Tarcila Rivera Zea possesses leadership in abundance. She is the coordinator
of a network of South American indigenous women and head of CHIRAPAQ
(Centro de Culturas IndÃgenas del PerÃº). Tarcila is vibrant, energetic and easily
recognized throughout the network of womenâ€™s organizations that she strives
to maintain and expand through the UNFPA-supported Enlace Continental de
Mujeres IndÃgenas de las AmÃ©ricas. Over the last 25 years, her efforts have
helped to influence local public policy and to promote gender equality and
reproductive rights. Her aim? To empower indigenous women to claim political
representation so that everyone can enjoy â€œlife with dignityâ€�.
Attention to culture, gender and human rights is
key to achieving UNFPAâ€™s mandate. Culturally sensitive
programming means involving communities in
completely different contexts to support and â€œownâ€�
human rights. Gender mainstreaming is a strategic
response to the widespread denial of the human
rights of women. And all human beings are entitled
to equal rights and protection. In 2006, these concerns
converged in two complex issues: gender-based
violence and the alarming proportion of women living
Advancing Equality for Women and Girls
Gender equality advances development and reduces
povertyâ€”it is a human right integral to the achievement
of all of the Millennium Development Goals. In
2006, UNFPA developed a comprehensive strategy to
mainstream a gender perspective into all programming.
During that same year:
- Building the capacity of governments, parliaments
and NGOs to implement national gender
strategies remained a priority. Ten countries contributed
to a UNFPA study of the most effective examples
of culturally sensitive programming aimed at reducing
gender-based violence. In addition, UNFPA and
the United Nations Development Fund for Women
developed a training manual and resource pack on
gender budgeting to build the capacity of national
partners and civil society organizations. Both products
were tested and distributed to UNFPA Country
Offices and partners.
- Women represent nearly half of all migrants
worldwide, and their numbers are rising steadily.
In May 2006, UNFPA and the International
Organization for Migration organized a two-day
meeting on female migrants, which attracted a
group of experts. Recommendations were discussed
further at the United Nations High-Level Dialogue
on International Migration and Development at the
General Assembly in September. Despite potential
benefits, the Fund cautioned that, compared to men,
women have fewer opportunities for legal migration,
are more vulnerable to violence and exploitation and
are less likely to have their health care needs met.
- UNFPA continued to advocate measures to protect
women and girls from HIV/AIDS. The Fundâ€™s commitment
to gender equality was highlighted through
partnerships with the UNAIDS-led Global Coalition on
Women and AIDS and through a variety of new publications,
as well as at major meetings in New York,
Toronto and elsewhere. UNFPA continued to push for
the linkage of HIV/AIDS and reproductive health programmingâ€”
a more effective approach than current
responses that fail to address the social, cultural and
economic factors that put women at risk.
All People are Entitled to Equal Rights and Protection
It is important to work within communities to nurture
and cultivate respect for human rights as a full
part of their value system. UNFPA supports programmes
that give women, men and young people
the information, life skills and education they need
to claim their rights. In 2006:
- UNFPA developed technical tools to equip its staff
with knowledge and skills to implement and evaluate
programmes with a human rights-based perspective.
The Fund is collaborating with the Harvard School
of Public Health to produce a training package on
human rights-based programming. It also actively
participated in mainstreaming population issues into
Action 2, the United Nations Secretary-Generalâ€™s
initiative on human rights.
- UNFPA welcomed the Convention on the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities, the first major human rights
treaty of the 21st century. Adopted by consensus by the
United Nations General Assembly in December, this
Convention enhances the Fundâ€™s ongoing commitment to the inclusion of the sexual and reproductive health
needs of persons with disabilities in development
plans and policies.
- UNFPA projects have succeeded in incorporating
gender equality and reproductive rights into the
agendas of indigenous organizations and in local
and national public policies. UNFPA enjoys a close
relationship with the Enlace Continental de Mujeres
IndÃgenas de las AmÃ©ricas, a network of more than
30 womenâ€™s organizations in Latin America that
promote indigenous womenâ€™s rights, including
reproductive rights and gender equality. The UNFPAsponsored
United Nations Permanent Forum on
Indigenous Issues featured advances in intercultural
strategies to reduce maternal death and illnesses.
||Spectators attending a
festival focusing on the
problem of genderbased
November 2006 festival,
held in Dakar, Senegal,
featured 84 films from
18 African countries.
Taking a Culturally Sensitive Approach to Promote Human Rights
UNFPA works from within diverse cultures to achieve
goals relating to the well-being of communities and
the rights of all individuals. In 2006:
- Partnerships with faith-based organizations
helped UNFPA reach some of the most vulnerable and marginalized communities in the world. A global
mapping survey undertaken in 2006 identified 55
partnerships with Catholic, Evangelic, Muslim and
Hindu groups. Objective evidence about the benefits
of reproductive health information and services
encouraged religious leaders to partner with UNFPA.
- With support from UNFPA, a campaign alerting
religious leaders and the public to the dangers of early
marriage was launched in Badakhshan, a remote province
of Afghanistan with the highest maternal death
rate in the world. In Colombia, a development and
peace project run by Jesuit priests led to a UNFPAsupported
project that uses community consultations
to make the link between human rights, violence
against women and reproductive health. Imams in
Mauritania called on government officials and police
to protect rape victims, not punish them, after UNFPA
supported an awareness campaign, established a centre
for survivors and helped the Government to collect
data on sexual violence. Buddhist monks in Cambodia
continued to participate in UNFPA-supported training
on issues related to the ICPD and promoting HIV prevention
among adolescents and youth.
- To end female genital mutilation/cutting, UNFPA
offered local communities in Uganda and Kenya
safe alternative rituals, helped the cutters to find other sources of income and supported the efforts of
womenâ€™s groups and parliamentarians to promote legislation
to protect women and girls. In Kenya, UNFPA
continued to support a safe house for girls attempting
to escape female genital mutilation/cutting.
- As part of a wider initiative to prevent HIV infection,
particularly among adolescent girls, the United
Nations Global Coalition on Women and AIDS, with
support from UNFPA, developed a guide to global
policy action. Globally, vulnerable and marginalized
rural girls and women continue to bear the health
risks and social and economic costs of early and
forced marriage, non-consensual sex and early pregnancies.
The issue is even more urgent because child
brides are more vulnerable to HIV infection.
- In April 2006, United Nations Secretary-General
Kofi Annan accepted the first Seville Node Between
Cultures Award in Spain and immediately pledged its
monetary prize to a UNFPA-led joint initiative that
helps Congolese women traumatized by sexual violence.
GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE: AN END TO IMPUNITY
â€œIn all countries of the world, violence against women persists as a pervasive scourge, endangering womenâ€™s lives
and violating their rights. Such violence also impoverishes families and communities, drains government resources
and restricts economic development.â€�â€”2006 report of the United Nations Secretary-General.
Gender-based violence attracted high-level attention in 2006. In October, the United Nations released a landmark
study recommending that the world commit more resources to prevent and eliminate violence against women.
At least 102 of the 192 Member States have no specific legal sanctions against domestic violence, and marital
rape is not a prosecutable offence in 53 countries. To follow up, UNFPA and the United Nations Division for the
Advancement of Women co-chaired the United Nations Task Force on Violence against Women.
National action plans to prevent and address violence against women and girls were the focus of joint efforts with
sister agencies in the United Nations and United Nations country teams. In 2006, UNFPA built the capacity of
national counterparts in Algeria to report cases of gender-based violence; worked with Moroccoâ€™s health and justice
systems to implement their national strategy to combat violence against women; assisted a legal reform commission
in Guatemala; and joined partners from the grass-roots level to the highest levels of government to raise awareness
of domestic violence in Romania.
UNFPA joined rights organizations worldwide for the annual 16 Days of Activism to End Violence against Women.
UNFPA and Senegal hosted an African film festival, which included journalist training on gender-based violence, to
mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Training workshops for NGOs helped
build capacity to implement the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
UNFPA also continued to support United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 (2000), the first legislation ever
passed to specifically address the impact of war on women and to call for increased female involvement in conflict
resolution and peacebuilding.
PARTNERING WITH MEN FOR
Men like Bishop Xavier Chitanda of Zimbabwe exemplify
how men can be powerful allies when they speak out on
behalf of women and girls. In 2006, Bishop Chitanda
used the power of faith to transform lives and communities,
especially with regard to ending wife inheritance,
polygamy and marriage between older men and young
girls, while preaching his â€œanti-AIDS gospelâ€� to packed
audiences in churches.
Countries in every region have worked with UNFPA
to reach men with information, education and services
that relate to family planning, maternal health,
HIV prevention and gender-based violence. In 2006,
men challenged destructive concepts of masculinity in
Zimbabwe through Padareâ€”A Menâ€™s Forum on Gender,
which reaches men and boys in schools, pubs, sports
clubs and churches, and encourages male parliamentarians
to generate gender-sensitive legislation. With
UNFPA assistance, the Association for Female Lawyers
in Liberia successfully mobilized fathers to support
new legislation increasing penalties for gender-based
violence and rape. Men in Turkey responded to a UNFPAsupported
campaign in which sports heroes announced
that violence against women is a crime that reveals
weakness, not strength. And in China, the Ministry of
Railways partnered with UNFPA to reach men between
the ages of 25 and 40 with HIV prevention messages
through flyers and messages broadcast over video
screens on commuter trains.