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Asylum Aid contributes to Beijing+20

Categories: Publications

Asylum Aid has contributed to a review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.  This international declaration for women’s equality and empowerment was adopted by the UN in 1995.  The review of progress made in the implementation of the declaration (Beijing+20) took place at the Commission on the Status of Women  at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 9 to 20 March 2015.

In preparation for this review the UK produced a report.  Asylum Aid’s response states:

 

  • concerns that refugee and asylum seeking women are completely omitted from the UK report.
  • women have the right to protection from Violence Against Women regardless of their immigration status.
  • the UK should increase the number of Syrian refugees arriving under the Vulnerable Person’s Relocationscheme for resettlement in the UK.
  • the UK should bring in a form of guidelines/practice direction for immigration judges on dealing with gender issues.
  • there is concern that the provisions from the Global Summit and Girl Summit include no parallel commitments for women seeking asylum.
  • detention has no place in the asylum process and asylum seekers’ cases can be heard while they are living in the community at much less cost and with less trauma.

Asylum Aid contributed this information to a Shadow Report produced by UK Women’s NGOs brought together through the CSW Alliance.  This Shadow Report evaluated progress on women’s rights more widely and highlighted the critical areas of action for the UK Government as it strives towards realising gender equality. 

The Statement of Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, to the Commission on the Status of Women on 13 March 2015 included issues very relevant to women seeking protection from human rights abuses:

“Progress over the last 20 years has been slow… Much of what was gained is under threat.  Many countries have overhauled their legal codes, but left unchanged the daily experience of customary and traditional practices…Some changes have brought benefits to women. But the reality is that the world has not changed for men. Even good men still continue to enjoy patriarchy… We need to work with men and boys. We need to make sure they take their responsibility to be partners, to be in solidarity, and to make the fundamental changes needed.  Men must say, ‘I will not marry a child’. Men must say, ‘I will not be involved in violence against women’…”

 

The Political Declaration agreed at the end of the Commission on the Status of Women expresses “concern that progress has been slow and uneven, that major gaps remain and that obstacles … persist in the implementation of the … Platform for Action, and recognizes that 20 years … [on] no country has fully achieved equality and empowerment for women and girls…” It also recognises “that new challenges have emerged and reaffirm our political will and firmly commit to tackle the challenges and remaining implementation gaps.”

 

This article was originally published in Women’s Asylum News 130 April/May 2015.

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