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Standing together against domestic violence


CSW57: Day 6 - E-Bulletin

The UK delegation attended the EU coordination in the morning where they discussed the new revised draft conclusions. This EU group increased its number from 16 to 15 countries when Bulgaria also joined.

Over lunch Sally attended a fascinating side event entitled ‘Arab Spring:  A chance or risk for women’s rights’ organised by Qatar, Doha International Institute for Family studies & development.

During the afternoon and late into the evening Julie, Arvind and Charles attended the formal negotiations.

Charles and Sally also met with the CSW57 NGO Liaison co-chairs along with Marai Larasi and Rowan Harvey.  This was a very useful session where the NGOs were able to raise their concerns and also where they consider the new text to have strong language

CSW57: Day 5 – E-Bulletin

The fifth day of CSW57 coincided with International Women’s Day. CSW57 and UN Women marked this by hosting a special session whereby Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations and Michele Bachelet, Director of UN Women, spoke about their personal and international commitments to ending VAWG through the UNITE campaign launched in 2008. Sally Duncan attended the session where the video of new UN Women song, One Women, was shown. The room was packed with men and women from all over the world many dressed in national dress and there was a fantastic uplifting energy.

The UK delegation attended the EU coordination in the morning. Julie and Charles continued with the informals in the afternoon and Arvind, Sally and Julie late into the night. We managed to complete the second read through by the end of Friday night. Following this the Chair will provide a further revised text at the beginning of next week.

During lunch, Arvind, VAWG DFID team leader, gave a lunch and learn to the staff at the UK mission. He highlighted the work of VAWG team and answered staff questions about CSW57.

In the early evening Sally attended a side event in Church House entitled ‘An evening with young African women leaders – conversation with an new generation of African Women’ where 6 inspiring young women told personal stories of struggle, growing up and the huge achievements they have made in their lives.

Visit the UK Mission at the UN’s website at: for more information on the UK’s participation at CSW57.

Follow them on Twitter at

Click here for more information on CSW57.

Kind Regards
Women’s Engagement Team
Government Equalities Office


What is The Commission for the Status of Women 57?

And how can I get involved?

The Commission for the Status of Women (CSW) is part of the United Nations and is dedicated to gender equality and the advancement of women. Each year a theme is discussed and commitments made to improve the inequalities that women face across the globe. This year is its 57th meeting, hence CSW 57.

In March this year representatives from UN states, both ministers and voluntary sector organisations, will meet in New York to try and agree a proposal that addresses this year’s theme of - The elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against Women and girls - this includes domestic abuse, rape, harmful cultural practices like forced marriage & female genital mutilation and rape in conflict areas.

At Standing Together we work locally, nationally and internationally to improve the coordinated community response to domestic abuse and most importantly to stop it happening in the first place. We support the UK Non-Government Organisations CSW57 Liaison group’s recommendations and will work with our partners internationally to try and agree a consensus at CSW57 so that agreement is reached and conclusions are signed.

We ask our partner organisations in the UK to also work with their international partners to provide a groundswell of support for the recommendations below. If at the CSW57 the issues have been raised by NGOs, and they have all asked their representatives to support it, we have a much better chance of success.

So what we ask of you is to read the recommendations below and write to your contacts in other countries and ask them to contact their ministers/representatives asking them to support the recommendations.

There are 2 major issues:

1. Gender inequality lies at the base of all forms of violence against women. But violence is also a fundamental cause and consequence of women's inequality. The vicious circle has to be broken as every girl child who has no value can ‘legitimately’ be raped, beaten or starved and sold, as may her mother, sisters, aunts and all females. This means that Governments need to address each area of inequality in line with the Beijing Platform’s critical areas of concern and to see all forms of gender based violence as arising from and causing further inequalities. Such an approach requires gender analysis and the avoidance of fragmentation in responses.

2. The global financial and economic crisis is affecting girls and women disproportionately throughout the world, in the developed as in the less developed areas. A downward spiral of economic deprivation commonly takes the form of women or their husbands/partners losing work (as well as some of their extended family members) which often leads to an increase in women’s burdens to provide for the family and seek resources outside of the home; this in an environment in which male violence towards them is likely to increase, earning opportunities are shut down and there is no money for the girl children to go to school. Within this dire situation, there has already been a marked increase in trafficking and prostitution of young girls (some just out of infancy) fuelled also by an explosion of pornographic media readily accessible on the Internet.

In the UK we feel that:

• There should be no regression from the existing commitments in the Platform for Action and subsequent reviews, particularly General Recommendation 19.

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) should be fully implemented and resourced.

• We must recommit to the implementation of a global strategy to end VAWG, implementing and building on the relevant section of the Platform for Action by 2015.

We believe that the Framework aims should:

• Intensify and scale-up global awareness of violence against women and girls as a global emergency

• Combine the best thinking on how to proceed with concrete pledges for action

•  Mobilise international, regional and national action by governments, multilaterals, the private sector and civil society

•  Build the foundation for a standardised and evidence-informed global prevention strategy

• Increase resources available to end VAWG

• Make the link between VAWG as a structural determinant of health and the impact different forms of violence have on women and girls’ health and development, especially their sexual and reproductive health and rights.  No regression from the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action.

• Survivors should be at the centre of the strategy; the balance between prevention, early identification, protection and prosecution are key.

• Prevention must be given the highest priority

• The strategy should be adapted, resourced and implemented at state level in all member states. States should work with NGOs to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the strategy.

We also believe that as violence against women has such a huge impact on so many areas of women’s lives that these commitments should be reviewed at every annual CSW.

We recognise that these are not exactly sound bites! But this is a huge international issue and we will break these aims down into clear action points as we get nearer to the meeting in March. We will also update you via our Twitter and Facebook pages so that you can see how the negotiations are going.

So in short there are 5 key actions that civil society organisations can take:

1. Find out who from your government will be attending CSW.  This could be as simple as calling your ministry for women and/or equalities and asking, or asking through your local parliament representative.

2. Organise and come together. Your calls are likely to be more effective if they come from coalitions and wider networks. Within the limited time available even if you can only agree to ask your government to support women and girls rights and use their influence to ensure that this year’s CSW reaches agreed conclusions.

3. Write to members of your delegation and relevant ministers. Send a clear and concise letter to your delegation members asking them to engage with civil society organisations before the meetings in New York and offer your knowledge and expertise. It might be helpful to send them a short briefing on violence against women and girls within your country’s context.

4. Seek representation on your country’s delegation. Governments have the option to include one or more civil society representatives as part of their delegation. If not already included it could be well worth asking the delegation to include a representative and suggest a name that has been agreed by as broad a coalition as possible.

5. Alert the media and your networks. CSW’s lack of visibility contributes to governments decisions not to give it priority (how much news coverage have you seen about it before?) and this allows them to undermine women rights without fear of recrimination. By ensuring that CSW is discussed on the news and across social media increases its profile and therefore its chance of success and meaningful outcomes.

As Alice Walker once said ' the most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any' So please use your power, keep being involved in the work to eliminate violence against women but also use this opportunity to make your voice heard on the international stage. Use your power, After all, together we can and will make a difference!