The 61 session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) meets this year within the growing exploitation, marginalization and violence against women because of the rise of the conservative right-wing forces in all over the world and the wars and internal conflicts in many countries. Facing such challenges, the United Nations should have taken all necessary measures to ensure the representation of women from all countries of the world during this session, and enable them to raise their voice in this annual international forum which discusses women’s issues and work to achieve gender equality.
Last January, the US Administration banned citizens of seven countries (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) from travelling to the US. Women in these countries face sever violations and restriction of movement on a daily basis. The UN was expected to take a strong stand against such measures, however, the resistance came from the democratic forces in the United States, which immediately organized dozens of demonstrations and formed delegations to greet arrivals from these countries, after the decision was rejected by the Federal Judiciary.
Although the US Administration retreated partially and issued a new decision in March exempting Iraqis and some groups in the 6 countries (Diplomats, holders of all visas in force and permanent residencies) from the travel banning, however, the measures still apply to citizens of these 6 countries holding visas to UN meetings or holding other nationality than their original one.
Undoubtedly, such decisions created confusion, and probably many of women’s organizations in these countries will not be able travel or present their issues nor in the official meetings or the side-events. Accordingly, the New woman Foundation decided to boycott the 61 session of CSW in solidarity with women in these countries, and to contribute to the pressure on the United Nations to play its role in defending human rights; to declare a clear and strong position on the racial policies against women and to seriously enable women to present their issues at the international forums and achieve gender equality. Without this, the UN loses its credibility and the justification for its existence, making human rights conventions and covenants no more than ink on paper.
The New Woman Foundation underlines the necessity of continued feminist struggle and all the democratic forces and the free world to confront the racist right-wing attack that is sweeping the world and negatively impacting human rights, especially women’s rights.