Posted by: "Per Ardua Ad Astra" | January 16, 2011

“From Global To Local”, Geneva

By Sarah-Mae Thomas

For those of you interested in monitoring the seven countries reporting to the United Nations CEDAW committee  in the next two weeks here is the schedule. I think its very important that all of us utilise technology and blog, facebook, skype, tweet about about the coming session. CEDAW( The International  Convention on Women) has legally binding effect for every jurisdiction reporting before it. Lets all stand together in a united front for this cause.

Today ended a weekend of training for the three countries that are reporting before the 49th session of UN CEDAW committee here in Geneva.  NGOs from South Africa, Kenya and Israel attended training conducted by IWRAW-AP. Participants came from their respective countries to discuss issues that might come up during the informal meeting with the CEDAW commitee and rehearse their oral statements that would be made before the committee. It is great to know that NGOs are given space to speak before the committee to highlight issues that are not even highlighted by their governments.

The women who attended the training were so inspirational, some of them come from extremely conflict ridden zones such as participants from the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  I spoke to one such lady of breakfast and she talked at great length of the various state sanctioned abuses that women are subject to- housing evictions, conflict related violence and women who are barred from visiting their spouses in prisons.

The three days of training went on very well and Martha and Tulika, the experts on women’s rights conducted the training whilst I wrote a report on the process.

I was incredibly impressed by one of the participants from South Africa, only 25 years in age and with so many years of experience. She spoke with so much power and conviction and I was so impressed when she was rehearsing her oral statement in front of all of us. She comes from a small village near East London, South Africa where education on HIV/Aids is almost non-existent. We immediately got on(probably because we were one of the youngest ones here) and were both shaking with a little bit of excitement when entering the gates of Palais de Nations aka the Geneva office of the United Nations.

Watch this space for updates!

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