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UN women’s commission meets on violence, trafficking, access to media

UN women’s commission meets on violence, trafficking, access to media

The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women opened its annual session today at UN Headquarters in New York, focusing on women’s access to the media and the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls.

The 10-day session, the 47th since the Commission was set up by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), has before it several reports from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, including one outlining coordinated efforts by governments, enforcement agencies and international organizations to effectively combat trafficking in women and girls, which it says has reached worldwide proportions.

“To combat trafficking in women and girls effectively, it is necessary to adopt an anti-trafficking strategy, which uses a gender-based and human rights approach, as well as a criminal justice approach,” the report says.

Another report reviews the effects of Israeli settlements and movement restrictions on Palestinian women. “As the conflict exacerbates existing hardships and creates new difficulties, continued assistance should focus in particular on such areas as women’s employment and economic empowerment, education, health, social welfare and violence against women,” it says.

A report on Afghanistan warns that many challenges to women’s full and equal participation in Afghan society remain despite progress made in reintegrating them into political, educational and economic life, decision-making on the peace process and the reconstruction of their country.

“In many parts of the country women face violence; they are primary victims of insecurity, which limits their access to public life and threatens their lives and dignity; and restrictions to the full enjoyment of fundamental freedoms and human rights continue to be applied to women by local leaders,” it says.

The report on access to the media urges that gender differences and inequalities in access to and use of information and communication technologies be fully addressed, so that such technologies actively promote gender equality and ensure that gender-based disadvantages are not created or perpetuated.

The 45 Commission members are appointed by governments and elected by ECOSOC; 13 come from Africa, 11 from Asia, four from Eastern Europe, nine from Latin America and the Caribbean and eight from Western Europe and other states.