Statement

18 March 2013

UNFPA Welcomes CSW Outcome Document

Statement by UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin

UNFPA, The United Nations Population Fund, welcomes the historic agreement by the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) which clearly reinforces the international community’s commitment to strengthen efforts to eliminate and prevent all forms of violence against women and girls.

We commend the Commission’s robust call for all countries to condemn all forms of violence against women and girls and to recognize and reinforce the fact that we must end gender-based violence in all its forms. This is a priority to achieve sustainable development, human rights, economic growth and social cohesion.

Whilst the agreement is an important step in freeing women and girls from violence and the threat of violence, there can be no real progress without vigorous implementation and accountability mechanisms. Therefore, we welcome the Commission’s call on Governments, regional organizations, human rights organizations, civil society, Non-Governmental Organizations, the private sector and other actors, to take concrete actions to strengthen implementation of legal and policy frameworks and accountability.

UNFPA particularly welcomes the document’s inclusion and emphasis on the rights of all women and girls to the highest standard of health, including sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights. Women’s health, their right to decide freely on when to have children and how many children to have, to be protected from marrying too young, to have access to safe and supported pregnancies and births are all critical drivers to achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women. It will also enable them to enjoy all of their human rights and fundamental freedoms, and prevent and mitigate violence against women.

UNFPA is also pleased that the International Conference on Population and Development, the Beijing Platform and the outcome documents of their review conferences are particularly reaffirmed to protect and fulfill reproductive rights. The agreement clearly affirms that no argument based on culture, tradition or religious grounds can ever justify violence against any woman.

There is also an important emphasis on protecting vulnerable groups like those living with HIV, women and girls with disabilities, older women, pregnant adolescents and young mothers and those from national and ethnic minorities or with indigenous and Afro-descendent backgrounds.

The conclusion of this year’s CSW embraces the aspirations of women and girls across the globe to live in safety and with dignity. UNFPA fully supports these aspirations and will continue to strengthen its efforts to back the implementation of this agreement so that these universal aspirations become a reality.