Strategic objective E.2.
Reduce excessive military expenditures and control the availability of armaments
Actions to be taken
145. By Governments and international and regional organizations:
h. Discourage the adoption of and refrain from any unilateral measure not in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations, that impedes the full achievement of economic and social development by the population of the affected countries, in particular women and children, that hinders their well-being and that creates obstacles to the full enjoyment of their human rights, including the right of everyone to a standard of living adequate for their health and well-being and their right to food, medical care and the necessary social services. This Conference reaffirms that food and medicine must not be used as a tool for political pressure;
i. Take measures in accordance with international law with a view to alleviating the negative impact of economic sanctions on women and children.
Beijing Declaration (1995)
Onward our story continues in this neverending one, and not always on still serious but light by comparison topics of work equity, the narrative of explicit violence against women bound within the context of international arms exports and imports & excessive military expenditures upwards of nearly $2 trillion around the world.
This seems like a staggering achievement of the multi-polar and globalized world seen now. We have a world in which knowledge of the pain and suffering inflicted via war comes in through electronic print and audio-visuals on digital displays. All the while, we sit comfy at the pain and brutality of human beings upon one another. As should be noted, the emphasis at the top of the paragraphs provides a context of the paragraphs below.
Thus, and as a reiteration of points made prior, the focus here remains governments, and regional and international organizations. The Charter of the United Nations became effective October 24, 1945. This document set forth the foundation of the United Nations as an international organization through the Charter as a treaty. This happened in San Francisco, California. United Nations Day is celebrated on October 24 every year henceforth.
Article I of the Charter defines the purposes, and, in some base meanings, defines the targeted objectives and vision of the United Nations:
The Purposes of the United Nations are:
- To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;
- To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;
- To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and
- To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.
The first intentions of the United Nations come in the form of peace and security. Noting, of course, the title or, more properly, term “United Nations” came from the mind of Franklin D. Roosevelt on January 1, 1942. This came forward from 26 nations who wanted to fight against the Axis powers in the Second World War. “Internationa peace and security,” “fight against Axis powers in the Second World War,” “effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats t the peace,” “excessive military expenditures,” and “control the availability of armaments” come in clasped hands.
Nations coming together in the midst of a global conflict tearing apart the rich nations. By 1945, 50 nations came together for the United Nations. The Charter was ratified by “China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and by a majority of other signatories,” which became the basis of the organization built for international peace and security, friendly relations, international co-operation, and the harmonization of the actions of the Member States of the United Nations. 193 Member States exist under the global democratic aegis of the United Nations now.
Now, the United Nations comes with six main organs entitled the General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council, Trusteeship Council, International Court of Justice, and the UN Secretariat. The General Assembly remains the core deliberative-representative organ of the United Nations. A unique universal representation of the Member States (nations or countries) within the United Nations.
The Security Council deals with the first Article stipulations about the maintenance and perseverance of international peace and security. It contains 15 members with 5 permanent and 10 non-permanent. As this retains democratic representation, the United Nations Security Council permits one vote per Security Council member (a Member State of the United Nations).
The Economic and Social Council or ECOSOC is the main organ of the United Nations devoted to the coordination, and review and dialogue and recommendation-giving on policies relevant to the economic and social concerns of the international community, whether of the individual Member States, regional geographies, or global issues including anthropogenic climate change.
The Trusteeship Council came with the Charter in Chapter XIII. That which emphasized an 11 Trust Territories under the auspices of seven Member States of the United Nations with insurance for the steps provided for the independence and self-governance of the territories. 1994 was the year in which complete self-government and independence were attained by the Trust Territories:
- Western Samoa
- Cameroons under British administration
- Cameroons under French administration
- Togoland under British administration
- Togoland under French administration
- New Guinea
- Strategic Trust Territory/ Trust territory of the Pacific Islands
- Italian Somaliland
Even with this as one of the six core organs of the United Nations, the Trusteeship Council ceased operating on November 1, 1994 in the light of the complete self-governance attained of the Trust Territories, listed above.
The International Court of Justice exists as the main judicial organ of the United Nations. It settles legal disputes of the United Nations in accordance with international law submitted by the Member States and can provide advisory opinions on a variety of legal questions to other United Nations organizations or specialized agencies. These opinions, in theory, hold high sway on the opinions of the international community regarding human rights violations and concerns of the day.
The Secretariat is the Secretary-General and 10s of thousands of international United Nations members of staff who manage and maintain the work and operations of the United Nations. The Secretary-General remains the “chief administrative officer” of the United Nations with the appointment by the General Assembly based on the recommendation of the Security Council in a five-year and, potentially, renewable term. No barriers to the international community should necessarily exist for the appointment of a qualified person into the office of the Secretary-General.
All this formal structure. Every facet of this, probably, the most bureaucratic organization on the face of the planet. Within this, the work, based on the Charter emphasis on international peace and security, of the United Nations since October 24, 1945, as the effective date of the Charter of the United Nations, and December 10, 1945 as the effective date of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for the principles and ethics of the United Nations right into the present.
1945 has been an integral year for the development of formal international structures for the maintenance of peace and an increase in international security. As the United Nations works, the Beijing Declaration simply reflects the work on the more extreme and particular angle of extreme forms of violence against women, specifically, and with an emphasis on the arms and military expenditures around the world.
If curious about the context in Canadian society, a significant number of organizations exist to provide for the needs of women and for the concerns/issues of women. For example, we can note a listing:
- 60 million girls
- A Celebration of Women™ Foundation Inc.
- A Commitment to Training and Employment for Women (ACTEW)
- Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Homestead Historic Site
- Adsum for Women and Children
- African Women Acting
- After Breast Cancer
- Almas Jiwani Foundation
- Alice Housing
- Amethyst Women’s Addiction Centre
- Anduhyaun Inc.
- ANNISAA Organization of Canada
- Annual Gift Basket Drive
- Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre (AWRC)
- Assaulted Women’s Helpline
- Association for Women’s Rights in Development
- Atira Women’s Resource Society (Local: Vancouver, BC
- Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic
- Battered Women’s Support Services (Vancouver BC)
- BC Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health
- BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre Foundation
- Beginnings Counselling and Adoption Services of Ontario
- Behavioural Health Foundation
- Blue Mountain Rehabilitation
- Bravestone Centre Inc.
- The Brock Student Sexual Violence Support Centre (A Safer Brock)
- Bryony House
- Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association (CIWA)
- Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter
- Campbell River Women’s Sexaul Assault Centre
- Camfed Canada
- Canadian Abortion Rights Action League (CARAL)
- Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS)
- Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies
- Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres
- Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation
- Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – Prairies and Northwest Territories Chapter
- Canadian Council of Muslim Women
- Canadian Federation of Junior Leagues
- Canadian Federation of University Women
- Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW)
- Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan
- Canadian Women’s Foundation (CWF)
- Canadian Women’s Health Network
- Canadian Women Voters Congress
- Carleton Place Women’s Business Group
- Cause We Care Foundation
- Centre Victoria pour femmes
- Charlford House Society for Women
- CHOICES Adoption and Counselling Services
- Community MicroSkills Development Centre
- Co-ordinated Access for Child Care
- Creative Alternatives of Montreal
- Dancing Damsels Inc.
- Dawn House
- DisAbled Women’s Network of Canada
- DisAbled Women’s Network (DAWN) Ontario
- Discovery House
- Domestic Abuse Services
- Dr. Roz’s Healing Place
- Dress for Success Halifax
- Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie
- Dress for Success Regina
- Dress for Success Toronto
- Dress for Success Vancouver
- Feminist Association for Collaborative Education (FACE)
- Eating Disorders Action Group
- Eating Disorders Awareness Coalition of Waterloo Region
- Elizabeth Bagshaw Women’s Clinic
- Elizabeth Fry Society of Manitoba
- Equal Voice
- Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter
- Family Law Education for Women
- Federated Women’s Institutes of Ontario (FWIO)
- FEM International
- Fort Garry Women’s Resource Centre
- Forum for Women Entrepreneurs BC
- Gillian’s Place
- Girls Incorporated of Upper Canada (GIUC)
- Girls Rock Camp Mississauga
- Girls Rock Camp Vancouver
- Haven Society
- HOPE International Development Agency
- Hope NOW Family Concepts, Inc.
- House of Sophrosyne Recovery Programs for Women
- Huronia Transition Homes
- Ikwe Safe Rides (Women Helping Women)
- Immigrants Working Centre
- INFACT Canada
- Inspirations Studio
- Interim Place
- Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women
- iSisters Technology Mentoring
- Jean Tweed Centre
- Jewish Women International of Canada (JWIC)
- Julliette’s Place
- Junior League of Edmonton
- Junior League of Toronto
- Kinette Club of Edmonton
- Kingston Crisis Pregnancy Centre
- Lady Cove Women’s Choir
- LEAF – Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund
- West Coast LEAF
- Lean In Canada
- Libra House
- L.I.F.E. Recovery
- Maison d’amitié
- Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters (Selkirk MB)
- Margaret Frazer House
- The Marguerite Centre
- Marguerite Dixon Transition Society
- Marillac Place
- MATCH International Centre
- Mom God and Me
- Mountain Rose Women’s Shelter Association (MRWSA)
- Na’amat Canada
- National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL)
- Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto
- NextLEVEL Leadership
- North York Women’s Shelter
- North York Women’s Centre
- North York Women’s Shelter
- Oasis Centre des femmes
- Oil City Derby Girls
- Older Women’s Network
- The Olive Branch of Hope
- On-Track Career & Employment Services
- Ontario Women’s Justice Network
- Opportunity for Advancement
- Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT)
- PARO: A Northwestern Ontario Women’s Community Loan Fund
- Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada
- Peace River Regional Women’s Shelter
- Peer Support Services For Abused Women
- Perinatal Mood Disorders Awareness Ltd.
- Promotion Plus
- Prostitution Alternatives Counselling Education (PACE)
- Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan (PATHS)
- Ramoth Life Centre
- Regina Women’s Community Centre
- Réseau des femmes du Sud de l’Ontario
- Rescuing our African Daughters/Secours aux jeunes Africaines (ROAD/SAJA)
- Richmond Women’s Resource Centre
- Rotholme Women’s and Family Shelter
- Save the Mothers
- Scarborough Women’s Centre
- Servants Anonymous Society of Calgary
- Shelternet for Abused Women
- Sidelines Canada Prenatal Support Network
- Single Mothers in Progress
- Single Women in Motherhood
- Soroptimist International of Grand Erie
- Soroptimist International of Western Canada
- South Fraser Women’s Services Society
- Southwest Crisis Services
- Spectra Community Support Services
- St. Clare Inn
- St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival
- St. John’s Status of Women Council
- Street Haven
- Terra Centre
- Terrace Women’s Resource Centre Society
- That’s Women’s Work Arts Network
- Times Change Women’s Employment Service
- United Nations Platform for Action Committee Manitoba (UNPAC)
- Up With Women
- Vancouver Island Women’s Business Network
- Vancouver Status of Women
- Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter
- Verdun Women’s Centre
- Victoria Sexual Assault Centre
- Vermilion/YWCA Skills Training Centre
- Villa Rosa Inc.
- Westminster House Recovery Centre for Women
- Weyburn Oilwomen Association Inc.
- Windsor Life Centre
- Wings of Providence Society
- Wired Woman in Communications and Technology
- WISH Drop-In Centre Society
- Women Against Violence Against Women Rape Crisis Centre (WAVAW)
- Women & Children’s Shelter
- Women and Rural Economic Development
- Women in Leadership Foundation
- Women’s Centre of Calgary
- Women’s House Serving Bruce & Grey
- Women of Excellence Support and Relief Organization (WESRO)
- Women’s Health Clinic (Winnipeg MB)
- Women in Film and Television – Toronto
- Women in Global Science and Technology
- Women of Success
- Women’s Economic Council
- Women’s Habitat
- Women’s Shelter, Saakaate House
- Working Women Community Centre
- Yellow Brick House
- York Region Violence Against Women Coordinating Committee (YRVAWCC)
- Yorktown Family Services
- Young Women in Business Network (YWiB)
- YWCA Canada
All these organizations focused in some direct or indirect manner on women’s rights and women’s issues. The Beijing Declaration joins this noble tradition. Some may be more effective than others; some may be ways for an easy life for the leadership; some may, potentially, skim off the top and take fancy flights for personal comfort, as in any human endeavour in spite of the loftiest ideals; however, for the most part, the effort and intent for the vast majority remains positive and for the improved status of women. I’ve seen the same corruption behind closed doors in student unions; nothing new. It remains about the overall work at some level. Whistleblowers will be, and are, punished, sometimes severely. If a veneer or fundamentalist religion, then, of course, this can add another tribal bigotry to compound the issue altogether.
In this, we come to the improvement in the development of the health and wellness of women in society. This amounts to a concrete manifestation of the rights of women in real life. The impediments to the full economic and social development of countries can be affected by wars because war is costly. Women and children can have hindered well-being, which can shorten lives and reduce the quality of their lives.
The full enjoyment of the rights of women, as women, remains the core of this series with excessive military expenditures and arms availabilities as one of the core issues affecting us, now. The status of women inevitably means the improved material conditions of women in the more destitute circumstances in the world. For example, as the World Economic Forum indicates, Canada and Finland mark the top of the list in terms of the quality of life of the individual citizens:
2. Canada — 89.49.
For such a huge nation, Canada only has 35 million citizens, and they are some of the best looked after in the world. Canada’s healthcare is what stands it above the rest. Education and opportunity in the country are also impressively strong.
1. Finland — 90.09.
Everyone says Scandinavian nations have the highest standard of living, and now Finland has made it official. It scores highly on almost every index on the report, from basic needs, foundations of wellbeing and personal freedoms. If you move there just make sure to bring warm coat — temperatures can reach minus 50 celsius in the winter!
Comparatively, according to The Economist, the bottom of the ranks indicate Haiti, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe as some of the lowest quality of life places to live. The general phrase “Quality of Life” provides a basis for the look at the access and quality of food, education, healthcare, and social services for women in relevant contexts.
At the level of governments, and regional and international organizations, the work is dealing at the level of tens and hundreds of millions of women with different kinds and levels of needs for the improvement in the quality of life. The brutal fact of human cruelty can come from simple negation or withholding from other populations the food and medicine necessary for decent living conditions.
It, akin to sexual violence in rape as a weapon of war, can be a “tool for political pressure.” International law is important here. But in line with the rest of the paragraph, this is preventative and within a larger context of excessive military expenditures and arms availabilities, in 1995 and now.
The deal with the weapons of mass destruction can be associated with this. But we see more immediate and long-term, and ongoing, issues dealing with the privation of women and children from necessary resources for health and wellness. Money used, also, for the arms stockpiles and military R&D of the world could be used for more productive and humanitarian purposes, but aren’t.
That’s on us.
- 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).
- Some general declarations (not individual Declaration or set of them but announcement) included the UN Decade for Women (1976-1985).
- Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979) and the Optional Protocol (1999).
- 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), 2242 (2015), and 2467 (2019).
- 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, emphasis on the entirety of the goals with a strong focus on Goal 5
- 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.
- The Spotlight Initiative as another important piece of work, as a joint venture between the European Union and the United Nations.
- February 6, International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation is observed.
- February 11, International Day of Women and Girls in Science is observed.
- June 19, Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict is observed.
- June 23, is International Widows’ Day is observed.
- October 11, International Day of the Girl Child is observed.
- October 15, International Day of Rural Women is observed.
- November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is observed.
- Gender Inclusive Guidelines, Toolbox, & United Nations System-wide Strategy on Gender Parity.
- Say No, UNiTE, UNiTE to End Violence against Women, Orange the World: #HearMeToo (2018), and the 16 days of activism.
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