55th session of the CSW – 2011

In late February and early March, 2011, the UN in New York hosted the annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which was attended by lesbian, bisexual and transgender activists from countries as diverse as Brazil, Indonesia, Namibia, Sri Lanka, Saint 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 Agreed 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.