02/04/2012 | Writer: Ezgi Koçak
CSW was held from 27 February to 9 March 2012 in New York
Fifty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) which took place at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 27 February to 9 March 2012 did not adopt agreed conclusions on the priority theme - the empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, development and current challenges- this year.
With reference to the CSW meetings there are a few sessions which were opened to NGO’s watch. Delegates made presentations on their countries’ policies on the rural areas by discussing the negative effects of globalization, financial and food crisis; women’s accession to decision making mechanisms, technology, land, and labor force; domestic violence against women.
In order to address common problems regarding international activism it is important to mention side events which were organized by NGO’s, international networks and foundations. In this respect, I want to mention 3 sessions titled “Prejudice based Violence towards Lesbian and Bisexual Women and Transgender Persons; Ending Violence and Discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity: Activism and Challenges; We are Everywhere! Empowerment of Lesbian and Bisexual Women and Trans People in Rural Areas and Beyond.”
Panelists, from Kenya to Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Algeria, put the emphasis on “problems in justice system and difficulties LGBT people face while accessing to it” regarding their political words on the basis of different identities and experiences.
The discussions were formed around the question of “justice for whom?” and analyzed regarding police violence, blackmail, and arrest against LGBT people; difficulties in accessing to health services and education; power of religious authorities within the rural areas and the forms of pressure and violence caused by the reproduction of the conservative symbols and values against LGBT people in general, lesbians and bisexual women in particular; excision of clitoris and forced marriage; re-reading of the patriarchal system with reference to homophobia and transphobia and the forms of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the labor force caused by the articulation of neoliberalism with the system; civil wars, and unemployment.
The emphasis that the way demands for the elimination of gender-based violence, involving sexual orientation and gender identity, are defined in terms of the sphere of "special and/or new" rights-based struggle by the UN system as well as in the public and state spheres, was significant. Besides, referencing the West when the issue is LGBT rights-based activism was criticized since it connoted a mis-representation as if gender-based violence does not exist in the West. In parallel, it was noted that the discrimination against the LGBT refugees should be considered. Finally, the de-limitation of the issue of homophobia and transphobia to African countries on the grounds that they continue with the Colonial Period and thus as a specific problem that pertains to the rural sites of the "less developed" countries was criticized.
Finally, it was noted that rural women’s accession to education is important regarding the cooperation with human rights’ organizations. Since, accessing to human rights’ organizations without lack of understanding of how to fight for human rights would be difficult.