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    UN Commission on the Status of Women

    A global policy-making body, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), dedicated exclusively to the promotion of gender equality and the advancement of women. Every year, representatives of Member States gather at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide. Read more: About CSWDocumentationNGO Participation

    60th session of the CSW – 2016

    ARC participated in the 60th session of the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women. After two-week deliberations, CSW delivered their Agreed Conclusions that aim to diminish the gender gaps that women and girls suffer, but exclude explicit references to the particular discrimination that many people suffer on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

    Although there were many expectations about its role promoting and recommending the fulfillment of all human rights to every woman and girl –thus including lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons-, in the document approved by the CSW there is only a paragraph that LGBTI persons can use as a tool to put forward whenever a human rights violation affects them. It is the paragraph that emphasizes the “increased inequality, violence, human rights abuses, and marginalization due to multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination” that persist between women and girls.

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    59th session of the CSW – 2015

    ARC International has added its voice to the following CSO statement in reaction to the political statement of the 59th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations. The sign-on will remain open for the duration of the CSW and we urge all partners to add your signature to strengthen the statement.

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    57th session of the CSW – 2013

    The fifty-seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 4 to 15 March 2013.  The two-week session included a high-level round table, interactive dialogues and panels, and parallel events. A Priority Theme was the “Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls”. ARC co-director, Kim Vance, spoke during a parallel event on “Killings and Violence against Women based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” and co-organized the event with COC Netherlands, AWID, International Planned Parenthood Federation,  Transgender  Europe,  Human  Rights  Watch,  Astraea, and the CWGL. ARC also co-sponsored with IGLHRC an event to provide a unique opportunity to articulate specific LBT women’s input into the unfolding Human Rights Council regional meetings processes leading to the Oslo conference. ARC also participated in LBT Caucus meetings following SOGI and sexual rights language proposed in the agreed conclusions, and joined a statement from the caucus delivered during general discussion at the CSW by Noelene Nabulivou,
 Diverse Voices and Action for Equality, Fiji. The statement was endorsed by 89 organisations from 48 countries. Noelene’s presentation is available on YouTube:

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    56th session of the CSW – 2012

    ARC Co-Director, Kim Vance, attended portions of the 56th CSW session in New York in late February. Led by COC Netherlands and CREA, ARC co-sponsored a successful side-event on Violence and Discrimination: Activism and Challenges. The panel focused on the recent OHCHR report and featured panellists from the organization Women Living Under Muslim Laws and LBT groups in Botswana and Sri Lanka.

    In addition, the Government of the Netherlands, in partnership with Norway, Argentina, the United Kingdom and South Africa, sponsored an extremely popular and inspirational side-event on Good Practices of Governmental Policies. In both side-events, ARC made interventions about the need for better documentation and data collection at the State level with regard to LBT populations.

    ARC was also advocating with a delegation of NGO and UN staff colleagues for a new UN Women-produced guide on data collection and statistics to include recommendations to States to collect disaggregated data, especially on violence against women, that includes sexual orientation and gender identity. ARC will be establishing a small strategic listserv to allow groups regularly engaging at the CSW to have ongoing planning and cooperation, especially leading into next years important session focusing on violence against women.

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    55th session of the CSW – 2011

    CSW-55 was attended by lesbian, bisexual and transgender activists from countries as diverse as Brazil, Indonesia, Namibia, Sri Lanka, St. Lucia, and Sweden.  Activists strategized with mission and UN staff to discuss strategy and planning for upcoming projects, including some focusing on HIV/AIDS, anti-discrimination and the development of the newly created UN Women. ARC International was pleased to convene the lesbian, bisexual and transgender caucus, and work with colleagues to spearhead a well-attended New York launch of the Activist’s Guide to the Yogyakarta Principles. ILGA and RFSL Sweden co-hosted an event on homophobia and education, and other side events focusing on feminist and women’s issues also integrated LGBT concerns throughout.

    Official CSW negotiations were difficult, with a strong presence of the North American “right wing” working closely with conservative States to promote anti-feminist and anti-human rights positions.  States remained deadlocked through the meeting’s official concluding date, which forced an additional session to be added to allow for more negotiation time.  The CSW adopted Agreed Conclusions in mid March which, thanks to tireless efforts of sexual and reproductive health advocates, includes useful references to, among other things, State responsibility to provide sex education based on “full and accurate information”. You can read the conclusions of the CSW here.

    Special thanks are due to Cynthia Rothschild, who coordinated ARC’s CSW participation. Given both the public education and coalition-building opportunities, it remains critical for activists working on issues of sexuality and gender to focus on the CSW each year.  Opposition to our agendas is omnipresent and well-organized, which makes strong NGO presence and programming even more essential.

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    Beijing turned 15 in 2010 and its anniversary celebration took place at the UN in New York. No, not Beijing the city, which is considerably older than fifteen, but the 1995 UN Fourth World Conference on Women, which is generally known as “the Beijing Conference”, or in activist circles, simply “Beijing”. In the first two weeks of March, the anniversary was commemorated in policy and networking among women activists and allies during the proceedings of the annual UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). In its daily presence at the two week CSW, ARC International played a key role in the coordination and facilitation of various sexual rights activities.

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