 17 member organisations has involved looking at services and programmes from the perspective of trafficking survivors. GAATW will also launch the third issue of its peer-reviewed journal – the first of its kind in the world – which examines funding in anti-trafficking; where the money comes from, who it goes to and what it actually achieves. A copy of the journal will be available on 23 September at www.antitraffickingreview.org
“This International Members’ Congress comes at a very special time in GAATW’s history,” says Bandana Pattanaik, GAATW International Coordinator, “The Alliance was originally founded by a group of women activists to understand the views of trafficked women and challenge existing perceptions of trafficking. As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, we look forward to welcoming members and partner organisations and reviewing what we have achieved and how we can best respond to the issues faced by migrating and trafficked women in future.”
Visit www.gaatw.org to read updates from the International Members’ Congress.
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