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Statement of the Ecumenical Women 2000 Coalition
Delivered at the 49th Session of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women

ENS 030905-2
[Episcopal News Service]  Ecumenical Women 2000 is a coalition of Christian denominations and ecumenical organizations at the United Nations focusing on the global intersections of religions, human rights and gender. As a delegation of seventy-five women of faith representing all regions of the world, we unequivocally support the Political Declaration unanimously adopted last Friday March 4 that reaffirms the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and calls for its full and effective implementation.

The Ecumenical Women 2000 coalition strongly supports the realization of the human rights goals of gender equality, development and peace which is the basis of the Beijing Platform. We affirm and encourage the continuing efforts to advance the human rights, dignity and status of all women around the globe, especially those who face discrimination in the inter-sectionality of gender with race, class, ethnicity, age, and sexual orientation.

Our faith traditions have a shared commitment and history for social justice, peace-building, and respect for dignity of all people, the integrity of creation and fullness of life. An example of this commitment is our involvement in the Decade to Overcome Violence (2001-2010), an initiative of the World Council of Churches that strives for unity and peace in a broken world.

Our churches, like many institutions, struggle with patriarchy and political processes that exclude and marginalize women. Furthermore, our churches have been slow to adequately respond to urgent issues such as the HIV/AIDS pandemic, racism, environmental degradation and sexism among others. This underscores the churches' need to strengthen our own commitment to the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome of the 23rd Special Session of the General Assembly.

Ten years after the adoption of the Beijing Platform, women and girls around the world continue to suffer much of the burden of war, poverty, all forms of violence and discrimination, and economic injustice. In the last ten years increased militarization, trafficking in persons, the rise of all forms of fundamentalisms, negative effects of globalization and neo-liberal economic policies have had a disproportionate harmful impact on women and girls.

Now, more than ever, we call on governments to:

  • Fully and effectively implement the Beijing Platform for Action;
  • Ensure full participation of women at all levels of decision-making;
  • Guarantee women's health care, sexual and reproductive rights and services
  • Dedicate sufficient resources to address poverty and unemployment, especially among young people
  • Reduce military expenditures, arms trade, investment for arms production and acquisition and reallocate resources to social and economic development, poverty alleviation, promotion of human security and the advancement of women.

Finally, we would like to stress that gender equality, protection of women's human rights and empowerment of women are essential in achieving the internationally agreed development goals contained in the Millennium Declaration. The Beijing Platform as a general framework and the Millennium Development Goals as a strategy offer hope and help us to move forward in empowering the most vulnerable women and girls in all regions.