Strategic objective E.6.
Provide assistance to the women of the colonies and non-self-governing territories
Actions to be taken
149. By Governments and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations:
b. Raise public awareness, as appropriate, through the mass media, education at all levels and special programmes to create a better understanding of the situation of women of the colonies and non-self-governing territories.
Beijing Declaration (1995)
As we have seen throughout the paragraphs in the Beijing Declaration dealing with the issues for women’s rights around the world, we can note a few trends within the contexts of armed conflict. One of the most prominent is the idea of disproportionate effects of the innocent, even in proposed “just wars.” In this sense, we come to the idea of the ways in which men being conscripted remains a crime against men for centuries. Men’s bodies as disposable. No doubt about that. The other side of this context is even in the case of voluntary signing on to become hired killers, many of the individuals, probably most, killed in the midst of combat are non-combatants.
We’re talking about more or less innocents; unless, the women somehow instigated some form of armed violence against the armed forces in some manner. However, this seems highly unlikely in general. Another trend is the obvious implications of ignorance – something implied as widespread within the document – of human rights, including women’s rights, in general. One of the means by which to work on this is awareness-raising.
It becomes, as noted several times before, a move from awareness to education, or both, into programs of actions with the metrics provided for the programs of action to find areas of necessary or requisite improvement over time. In this, we come to the functional improvement of the contexts of women’s rights around the world in a systematic manner and, in fact or by implication, an improvement in the lives of women around the world.
The final paragraph section for the women and armed conflict deals with the fundamental raising of consciousness about the issues of human rights around the world. When we see the focus is “raise public awareness, as appropriate,” the obvious implication is the first step in the improvement of the status of the knowledge of women’s rights around the world.
Without this first step, human rights around the world will go nowhere and, in fact, have only gotten anywhere with more legitimacy provided to the movement with presentation of the moral values, the laws, and the argumentation and reasoning for the legitimate status of them. Over time, the awareness has been tied to education, implementation, and strategies for optimization of effect. However, these haven’t provided an environment for the full flourishing of women’s rights or human rights generally, e.g., the ongoing and longstanding Israeli-Palestinian issue and others.
The focus on “mass media” is an interesting point of contact, because the “public,” as in the ‘general public,’ is the unique and central focus for some of this here with the emphasis on the education at all levels utilizing the mass media for information delivery or informing of the minds of the ‘general public’ or the “public.”
As this series is impressionistic, so to are these documents, because these represent signposts, landmarks, and guidelines as to what the international community can do so as to accomplish their larger and more noble aims in the world for equality of the sexes and the genders, these “special programmes” become another means by which to look at the contexts on a, presumably, case-by-case basis and then use these for further improvement of the understanding of the situations for women around the world.
Those environments where women’s rights are not fully implemented or respected in addition to layering of the problems with the emphasis on “colonies and non-self-governing territories”; as you may recall, there were previous stipulations about the right to self-determination. This is one of those contexts for special emphasis. An environment where women do not have full-self-governance or the ability to determine their lives and trajectory in it.
And this all begins with more awareness for substantiation of the rights themselves and the decades-long movements behind them.
(Updated 2020-07-07, only use the updated listing, please) Not all nations, organizations, societies, or individuals accept the proposals of the United Nations; one can find similar statements in other documents, conventions, declarations and so on, with the subsequent statements of equality or women’s rights, and the important days and campaigns devoted to the rights of women and girls too:
- 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.
- August 26, International Women’s Equality 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.
Guidelines and Campaigns
- 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.
Women and Men Women’s Rights Campaigners
- Abby Kelley Foster
- Angela Davis
- Anna Julia Cooper
- Audre Lorde
- Barbara Smith
- Bell Hooks
- Claudette Colvin
- Combahee River Collective
- Ella Baker
- Fannie Lou Hamer
- Harriet Tubman
- Ida B. Wells
- Lucy Stone
- Maria Stewart
- Matilda Joslyn Gage
- Rosa Parks
- Shirley Chisholm
- Sojourner Truth
- Susan B. Anthony
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