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There is a pushback on women's rights, UN chief warns

11 Mar 2019, 20:46 ( 5 Months ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. File Photo Xinhua.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday warned that there is a "pushback" on women's rights globally.

   "Around the world, there is a pushback on women's rights," the UN chief said while addressing the opening of the 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63), noting "that pushback is deep, pervasive and relentless."

   "We witness increased violence against women, especially human rights defenders and women running for political office," he added.

   "We see online harassment and abuse of women who speak out," said the UN chief, adding that "in some countries, homicide rates are going down - but murders of women are going up."

   "In others, we see a rollback of legal protection against domestic violence or even female genital mutilation," said Guterres.

   The UN chief noted that all people know women's participation makes peace agreements more durable, "but we still struggle to make sure women are included in negotiating teams."

   "Even governments that are vocal supporters of this agenda fail to back their words with action where it counts," he said.

   The secretary-general also condemned "terrible endemic sexual and gender-based violence" against women, adding that "nationalist, populist and even austerity agendas are tearing the social fabric - aggravating inequality, splintering communities, curtailing women's rights and cutting vital services."

   He called on the international community to "push back against the pushback" and fight for gender parity.

   Guterres said the UN has set a good example for the world as there are more women than men in the Senior Management Group of the organization, which he said is "a first in United Nations history."

   "When we exclude women, everyone pays the price," warned the secretary-general.

   "When we include women, the whole world wins," he stressed.

   CSW63 kicked off at UN headquarters in New York on Monday and will last until March 22. Its theme is: Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

   Representatives of UN member states, UN entities, and the Economic and Social Council accredited non-governmental organizations from all regions of the world will attend the session.