Strategic objective D.3.
Eliminate trafficking in women and assist victims of violence due to prostitution and trafficking
Actions to be taken
131. An environment that maintains world peace and promotes and protects human rights, democracy and the peaceful settlement of disputes, in accordance with the principles of non-threat or use of force against territorial integrity or political independence and of respect for sovereignty as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, is an important factor for the advancement of women. Peace is inextricably linked with equality between women and men and development. Armed and other types of conflicts and terrorism and hostage-taking still persist in many parts of the world. Aggression, foreign occupation, ethnic and other types of conflicts are an ongoing reality affecting women and men in nearly every region. Gross and systematic violations and situations that constitute serious obstacles to the full enjoyment of human rights continue to occur in different parts of the world. Such violations and obstacles include, as well as torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, summary and arbitrary executions, disappearances, arbitrary detentions, all forms of racism and racial discrimination, foreign occupation and alien domination, xenophobia, poverty, hunger and other denials of economic, social and cultural rights, religious intolerance, terrorism, discrimination against women and lack of the rule of law. International humanitarian law, prohibiting attacks on civilian populations, as such, is at times systematically ignored and human rights are often violated in connection with situations of armed conflict, affecting the civilian population, especially women, children, the elderly and the disabled. Violations of the human rights of women in situations of armed conflict are violations of the fundamental principles of international human rights and humanitarian law. Massive violations of human rights, especially in the form of genocide, ethnic cleansing as a strategy of war and its consequences, and rape, including systematic rape of women in war situations, creating a mass exodus of refugees and displaced persons, are abhorrent practices that are strongly condemned and must be stopped immediately, while perpetrators of such crimes must be punished. Some of these situations of armed conflict have their origin in the conquest or colonialization of a country by another State and the perpetuation of that colonization through state and military repression.
Beijing Declaration (1995)
Paragraph 131 of the Beijing Declaration represents a significantly large and almost self-descriptive paragraph in it. If we’re looking at the main issues involving the reduction to elimination of the trafficking of women, the establishment of safe and functioning institutions within the society become important parts of it.
This covers a lot of ground and, therefore, will need much time to cover. But I will work to keep this more compact in proportion to the paragraph. Its emphasis on the protection and respect for human rights are integral to the peace desired by most, but its not within a naive context. There is an indication of the necessity of the “peaceful settlement of disputes” and keeping things within the framework of three principles focused on the advancement of women.
The first principle is the idea of non-threat. There should not be threats made in order to maintain the aforementioned peace desired by most. In addition, we can see the second principle in the “use of force against territorial integrity.” The annexation of land, the attempt to take land or step onto the territory militarily without permission, becomes part of the principle here.
Nobody likes to have tanks arbitrarily step onto their sovereign territory; they’re generally touchy about it. The third principle is the political independence of a territory or, typically in the modern period, the state and then the respect (implying a prior acknowledgment and acceptance) of the sovereignty of the state.
All important for the advancement (and empowerment) of women (and girls). Sex and gender equality becomes an impediment to peace and development. Indeed, for the most developed states or nations, in general, the highest ranking economically and in terms of social development come from the most gender equal.
There is an acknowledgement of some of the poor circumstances throughout the work around conflict, terrorism, hostages, aggression, foreign occupation, ethnic and other conflicts, and so on, affecting men and women around the world.
All part of the continuous violation of rights and privileges given by the international community and, ideally, implemented – more or less – equally. The violations of human rights sit at the core of the problem of human trafficking and the problems following from them.
The human rights documents are intended to provide a framework in which individual human beings can lead decent and reasonable lives in accordance within a global and interdependent community.
As stated, “Such violations and obstacles include, as well as torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, summary and arbitrary executions, disappearances, arbitrary detentions, all forms of racism and racial discrimination, foreign occupation and alien domination, xenophobia, poverty, hunger and other denials of economic, social and cultural rights, religious intolerance, terrorism, discrimination against women and lack of the rule of law.”
In general, each of these categories will be worse for women than for others. Some of our central questions come in the form of the protection of civilians and ordinary citizens from the impacts of war and conflict, and the problems of human trafficking.
International humanitarian law is violated in the use of attacks on civilian populations and in the trafficking of civilians, whether in wartime or not. If individual states see themselves as above the law, then these individuals violate the law if they act in such a manner reflecting this attitude in violation of standards and norms in the legal contexts.
It is nearly identical with larger entities entitled states, nation-states, Member States, nations, or countries. Individual countries, or sets of them in regions or around the world, can violate international law. The governing set of legal norms important for the functioning of the international community.
This does not, in any way, imply the non-violation at regular rates by the international community of these internationalk8y legal frameworks. In fact, as with individual citizens in the Member States of the United Nations violating national law, we can find the general violation of the rights and international law by states.
The can be an ugly place, where there can be human rights violations and international law breaches “systematically ignored” in the cases of “attacks on civilian populations.” Those who can be affected by injury or death by the violations of international law in the attacks on civilian targets cases.
Any attacks on civilians in the conditions of armed conflict are “are violations of the fundamental principles of international human rights and humanitarian law.” Prostitution and trafficking become issues laden with the areas of international law and human rights.
In the context of those wanting greater freedom of movement and autonomy for their lives, the economic dependence or the lack of economic independence creates an issue for the women who become entrapped, deliberately by the purveyors, in the contexts of trafficking and prostitution. There can be arguments for legal prostitution.
However, these can be mixed with the contexts of the consent to a job as a sex-worker, which differs from the context of a prostitute in this legal framework and rights structure with the emphasis on human rights and international law. It is a violation of human rights and a breach of international law to enforce women in situations of prostitution and trafficking. (Let alone violating what seem like simply basic notions of human decency.)
The paragraph goes on to bring in the “massive violations of human rights” found in cases including “genocide, ethnic cleansing” and “systematic rape of women.” These create a variety of issues, e.g., refugees and displaced persons, pregnancies from the rapes, and the deaths of those of civilians caught in the conflicts – targeted or unintentional killings.
Even in the cases of conquest or colonization of a sovereign state by another one, we come to the problems of refugees and displaced persons created as a result of these. In addition, we can see the outcomes for women in regards to vulnerability to further rights and international law violations, whether in trafficking or in prostitution.
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the Preamble, Article 16, and Article 25(2).
- Convention Against Discrimination in Education (1960) in Article 1.
- The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) in Article 3, Article 7, and Article 13.
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966).
- Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979).
- Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984).
- The Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women and the optional protocol (1993).
- Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995), Five-year review of progress (2000), 10-year review in 2005, the 15-year review in 2010, and the 20-year review in 2015.
- United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000), and the UN Security Council additional resolutions on women, peace and security: 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009), 1960 (2010), 2106 (2013), 2122 (2013), and 2242 (2015).
- Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (2000).
- The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa or the “Maputo Protocol” (2003).
- Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence or the Istanbul Convention (2011) Article 38 and Article 39.
- UN Women’s strategic plan, 2018–2021
- 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- 2015 agenda with 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (169 targets for the end to poverty, combatting inequalities, and so on, by 2030). The SDGs were preceded by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) from 2000 to 2015.
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