As the 10-year review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action got underway last week, women’s organizations noticed a change in the atmosphere surrounding the event. This may have been due to the multitudes of emails and flyers received by delegates from conservative groups urging the support of a U.S.-based amendment to the Declaration, which stated that the Declaration included no new rights and did not include the right to abortion.
But the U.S. delegation to the conference backed down after 130 country delegations to the review session and more than 170 women’s organizations and human rights groups voiced fierce opposition to the amendment.
According to Ms. Magazine, even though the proposed amendment was dropped, Ellen Sauerbrey, U.S. Ambassador to the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) stated, “The United States is pleased that countries agree with us that the Platform for Action does not create any new rights.” Ms. Charlotte Bunch, executive director of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership attributed this statement to U.S. denial: “They are declaring victory and going home, as in Vietnam…the reality is that they hear loud and clear the voices of 6,000 women here saying ‘No,’ echoing millions of other women worldwide.”
U.S. Withdraws Destructive Amendment to UN Declaration Reaffirming UN Platform for Action for Women, Joanne Omang, Ms. Magazine Online, www.msmagazine.com, 4 March 2005.
US Amendment to Global Women’s Rights Agreement, Feminist Daily News Wire, Feminist Majority Foundation, www.feminist.org, 4 March 2005.
U.S. Engages in Tug-of-War at Beijing Plus 10, Allison Stevens, Womensenews, www.womensenews.org, 7 March 2005.