Julie Oberin, National Chairperson of WESNET and Margaret Augerinos, Victorian Delegate for WESNET attended the Global Network of Women’s Shelters Meeting in New York recently.
25-26 February 2010 Global Network of Women’s Shelters Meeting
Liz Claiborne, Inc., 18th Floor Conference Room. 1441 Broadway, New York, NY 10018
As part of the international Global Network of Women’s Shelters WESNET presented to the 54th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women on 2 March 2010
The Canadian Permanent Mission to the United Nations hosted the Global Network of Women’s Shelters to present a panel presentation to the UN. They provided escort to the GNWS delegates and arranged passes through WAVE (Women Against Violence Europe).
Background to the Global Network of Women’s Shelters (GNWS)
The Global Network of Women’s Shelters was founded in Ottawa 2009. WESNET is a founding member of the Global Network of Women’s Shelters (GNWS) and WESNET’s delegate at the inaugural two day meeting in Ottawa was Julie Oberin.
With the funding support of the Canadian Government and other sponsors; 17 countries, representing all regions of the world began the process of organizing so that the voice of women and their children can be present and at the centre of all initiatives to end violence. Other countries have joined the Global Network of Women’s Shelters since the Ottawa meeting.
Women advocates around the world have created secure places for women fleeing violence, in these places women and children can seek refuge from the violence and receive support to move forward to live a life free from violence. The role of these safe spaces (NGO’s); are crucial to the empowerment of women and the protection of their basic human rights. Refuges and shelters around the world are often misunderstood as services only protecting individual women and their children without recognition of the important part they play in advocating for legislative and policy changes and improvements along with changes in community attitudes. Furthermore, not all countries have shelters, funding to provide support and shelter, or legislation to protect women and children. The Global Network of Women’s Shelters is working towards a governance and consultative structure which will become a legal entity. It is envisaged that the Global Network of Women’s Shelters will work towards gaining status to feed advice and information into the United Nations through consultative mechanisms.
At the Ottawa meeting in 2009 and since via working groups, the GNWS has begun work on its governance structure and model of representation and decision making. The Canadian Government has provided seeding funding towards Secretariat support in the establishment phase through the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS).
The GNWS achieved its first audience with the UN in New York in March 2010.
Consequently the GNWS held their second meeting in New York on February 25th and 26th 2010 to coincide with the NGO Global Forum for Women, Beijing + 15, and the 54th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
The Global Network of Women’s Shelters was invited to present to the 54th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
The presentation provided some insight as to the experience of women and children in various global regions and discussed the role of the safe spaces for women, in the form of shelters, refuges and transition houses. It highlighted the work occurring in various regions such as WAVE (Women Against Violence Europe) and the Inter-Americas Shelter Network.
Australia is in the Oceania Region along with New Zealand, PNG and Pacific Basin Islands.
2010 marks the 15th anniversary of the Beijing World Conference on Women. In recognition of this anniversary, the NGO Committee on the Status of Women (CSW), New York (NY) organized an NGO Global Women’s Forum to consider implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA).
The Forum program included two full conference days commencing with an opening ceremony, and continuing with plenary sessions, panel discussions, and workshops. Download the preliminary program <http://www.ngocsw.org/files/2009-08-27.B-Plus-15-Preliminary-Program.pdf> . (PDF, 90kB)
The NGO CSW NY is the principal focus of NGO facilitation and coordination for the Global Forum and is working closely with NGOs and UN partners to ensure full and representative participation from all regions of the world, especially from developing countries.
The Forum website is: http://www.ngocsw.org/en/events/2010-forum
About the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, NY.
The NGO/CSW/NY was founded after the First World Conference on Women in Mexico City in 1975. A primary objective then and now is to advocate with Member States and the United Nations for the adoption of programs and policies that will advance the economic, political, legal, health and educational status of women worldwide and to promote women’s rights and gender equality-cornerstones of the United Nations Charter.
Looking back, much progress has been made over the years through the determined efforts of non-governmental organizations in partnership with Member States and the United Nations. Yet, the implementation of the commitments made to women at world conferences, through treaty obligations, and at international gatherings is far from being fully achieved, particularly when these promises are laid out in national and local settings.
Good intentions must, as we know, be coupled with the political will and financial resources to effect real change in women’s lives. Violence against women and other forms of discrimination against women, in public and private, work against the achievement of women’s rights and gender equality goals. Many women do not even know their legal rights or how to employ established human rights mechanisms to strengthen their efforts. NGOs have a special role in acquiring and sharing skills that will support women worldwide to achieve their equal rights and provide better lives and opportunities for themselves and their families.
The NGO/CSW/NY’s work is to provide information on programs, policies and advocacy that are making a difference in the lives of the world’s women and to facilitate the further efforts of women and men, girls and boys, to develop more effective strategies and broad partnerships to empower women and promote women’s human rights and gender equality.
List of Current Countries and Delegates of the Global Network of Women’s Shelters (GNWS).
Anna Pramstrahler (Italy)
Bandana Rana (Nepal)
Cindy Southworth (USA)
Colleen Schmitt (USA)
Dorothy Sam (Canada)
Gudrun Jonsdottir (Iceland)
Jan Reimer (Canada)
Jennifer Hagedorn (Canada)
Julie Oberin (Australia)
Katarina Bjorkgren (Sweden)
Khola Iram (Pakistan)
Manon Monastesse (Canada)
Marai Larasi (UK)
Margaret Augerinos (Australia)
Margarita Guille (Mexico)
Maria Stettler (Denmark)
Mary Balikungeri (Rwanda)
Nicola Harwin (UK)
Nguyen Vananh (Viet Nam)
Pat Vargas (Canada)
Pamela Harrison (Canada)
Riekje Kok (Netherlands)
Rosa Logar (Europe/Austria)
Ruth Ozery (Israel)
Sue Else (USA)
Susanna Vardanyan (Armenia)
About the UN CSW and the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA)
1st World Conference of the International Women’s Year, Mexico City, 1975.
2nd World Conference of the United Nations Decade for Women: Quality, Development and Peace, Copenhagen, 1980
3rd World Conference to review and appraise the achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women: Quality, Development and Peace, Nairobi, 1985.
4th World Conference on Women: Action for Equality, Development and Peace, Beijing 1995.
Beijing +5: Five-Year review of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (Beijing + 5) held in the General Assembly, 2000.
Beijing + 10: Ten-Year Review and Appraisal of the Implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Outcome of the 23rd Special Session of the General Assembly held during the 49th Session of the UN Commission of the Status of Women, 2005.
Beijing + 15: Fifteen-Year Review and Appraisal of the Implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995) and the Outcomes of the 23rd Special Session of the General Assembly (2000), New York.